Interview with Director of Corners of Creation, Kate Starks

words by Colleen Hanke, photos provided by Kate Starks

Everyone needs a creative outlet. Some people knit, some people paint, Kate Starks dances with flaming hula hoops. 

Kate founded Corners of Creation in 2016 in the hopes of inspiring others the way she was inspired to learn fire dancing. She saw a fire dancer perform and was enraptured with the art. Then, she was determined to learn how to do it.

Corners of Creation director Kate Starks

“I remember watching a group of people do it for the first time and I was just so incredibly inspired by the joy on their face, and just the act of being so fully involved in what they were doing, that I was like, ‘I need to learn how to do that!’” says Kate.

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After a few years of training and learning about performing, Kate decided to bring together performers she had met and Corners of Creation was born. 

“I thought, you know, there’s a lot of us here that have all the goofy, fun skills, and we just have something that we can contribute to make people happy and inspire them,” Kate says.

Kate and one of her fellow performers came up with the name for the company together.

“Corners of Creation came from the idea that there can be inspiration found even in the smallest places, even if you don’t really notice it,” says Kate. “There’s inspiration everywhere, whether it be from nature, from your friends, from a movie that you watched. I mean, everything comes together for you to be able to create. It’s just limitless.”

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Kate’s favorite trick to perform is a multi-hoop balancing act. She goes from standing to lying down and back again while balancing a hoop on her head and twirling more hoops on her arms. 

Corners of Creation stilt walker

“I just really like trying to push my limits and boundaries to create the wow factor for events,” says Kate.

Kate does performances with her hoops, but she also does a few different kinds of fire dance.

“I also do fire dance, which comes in many forms — juggling, movement with fans, staffs, even poi. Poi is pretty common in a lot of movies… people in the background doing some fire dancing, some Polynesian-style dance. I’ll do a lot of that. The thing that’s great about fire performing is that there are so many different props that can be wicked and set on fire!” says Kate. “I’ve seen the absolutely silliest things. From a giant fork with a wick on it to something like torches or rings or things like that. It’s really creative what people can engineer.”

Safety comes first for Corners of Creation. There is always a fire department official on site when fire acts are being performed. Kate highlights the importance of safe handling of fire props and proper costuming.

Corners of Creation

“When we spin fire and perform with fire, we are very cautious about the clothing, the material that we wear. It would always be natural fibers. Our performance costuming would consist of anywhere from cotton, wool, silk, things like that, as opposed to synthetic fibers, possibly rayon… or polyester, that’s another one that’s a no-no for us,” says Kate. “The reason being, if you should accidentally catch on something that’s natural fiber, it’s something that you can just pat out and the material itself would ash if it were to continue to burn. But it’s something that you can catch really fast if it should happen.”

Corners of Creation performs at a variety of events, from music festivals to birthday parties to corporate events. The performers will dress up in costumes to match whatever aesthetic that the client requests.

“We essentially will do any theme that a client is looking for. So we can even do things like princess parties if somebody was interested in that,” says Kate. “And also even for like corporate events, if somebody was interested in having character actors to greet guests at their event or serve champagne and things like that. Kind of engage in shenanigans with people and make them laugh and add to the experience of the event.”

If you’re looking to add a little fire and fun to your next event, Corners of Creation will be ready to make your party a success.

Find out more about Corners of Creation at their website, cornersofcreationarts.com

Colleen Hanke is a senior at The University of Akron.

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