Photon’s Flow Fest Immerses Students in Interactive Flow Arts

Photon created Flow Fest to expose new members to the club and to provide an interactive opportunituy.

Neon colors and swinging props spun in intricate circles in Underwood Auditorium as Photon club members navigated through the crowd, guiding students and faculty through a variety of flow arts disciplines. 

Club member Prince LaPaz ’24 explained the setup of the event, called the Flow Fest. 

“There’s a ‘Make Your Own Poi’ station where you get tennis balls and a long sock and put them together. There is a diabolo station where you learn how to use a Chinese yo-yo, and there’s a poi station where you spin poi. I’m pretty sure I see some lightsabers out there. There’s also a photo station where you can take long-exposure photos,” said LaPaz. 

Photon is Andover’s flow arts club, which performs at annual events such as pep rallies and the Glow Show. On Saturday, the club held a slightly different event: Flow Fest. After months of preparation, the event finally came to fruition, offering students an interactive opportunity to explore the flow arts community, according to Photon Co-Head Luke Christodoulou ’24. 

“Flow Fest has been in the works for about a year. We’ve been planning out stations, which is a lot of fun. A big part of it was securing the props so that everybody who attended could have a chance to use different flow props. That involved an Abbot grant to get some new types of props like our…[juggling] clubs and also materials for DIY stations where people could make their own props,” said Christodoulou.

Compared to the past events Photon has hosted, Flow Fest was catered towards newer, less experienced students who had an interest in flow arts. The event took on a hands-on approach rather than a performance-based one, which allowed a larger number of participants to engage in its activities, according to Christodoulou. 

“The unique thing about Flow Fest is that it’s more participatory than our performance events like our routines in Glow Show or Grasshopper. This is a way for people to get involved and it’s similar to our club meetings but on a larger scale. Having everybody in the same place at the same time is unusual for our club meetings so this was supposed to be a mega club meeting of sorts, but with more of a party vibe to draw people in and show them what we’re all about,” said Christodoulou.

One challenge that emerged during the event was the difficulty in teaching flow arts to others. According to many club members, it was challenging to demonstrate routines step-by-step for beginners. 

“A lot of the time, the movements for poi in particular are very instinctual and reliant on muscle memory after a while. It was hard…to break it down chunk by chunk, so you kind of had to get a feel for the whole rhythm,” said Christodoulou.

Despite the obstacles, attendees of Flow Fest were able to learn basic poi movements and gain insight into the work behind Photon’s performances. Allegra Lee ’27 described her initial reactions to Photon’s past performances, and how her perception of the club has expanded after learning the movements herself during Flow Fest. 

“It’s cool because when I was watching Glow Show it seemed so effortless, it seemed like it came so easily and that anyone could do it. But there’s actually a lot of technical movement behind it and a lot of little details that you don’t see behind the scenes that go into making it look so amazing,” said Lee.

Looking to the future, Photon will continue to host events for both new and experienced members. Christodoulou anticipates with the attention that Flow Fest has garnered, those new to flow arts may take the opportunity to join Photon in the coming years. 

“In May, we will be having a Glow Show where we have our club members perform their routines…outside Elson courtyard. It’s a big showcase of everything the club has worked on in here. We’ll reuse some old routines from earlier and show off some new stuff, and every individual will get a chance to show what they’ve been working on. It’s also an exciting one this year because there are a lot of Seniors in our club, so they are all working on something special, and we’re going to have a Senior showcase to give them a farewell and celebrate their time in Photon,” said Christodoulou.