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Alta states

Phoebe Phoenix: Falling in love with winter

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It has served her well. Especially in helping her get established at Whistler. But where in the heck did she pull fire dancing from? It was the summer of 2000, she tells me, and she was attending a full-moon party. “Lexi Moon was there, spinning fire,” she adds. “And I said to her: ‘I want to do that!’ She became my Master.”

But it’s not like it was all that foreign to her training. “I went to a Scottish boarding school in Australia,” she explains. “And I learned to play the kettle drum and the tenor drum there. It’s all about the beat, you know. It’s all rhythm — which is the basis for fire dancing as well. I also have a bit of a gymnastic background, so the moves she was making were quite familiar to me too.”

Whatever it was — kismet, astral connection, destiny, or just another great outlet for all her energy — Phoebe took to fire spinning like an eagle takes to flying. “I did a personality test once,” she says. “And when the results were analyzed, I was labeled an introverted extrovert.” She laughs. “And that really explains my attraction to fire dancing. I would never succeed as a pure dancer, you know. But because I figure the spectators are looking at the fire when I perform — and not at me — it totally frees me up to move and dance like no one is watching.”

And like everything she does, she is fully committed to her art. Another happy burst of laughter. “Some of my students,” she says (she now runs regular fire dancing classes in the valley), “were commenting the other day ‘You’re so smooth’ and saying how amazing it was that I could spin and carry on a conversation at the same time. I told them: “If it looks like I’ve done it a million times, it’s because I have! Now practice!”

The new owner of a townhouse in Pemberton — “I’m so excited, I just closed on it last Tuesday” — Phoebe assures me she’s not planning on moving anywhere else anytime soon. “I just love this place,” she gushes. “It’s paradise. I love the forests. I love the mountains. I love all the secret spots I’ve discovered over the years.” She stops speaking. Smiles for me one last time. “You know — the more I travel, the more I want to stay in this place...”