Ehrlich Marz Ocampo - Firechill
Ehrlich “Firechill” Ocampo is a unique performer who dances with various props of fire and light such as poi, staff, baton, hoop and his specialty – the “levitation wand”. The levitation wand is magical prop wherein the performer seems to dance with a floating stick. It is magical, mesmerizing and totally captivating – never before seen and an exciting addition to any show!
He has been dancing since 2005 and spinning poi since 2010, continuously exploring the fusion of flow circles and dance lines. Early 2013, he discovered the magical art of levitation wand. He has since been exploring a flowful style of spinning the wand which enables a freer expression with the body thru dance and performance.
Ehrlich “Firechill” Ocampo has traveled and been invited to numerous events in Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, USA and France – where he recently represented his art and his country in the 37th Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in Paris. He is also included in Cirque du Soleil’s database of talent as a Fire Performer and Levitation Wand Dancer.
When did you begin your journey into the flow arts, and how were you inspired to start?
- I started dancing when I was about 15 years old in high school. I was a cheerleader *gasp* oh yes I was. It really helped me become athletic and got me started into acrobatics, gymnastics and dance.
Then I got into poi around 2010 when I saw fire dancers in the beaches of the Philippines. I looked for classes in Manila and also watched tutorials online.
The wand showed itself to me when I was shopping and I saw Prisna’s video and my mind was just blown away! I simply wanted to try it. I actually tried the wand around 2011 but it wasn’t until 2013 when I learned the long-string technique from Iain Culp during Philippine Flow Festival that I really got into it and my exploration exploded into what it is today.
There were a lot of hoopers in Manila, so I also tried it around 2013. I never realized that it was as fun as they say it was. I hooped for fun but it wasn’t until 2015 that I said I would train with it seriously.
Why do you love performing?
- It allows me to share a part of myself to others. And when they appreciate that, you feel appreciated as well. It allows me to share my gift to others, allowing me to fulfill a purpose. It allows me to be myself and be somebody else at the same time.
How has being a part of the flow community touched your life? How can the flow community make an impact and how do you see yourself being a part of it?
- It really helped me find my people and my place, specially when I was just starting out with the wand (and nobody else seemed to do it much here in the Philippines). Our levistick group is a great place to share your progress, collaborate with ideas, gain encouragement and exchange knowledge (either you receive or give advice).
In general, I’ve seen how the flow arts has changed so many individual lives. I can say that the flow community makes an impact by changing one life at a time. By just continue doing it, being myself and allowing people to see how much I enjoy doing it, I believe they will be enamored to try flow arts and see how it feels. As a community leader in Manila, we try to spread flow arts by practicing it, organizing free events and shows and generally just making it more accessible to the general public.
What are your main props/specialties?
- My main props are poi, hoop and the levitation wand. I probably spent around 3 years with only poi, spent more than 3 years with the leviwand and just more than a year with the hoop. My strongest would be the leviwand because even though I spent the same years as with the poi, I concentrated on training it and spent more hours with it.
Where do you like to practice the most?
- I’d like to practice most in a dance studio with mirrors and proper flooring for floor works, turns, and acrobatics. But personally, I like practicing in nature – forest, mountain, beach, etc.
Have you received any honorable mentions or won awards related to your flow or artistry? Have you been featured on other sites? Have you performed at any large festivals?
- My personal success here is that have I not listened to my own true flow, I wouldn’t have found it and I wouldn’t be “Firechill” – distinct with his dynamic style of performing. With it, I feel like I also contribute some of my waves to the ocean of flow.
Instructor for the Month – October 2015 – Flow Arts Institute
PERFORMED AT FESTIVALS:
Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain (Paris, France) – Jan 2016
WildFire Retreat (Connecticut, USA) – Sept 2015
Psycusix Camp Out 2015 (Malaysia) – Sept 2015
Fire Festival Korea (Korea) – August 2015
Kinetic Fire (Ohio, USA) – May 2015
Philippine Flow Festival – March 2015
FringeMNL (Manila, PH) – Feb 2015
Passion Arts Festival (Singapore) – June 2014
BornFire Festival (Singapore) – June 2014
Philippine Flow Festival – March 2014
FringeMNL (Manila, PH) – Feb 2014
BornFire Festival (Singapore) – May/June 2013
Philippine Flow Festival – Feb 2013
Are you a part of a flow troupe? Are there any local flow gatherings near you? Do you organize any of these events?
- Yes, I am one of the heads of Flow Collective here in Manila, Philippines. I have also championed our initiative “Flow Art Show” which gives flow artists here a platform to show their art in a theater type of show. As I mentioned earlier, we organize free events, jams and even busking sessions to have a place for the flow community to convene, as well as for the public to have access to the flow arts.
Are you one of the community members that helps to organize any of these events?
- Yes. Basically I am one of the community leaders here in the Philippines. I try to lead in two ways:
1. To be the best example of a flow arts practitioner. I train hard, try to learn from the best and be the best flow artist I can be so others can open their eyes to the possibilities of the art and push themselves as well.
2. Organizing events such as flow art shows, jams, gatherings, classes, and workshops to bring the community together and to welcome interested parties as well. We aim to support the growing community in the Philippines, to spread awareness about flow arts and to make it more accessible to the public. I’ve spearheaded Flow Art Show and the Flow Collective here in Manila, Philippines.
What has 2016 been like for you in terms of going to festivals, retreats, workshops, events, burns, etc? What does the rest of 2016 have in store for you?
- So I have been to Cirque de Demain in Paris, France this January 2016, introducing the art of the levitation wand to the circus world.
We’ve performed “EIN SOF: A Flow Art Show” for FringeMNL last February 2016, and a rerun last May 2016.
For the coming months, I will be doing Fire Festival Korea this August, and a festival in Malaysia (c/o Psycusix) which they are still organizing. These on top of various jams, events, flow arts program and shows to be put up by Flow Collective.