Most adults have left play in the past. They work at a job and they work out to get fit. But Paula Chambers, one of the founders of local hoop dance group The Hudsucker Posse and a co-founder of Kinetic Arts Academy (KAA), sees play as an integral part of health and wellness. “The National Institute for Play defines play as any activity where engagement is more important than outcome,” Chambers says. “And studies show that active, moving, meditative activities increase our sense of wellbeing and happiness.”

With an invitation to “Come Play With Us,” the KAA is hosting FlowMotion Chiller: A Kinetic Arts Retreat, Feb. 5-8 in downtown Bloomington. Free, public events begin at the Fell Building, 415 W. 4th St., on Friday, Feb. 6 from 5 to 9 p.m., with a First Friday Art Exhibition — a gallery show by photographers, videographers, and other artists who have captured the magic and mystery of the flow arts. “Flow arts” is a term used to describe creative movement and exploration through skillful prop manipulation, dance, and play.

Scott Myers, another KAA co-founder, says one Friday evening highlight is a skill share where visitors can try a variety of flow arts, from acrobatic yoga and juggling to hoops, poi, stilt walking, and more. “We’ll have just about every prop you can imagine, so it’s a great opportunity to try something you’ve always wanted to explore,” Myers says. The Friday event will also feature live aerialist and fire performances.

Those interested in delving a little more deeply into the flow arts are encouraged to take part in the more than 35 workshops offered during the Chiller. Professionals from across the country will teach flow arts such as acrobatics, aerial silks, contact staff, cyr wheel, hoop, lyra, poi, pole dance fitness, and yoga.

An evening of entertainment is planned for Saturday, Feb. 7 at 8 p.m. when Serendipity Martini Bar, 201 S. College Ave., hosts the Chiller Variety Showcase. Serendipity is an all-ages venue, and this performance will feature professional flow artists in a cirque-style showcase. An after party featuring DJ Montego and Kaleidoscope Jukebox will follow the showcase at 10:30 p.m.

Chambers says the Chiller was created to continue the KAA’s mission of flow arts education. “After the successful launch of FlowMotion Fest in August, we wanted to continue to educate both flow artists in the Midwest and the general public,” she says. “This event is a don’t-miss opportunity for the larger community to learn about the flow arts and to experience creative engagement through playful activity.”


Video by Darryl Smith