June 22, 2014 by synapticwolf
At Fahrenheit there was a class magic markered onto the schedule titled “The most difficult class that I am willing to teach involving things YOU CAN DO with two sticks.”
Matthew Sosticky, half of the performance duo Respendent Flames, was teaching some of the crazy-ass combos he regularly uses in his lightning flow style. He flew through six and eight petal anti-spin flow amalgamations, his forearms bouncing against the limits of their anatomy to create organically punctuated stalls. Twenty minutes into his class, my head was spinning with new patterns and possibilities.
The stylistic elements of a Sticky spin – his speed, his body-based precision, his focus on the feel of the shapes his staves describe – mean that the flow seems to infect his entire being.
I wanted to hear more about his flow philosophy and how he got to be so awesome. What better excuse than a blog? I sent him some questions and he kindly responded.
Shewolf Shakti: Why do you spin?
Matthew Sosticky: At first, it was just a fun thing to do at parties. But then I noticed what it was doing to my whole perception and experience of reality. Object manipulation has opened many doors within my mind and in the real world. I like to see how many different shapes I can create consecutively.
My absolute favorite thing to do is to Flow between the technical patterns. Transitions are a big part of what I do.
Shewolf: Describe your practice regime
Sosticky: When I have the time to practice, I generally run through basic reels in the timings and directions that I like until I feel ready to tackle more complicated patterns. I will drill the complicated patterns until it feels like its second nature and then look for new ways in and out of said pattern, say on either end of the trick or even in the middle. Transitions are super important.
After all that, I like to see how a new idea incorporates into my flow and then I try to use it anyway that I can, just to see what’s best for me and my flow.
Shewolf: What helps you reach a flow state?
Sosticky: Sexy Dubstep or pretty glitch hop mainly, but as long as the music is somewhat rhythmic, I can make do.
Shewolf: What is so special about double staves?
Sosticky: I think Double staff is special because you are drawing patterns with 4 points instead of Poi’s or Contact staff’s two points. What is even more remarkable about Double Staff is that you only need to focus on one point on either Double Staff to make pretty shapes. This is because they are sticks. If you make a perfect circle on one side of pattern, the other side will automatically be perfect.
Shewolf: How has spinning changed your body?
Sosticky: Spinning doubles in particular have turned my forearms into rocks. I am guessing this is because I mainly reel spin. I have no way to tell at this point but I also believe [that] object manipulation has improved my overall agility and response time.
Shewolf: How has spinning changed your thought processes?
Sosticky: I see flow more clearly than I did before I started spinning. Making patterns and finding ways that they fit together has taught me loads about sequencing although I haven’t quite figured out how to teach that.
Shewolf: How has spinning changed your life?
Sosticky: Spinning has changed my life a lot. It has ushered in some of the best experiences, friendships, and opportunities that I have ever had available to me in my life. I am very grateful to be able to do all that I do. It is an incredible honor to be able to do what you love, and be appreciated for it.
Shewolf: Why don’t you use fingers to spin?
Sosticky: Well, I do actually. Most of the time when I am spinning double staff, I like to keep the staff in my grip because when you are able to reel (really well) with your wrists, it allows you to easily add petals to any pattern.
Finger spinning in my opinion should be used when you have no other options (which is not often) or as an addition to reel spun patterns. I believe they are an accentuation. Finger spinning is a hard habit to break so it pays to learn reel spun patterns before adding finger spins into your flow.
Shewolf: What do you hope that people gain from your classes?
Sosticky: It is my hope that the student will gain an understanding of hand positions and thumb orientation and its importance to making clean patterns. Certain hand paths or prop orientations require specific hand positions for maximum ease and cleanliness.
Shewolf: Who inspires you?
Sosticky: Geez, that’s quite the question.
Well starting out, I really looked up to my friends in the PLF – The PARTY LIBERATION FRONT. Conway Jennings, Lucas Influx, and Danny Vogel were a big inspiration of how I spun when I started.
Nowadays, my inspirations are too numerous for a list. I love all my people in the double staff group on facebook though.
Shewolf: What inspires you?
Sosticky: A lot of things inspire me. Melodic pretty music, abstract art, Hula hoopers, martial artists, feelings, sculptures, architecture, people, especially DJs and producers, kids, and seeing my friends succeed.