In the Flow

Oh, how I envy street performers, these unique individuals with exotic talents and a whole lotta chutzpah!  I have often imagined myself as a poet on a street corner stopping strangers in their tracks with words that cut through their soul, perhaps with an aching portrayal of a girl born on the wrong side of the tracks.  Then reality sets in and I remember how a book report in front of my seventh grade classmates sent me running to the restroom in tears.  I admit, I’m more suited to writing unsung stories tucked back in my special cubby at the Harold Washington Library.  So when I found out that my cousin, Jamie, began practicing flow arts and showing off her well-honed skills at the local farmer’s market, I was impressed.

Might I say…Inspired.

Who knows?  Maybe I’ll be the street poet you pass by on Michigan Avenue, or maybe the next act at a LiveLit! show.  But today the spotlight is on Jamie, our featured Very Inspiring Person.  Her artistry has captivated audiences young and old and her story appeared on the front page of the Woodstock Independent newspaper on September 1, 2015.  I have reposted the article in its entirety below:

Article written by Katelyn Stanek

From a distance, Jamie Seibert looks like she might be conjuring something.

The Woodstock native has staked out a corner of the Park in the Square periodically for several months, guiding a wand effortlessly and gracefully through space. At first glance, the wand appears to levitate between her hands and around her body, a scene out of “Harry Potter” transported to the Midwest. But Seibert will be the first to tell you it’s not magic, cinematic or otherwise, that floats the simple silver wand.

Seibert is a practitioner of the flow Jamie Seibert balances a wand in the Park in the Square Aug. 25. | Photo by Ken Farver arts, a dance-meets-sport-meets-meditation that incorporates movement with objects such as sticks, hoops and batons. Skilled enthusiasts resemble rhythmic gymnasts as they manipulate the props, tossing them above their heads or gliding them through the air.

“It’s a way to play with toys, but it brings out so much in you,” Seibert said.

Seibert began practicing flow arts about four years ago, during what she called a “low point” in her life. Her mother had recently died, and she said it was difficult for her to find happiness in anything at all.

“I had lost a lot of desire for things in life,” she said.

But flow arts gave her something to enjoy, and it taught her the fine art of patience — something she said proves to be the hardest part of the craft.

“Everybody wants to be able to do it right away, and that just doesn’t happen,” said Seibert, who teaches private flow-arts lessons.

Seibert’s wand effect is achieved with careful balance and a sturdy string that ties it to her finger. As she moves, so does the wand, responding to her gestures.

When the Square is crowded, she’s often interrupted by children who simply have to know how she does it. But that’s part of the fun, Seibert said.

“I like the atmosphere. I’m trying to introduce everybody to the flow arts,” she said.

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