Name: Erin St. Blaine
Location: Fremont, CA
Occupation: Fire dancer, professional Princess, real-life Mermaid and LED Artist
Fire dancer and performer Erin St. Blaine has made a career out of living a fairytale. “I read Peter Pan as a child and decided to stay a kid forever,” she says. “I dress like a princess, play with light-up toys and put fire in my mouth, and that’s how I make my living.” As a child, she was an avid reader, absorbing herself in the magical world of fiction. Her vivid fantasy world shaped the way she interacted with the world, performing from the sandbox all the way to the elementary school stage. While she was always actively imagining, young Erin didn’t dream in flames. “I did love to climb things and I’ve always loved being upside-down, but I didn’t discover fire dancing until late in 1998 when I saw some fire dancers at an all-night party celebrating the last solar eclipse of the 20th century,” she explains. “They twirled and spun and danced, and I was riveted. I stood with my mouth open until they finished, and then realized THAT was what I was going to do with my life. After that I really had no choice.”
Getting going turned out to be more difficult than figuring out how to handle the heat, and the early days of her career were anything but colorful. “I didn’t have any small-business role models in my life at all, and when I graduated college I got an office job like every other adult I knew, doing web design,” Erin says. “My first 40 hour week was in mid-December and I was inside a windowless cubicle, coding and crunching numbers, and I didn’t see the sun all week long. I remember thinking this was not the life for me, but I stuck it out for another few years before finally getting laid off in the Silicon Valley dot com collapse in 2002. That was the best thing that ever happened to me. I took the plunge and never looked back.”
After receiving her pink slip, she studied her own skills, figuring that her prowess with fire dancing and balloon art. “I could make balloon animals, thanks to a part-time job my performer’s heart found me in college. The balloon twisting led me down the path to kid’s shows, which is how Fire Pixie Entertainment started. The fire dancing dovetailed quite nicely with the kid’s parties: people who hire entertainment for their kids are also quite likely to hire entertainment for themselves,” she explains. And her professional technology expertise proved useful as well. “Since we were the only professional fire dancers with a national web presence in the early days of the web, we got a lot of fantastic gigs worldwide. We performed in Bermuda, Jamaica, Brazil, all over the USA, and in Thailand and Japan.”
Over its 12 years, Fire Pixie Entertainment has swelled in the San Francisco Bay Area, providing rich and diverse employment opportunities for a small group of talented performers. “I love seeing our entertainers grow, develop, and create art,” Erin says.
When she’s not creating LED art and high-tech wearables in her home studio, she’s booking shows, which take up the weekends, every weekend, all day long. Beyond performances, Erin’s hope is to grow the community of techie ladies with the same skills.
“I want to find ways to get more girls interested in technology,” she says, touching on her newfound interest in broadening her LED lit horizon. “My kids shows emphasize the strengths and smarts of the characters I’m playing. I want to get the message out to young girls that technology and computers can give them the opportunity to make stuff that’s more pretty and magical and fun than they can even imagine.”
For her sizzling stunts and desire to inspire girls to turn to technology, we think Erin St. Blaine is one Cool fire dancing Girl!
Check out Erin’s glowing and growing talents at http://www.firepixie.com/, her character Glimmer the LED Mermaid: https://www.facebook.com/mermaidglimmer and view her YouTube channel for more exciting visual displays http://www.youtube.com/user/erinfirepixie