The Barefoot Fireflies fosters community, sparks excitement

Image courtesy of Hannah Ford '26.

Many students’ first exposure to The Barefoot Fireflies comes from unsuspectingly interrupting one of the twice-weekly “Jam Times,” held either in a quad dorm Multi-Purpose Room or in front of Rockefeller Hall. These meetings are open to everyone and are a chance for members of the organization to come together, practice and learn new skills and/or moves. Weekly on Wednesday and Friday, the group can be seen throwing props in the air and even spinning fire. Their four yearly shows have become massively popular events on campus, with huge crowds coming together to celebrate their unique art. The org’s most recent indoor show, “THE BAREFOOT FIREFLIES EXPERIENCE THE UNRELENTING PASSAGE OF TIME,” featured 14 total acts, 10 props and 44 total performers, including seven completely new performers. Each act is choreographed by members of the org and encompasses a variety of skill levels and props. Students and professors lined up in the College Center to get their tickets and waited in the lobby of the Susan Stein Shiva Theater, hoping for a chance to see the show. 

Image courtesy of Hannah Ford ’26.

The “Jam Times” have extended to community gatherings where friends come to hang out and even do schoolwork together. Upon first introduction, org members are immediately willing to teach newcomers new skills. When I learned a new skill, no matter how rudimentary, people smiled and congratulated me. This positive energy translated into the show, with performers peeking out from backstage to watch and cheer each other on. During the show, the crowd yelled and clapped for every act, getting excited for both every attempted skill and every successful one. 

The Fireflies is an org with a long history here at Vassar, first founded in 1996. Since then, the org has expanded and changed, but the original spirit of creating a place for students to come together and practice circus arts has remained the same. The indoor and outdoor fire shows are an essential performance for everyone to check out at least once during their time at Vassar. Besides the fact that the circus arts are objectively cool, attending a Barefoot Fireflies show is an opportunity for students to support one another in their artistic endeavors. The Fireflies is not an org to be intimidated by; It is the perfect activity for anyone, even if just for one out of the three hours of a twice-weekly “Jam Time.” 

Image courtesy of Hannah Ford ’26.

The show opened and closed with large group performances, where members demonstrated their various talents and skills. The finale, based on “Time Warp” from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” was electrifying for the performers and audience; on both nights, when the show ended, the performers received an enthusiastic standing ovation. Immediately following the bows and clapping, audience members rushed down to give their friends hugs and tell them how amazing they were. Performers’ friends and families traveled far distances for one night or two to see the performances. In between various acts, there were small skits, including an introduction to a plant named Ralph and a performer shaving their head each night. The performance was well worth the fight for tickets, and if you were unable to see this recent indoor performance, keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming Spring Fire Show. The Fall Fire Show fell during Families Weekend and had a massive crowd of students and families excited to see the wonderful art of fire spinning. The Barefoot Fireflies are a unique Vassar org that I recommend everyone check out, so if you have not had a chance to so far, go check out a show.

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