Glowsticking, known colloquially as Raving at CTY, is an umbrella term used to describe dancing with glowsticks and/or other luminescent devices. There are two forms of glowsticking: freehanding and glowstringing/poi. Both disciplines of glowsticking do intersect at some point, though their roots are radically different. In addition, staffing also can be considered raving.
Freehanding is the neon-tastic rogue sibling of other underground dance styles, such as liquiding, breakdancing, and popping.
Glowstringing originated from poi, a dance that the Maori people of New Zealand used to stay fit and look badass. Poi were traditionally set on fire for performances. It is an internationally recognized fact that fire poi is as visually enticing as an orgy. Glowstringing is essentially fire poi with a different moveset. The moveset of glowstringing is more expansive than that of fire poi because the glowsticks aren't on freaking fire; as such, body wraps and the like are possible without burning skin. However, with the use of LEDs instead of fire for poi, the distinction between poi and glowsticking has blurred; poi tends to have heavier weights. As a result, poi spinners are able to do some moves that glowstringers are not (such as contact poi), but glowstringers are able to do many moves that poi spinners are not (especially wraps).
Staffing is, as you probably guessed, raving/dancing using a staff, whether that be a contact staff or a dragon staff. Staffing has origins in various cultures and martial arts, such as Samoan culture and the Aztecs.
- 1 Glowsticking at CTY
- 1.1 Lancaster
- 1.2 Carlisle
- 1.3 Los Angeles
- 1.4 Baltimore (JHU)
- 1.5 Easton
- 1.6 Saratoga
- 2 Glowsticking Culture
- 3 Things to Know about Learning Glowsticking
- 4 Popular Raving Songs
- 5 Tutorials
- 6 Where to Buy Glowsticks/Poi
- 7 Glowsticking Videos
Glowsticking at CTY
Despite common belief, glowsticking DOES NOT always imply that a person is raving, although glowsticking is part of rave culture and also follows the philosophy of PLUR. Glowsticking has many forms; most commonly used are freehanding and glowstringing (AKA, "string-raving"). Glowstringing can be narrowed down further to actual glowstringing/poi and "hitting-self-in-the-balls-with-lanyard." The latter is limited to males (though females are known to be victims of too-close buzzsaws hitting their chests).
At every dance, there are usually two (or more) techno/rave songs. These include the ever-popular "Sandstorm" and the infinitely sextastic "James Brown Is Dead," along with rarer songs including "Liquify" by Toby Emerson, a favorite of Christ. "Every Time We Touch" is also a favorite among glowstickers, and "Satisfaction" is suitable for freehanding.
At some sites, stringraving has been completely outlawed. At Lancaster in 06.2, stringraving was limited to the hardtop in front of the cafeteria during designated rave songs, which are played more numerously due to the newly instated rule. See Lancaster's Hall of Shame for more details. This rule, however, expired immediately upon the end of the session.
At every site, there seem to be one or two really awesome glowstickers every year, be they freehanders, stringers, or both. Lancaster was exceptionally lucky in 06.2, having four glowstickers of such awesomeness, namely Mike Len, Christ, Yoshida, and Matt. The latter two are freehanders while the former two are stringers. Mike and Christ are godly, FYI.
At some sites, unique raving moves are developed, such as the infamously difficult Meltdown introduced to Saratoga CTYers by RA Jeremy Strege, the Monkey, and the Watermelon.
At Lancaster, the organization and management of the stringers and breakdancers during songs such as James Brown is Dead and Sandstorm is the duty of Jack Flash. Jack Flash is a first session position held by a nomore glowsticker who performs in the circle along with other glowstickers and breakdancers. Jack Flash is also charged with promoting and teaching glowsticking among the students. Lastly, Jack Flash plays the role of Jack Flash in the students' circle during American Pie and leads Mr. Brightside. This position was created in 08.1 by Wes McClung, and he was followed by J.T. Booth.
There is always at least one rave circle song during dances at Lancaster. This song is usually "James Brown is Dead" (a tribute to Jessi Miller), "Sandstorm", or, occasionally, "Raver's Fantasy". The rave song is always preceded by "You Make My Dreams" and cries of "BACK UP!" The rave circle has gotten quite big over recent years, with Jack Flashes doing an amazing job at teaching three-beat weave (the minimal requirement to be in the rave circle). Students can either stand/crouch around the semi-circle of ravers in front of the DJ booth to watch, or they can go up on the ASFC balcony. There are always two designated hand-ravers.
Many students can also be seen raving/doing poi/Chinese yo-yoing at quad time. It is quite a sight in itself to see the quad illuminated with glowsticks and other flow art instruments.
It is quite easy to get duds and/or shoelaces from Jack Flash, and to find someone to teach you basic things.
At the last dance of LAN 14.2, Dan Fu (King James) led a four-person "Partner Poi" performance, called the "Poiformance." This outraged many CTYer's, as they could not participate in the last rave circle (including some nomores/nevermores). A revolt was planned to steal the King James Crown, although this failed and Dan Fu crowned himself at the end of the night.
|Session(s):||2009.2, 2010.2, 2011.1, 2013.2, 2014.2, 2015.2, 2016.1, 2016.2|
Carlisle has had its share of sextastic ravers as well; Arthur Schlechter (also of fame for conserving water through alternate showering schedules) raved until his nomore year in 09.2, even convincing RAs to run an activity on No Fun Friday named "Dance Like Your Parents", where he blasted techno music through the first floor of Quad 7 and ran a class on how to rave for CTYers wishing to learn. The organization and promotion of raving and the distribution of glowsticks for session 2 is done by the Rave King, a position created by Nathan Rothstein.
- 11.2 - Nathan Rothstein
- 12.2 - Gretchen Renée Vogt
- 13.2 - Alex Schneiderman
- 14.2 - Nicholas Yang
- 15.2 - Katrina Howard
- 16.2 - Lucia Lavelle
- 17.2 - Kat Xie
During 2016.1, the Emperor (M Benesch) established the position of Mad Monarch for 2017.1. The title comes from Rave King, but Mad Monarch is a. a pun (raving mad) and b. gender neutral.
- 17.1 - Gage Detchemendy
Arthur's tradition was carried on by ravers Kyj Nohachevsky, Whitney Wu, and Ross Rheingans during 10.2. In addition, Whitney Wu and Max Umland performed glowstringing acts for the 10.2 talent show, earning the eternal admiration of the crowd with their mad skills. Whitney and Ross also became popular for teaching younger CTYers to glowstick during Meet Markets, with mixed levels of success, and, in Ross's case, for bringing mass quantities of glowsticks (and flowtoys, and poi-balls) to dances for the express purpose of distributing them to any and all CTYers.
In 11.1, raving was banned and ravers had to hold their poi/glowsticks in their hands and shake them up and down in an attempt to rave (even though all they accomplished was looking stupid shaking lights in their hands).
Contrary to the ban, stringraving was permitted at Upper and Lower Quad during 13.2. A talent show act was put on by Volxemort and the Death Dealers, a group consisting of Renée Vogt, Alex Schneiderman, Duncan Rheingans-Yoo, Nicholas Yang, Marigot Fackenthal and Kevin Yan.
Stringraving was permitted in upper quad only at 14.2. A talent show act was put on by Volxemort and the Death Dealers 2.0, consisting of Nicholas Yang, Michael Holmes, Aidan Lee, Aidan Yrizarry, and Katrina Howard. The performance can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pm-bspjT4tQ&feature=youtu.be
During 15.2, Stringraving became very popular during meet market in the upper quad. Many CTYers learned to rave during this time, as the entire hour was essentially a mini rave cirlcle. This caused a shift of where most of CTYers hung out and talked- upper quad was very busy, contrary to earlier years when most of the people had been on KW. There was another rave act at the talent show, led by Katrina Howard. Many respected ravers nomored out this year.
During 16.1, stringraving gained popularity through meet market, raving activity, and a raving act. During Sandstorm, there was an unprecedented number of people in the middle (not all raving, but all with lights). In order to promote this growth, M Benesch, the Emperor at the time, created the official royalty of Mad Monarch.
As most of the ravers had nevermore'd out at 15.2, 16.2 at first faced a severe lack of raving support and appreciation (most notably seen in the emptiness of the rave circles at the first two dances). Out of the entire camp, only a handful of people brought glowsticks. Seeing the problem at hand, the Rave King, Lucia Lavelle, as well as Mark Johnson and Matthew Cole, found a TA willing to take a trip to Walmart to get more supplies for the second Saturday dance. At the dance all of the glowsticks were handed out, mostly to squirrels. This resulted in a large rave circle (although with minimal skill). The following week, RA Livvy held a raving activity in order to practice for the final dance. Out of the 55 students that signed up, almost all of them ended with a pair of duds and strings to practice after camp had ended. The final rave circle had even more glowsticks and more campers that knew how to rave than ever before, signaling the birth of a glorious raving revival at CAR.2.
|Session(s):||2008.1, 2008.2, 2009.1, 2009.2, 2010.1, 2011.1, 2013.2|
At LOS, raving is quite popular. Most ravers are stringravers, although a few freehand. An interesting note is the recent abundance of female ravers, with males actually being on the rarer side. The raving song at LOS is Sandstorm.
In 08.1, the main ravers were Lizzy H, Sarah Sch., and Josh Q.
In 08.2, the ravers were John Xia and Andrew 'AJ' Casner, who both participated in the Talent Show with their Raving skills.
In 09.1, the scene grew. Lizzy H, Sarah Sch., and Maggie G (who raved at one dance in 08.1) generally started at the beginning of "Sandstorm", then periodically handed off their poi to Declan M-H, Matt G, and Molly S.
In 09.2, Lizzy returned, as well as Alfred Wallace, who had his own poi. During the Second Dance, Jackie Allegra Choi used Lizzy's poi, and during the third dance, Matt Ha tied Alfed's poi to his feet and breakdanced. Jason Boring often borrowed poi or glowsticks to rave at dances, until his 09 disappearance.
In 2010.1, the raving crowd included Maggie G, Molly S, Declan M-H, as well as a return of Jason Boring. Others, such as Louisa C, Erika C-S, Vera G, Miranda G, and Gilbert P. knew or learned how to rave, and demonstrated at other times. In 2011.1, Louisa C and Erika C-S returned, joined by Alex O, and Micaela G. In addition, Matt G returned from Lancaster with his own poi.
In 2013.2 there were quite a lot of glowstringers, including even the RA Chucho.
In 2014.1 there were two ravers: one glowstringer and one glove-raver. The whole campus formed a circle around these two when the rave songs came on.
Although people had been worried that raving would die out, the group turned out to be surprisingly large. Noah Bryan from Saratoga was the most advanced raver. Sydney Hsin and Aviva Katz taught many newcomers how to do poi. Other more advanced glowstringers were Sophie Guo, Cameron Thurlow, and Fiona Gillespie. A glowstringing daily activity was held by the RAs on the second week. Many people learned poi but did not perform in the circles at the dances.
Sandstorm was played as the glowstringing song for all three dances, with the circle ending up being around ten people per dance. At the third dance, a second song, Everytime We Touch, was played for nomores and nevermores only. Participants in this circle included Cameron Thurlow, Aviva Katz, Fiona Gillespie, Sophie Guo, and possibly one or two others.
|Session(s):||2011.1, 2012.1, 2012.2|
Raving is also popular at JHU. The rave songs are usually Sandstorm and Satisfaction.
In 11.1, all ravers were stringravers. Kavin Sanghavi and Xinyuan Chen were the main ravers. Xinyuan Chen taught many how to rave during Casino Night in exchange for CTY cash.
In 12.1, RA Peter Yang, Molly S., and Raphael S. were the main ravers, raving at each dance and at the talent show.
At 12.2, raving was immensely popular, with more than half the camp at least knowing some basic moves. Many students were stringravers, including Barak Z, Amanda S, and Carla F. Molly S. returned for second session and RA Peter Yang again raved, sometimes even using 6 glowsticks at once.
At 14.1, RA's reprimanded students for having glow sticks out during Quad time after meals, but there was a pool of around 6/7 ravers at every dance in which everybody crowded around.
At Easton in 11.2 glowsticking (mostly freehanding) became very popular in a very short amount of time due to RAs giving out glowsticks during all of the dances, including completely awesome ones that glowed very bright white during the last dance. There were no specific rave songs; people just randomly began putting on a light show whenever they felt like it, which many found quite amusing.
|Session(s):||2012.1, 2013.1, 2013.2, 2014.1, 2014.2|
Glowstringing is extremely popular at Saratoga. There are at least two raving songs per dance; the first is Sandstorm, played immediately after Time Warp as everyone is already in a circle. The second is the wild card song, as it varies each session and dance (12.1 played Everytime We Touch, while 13.1 had Invisible Colors or Ravers in the UK). The third song is Raver's Fantasy, a nevermore-only song. Occasionally a fourth song is added to the mix, varying from Party Rock Anthem to Gangnam Style or Colors of the Rainbow.
Also, for whatever reason, at Saratoga, ravers commonly wear fedoras (because they're stylish and we're fabulous).
12.1 had the blessings of the legendary Khristine Yu, record-breaker James Gan, and "Original Lady Raver" Sophie Connor as nevermores, with Hart Isbored notably as the only hand raver. 13.1's glowstringing scene included nevermores Sonya Wang, known for her ability to jump over an orbital and proficiency with spirals, as well as teaching multiple squirrels, Nick Richardson with his hypnotizing 1.5 beat, Steven Jin with his fountain, Brian Liu with his 30 glowsticks, twomore Ryan Guo's orbitals, and onemore Cody Suesser's weaves. Hart Isbored reprised his role as the hand raver, joined by Marion Anderson. Raving was unusually popular during 13.1 (at least compared to 12.1), to the point where a raving daily and weekly were created; at least 7 new ravers joined the circle by the final dance.
During 13.1, the infamous move "The Watermelon" was created by Ashley Nobi, much to the chagrin of Ryan Guo. Ashely thought the waterwheel/watermill was called the watermelon, though she was corrected by Kristen Miciotta. Disappointed by the lack of watermelons, she proceeded to take Kristen's glowsticks and thus, created the infamous move. To properly execute this difficult trick, one must first assume a wide squatting stance. Next, swing your glowsticks in the worst possible 1-beat ever, and then slowly squat down and rise up. Repeat and rinse while keeping a straight face. The next morning, Ashley showed this "move" to the other campers, during which someone filmed and took pictures of a fantastic duo, in-sync watermelon (which later made it into the slideshow!). Ashley would then go on to create the sequel move "The Wintermelon".
At 2013.2, raving was so popular that it became a popular Weekly activity. So many CTYers learned to rave during these 3 weeks that by the last dance, there were at least 20 ravers in the middle of the dance floor during Sandstorm.
Nevermores Shannon Connelly, Emperor Max Dunsker, Cathy Nie, and Alex Friedman performed the traditional Nevermore performance at the talent show.
Session 2 also saw the beastly talent of Anton Repnikov, who was widely known for glove raving while wearing a white Jabbawockeez-style mask and also being able to rave with glowsticks and strings. While raving during dances, Anton was usually surrounded by CTYers chanting, "Anton turns me on!"
Second Sessioners witnessed Shannon Connelly's butterfly buzzsaw, Max Dunsker's Monkey move, Cathy Nie's record smashing, Alex Friedman's handle raving and Meltdown, and Anton Repnikov's duo case raving and glove raving. All in all, everyone was spectacular.
At the last dance, Sandstorm, Colors of the Rainbow, and Raver's Fantasy were played.
At 2014.1, raving was so popular there was yet another Weekly activity.
The Gaynor was invented this session. The Gaynor, accidentally invented by Nevermore Gaynor Norcott, consists of doing a three-beat weave, while on the knees and trying to lean back as far as possible. It's been noted to be quite hard and can cause serious spine damage. The move made appearences in all dance raves and in the Talent Show glowsticking act. It was also a crowd favorite, and generally people screamed their heads off when they saw it.
For the talent show rave, Gaynor Norcott, Kristen Miciotta, Aric Zhu, Griffin Badalamente, and Ryan Guo performed after setting the record for longest talent show.
At the last dance, Nevermore Gaynor Norcott set a new record with a total of 52 glowsticks.
It was said that a few non-nevermores sneaked into Ravers' Fantasy for the first few moments, only to be kicked out by the nevermores themselves.
The first and second ever Official Buzzsaw Orgy took place at the end of the improper raving songs (more information here)
The raving Weekly was popular once more, and it in fact led to the creation of several new raving moves, including the Equilibrium (holding your glowsticks still in the air), the Newton (hitting glowsticks with each other as if they were a Newton's Cradle), the plane (running around spinning the glowstick in front of you and saying neeeeeerrooooo as though you are a plane), and the Elephant (hanging the laces on your ears). Several such moves were demonstrated by emcees Kevin Lau and Pauly Goldsmith in the talent show.
Nevermore Anton Repnikov also absolutely smashed Gaynor Norcott's newly set record at the last dance by raving with 100 glowsticks, 50 on each arm. The entire site therefore agreed that Anton truly does turn us on. Anton was also known to finger-rave (Mimicking a butterfly) in the middle of the floor during the song "Clarity" to much applause and chanting of the the CTYers.
Nevermore Piper Fahey destroyed all previous records with 130 glowsticks, 65 on each arm. She was known to be a master at wraps, and one of the best ravers at the site.
Glowsticking is a staple at raves, so glowstickers follow the rules of raves. Raves have only one rule: Follow the doctrine of PLUR. What does PLUR stand for, you ask? It stands for "Peace, Love, Unity, Respect." Follow it. Now. That means that if someone is better than you at glowsticking, respect them. If you want to learn how to glowstick from them, you simply ask. If you ask in a kind, caring, manner, they will most likely teach you. Because of the culture that surrounds the art, glowstickers are normally very personable, gregarious, and open.
Things to Know about Learning Glowsticking
If you are teaching yourself how to glowstring, be prepared to whack yourself by accident. Everywhere. A lot. Face, legs, sides, crotch, arms, ears, crotch, etc.(So start off wearing jeans and a helmet or, for the more fashion-conscious, a fedora!) You're gonna have to get used to it, but don't let it discourage you, even though it does hurt like a son-of-a. Eventually, you don't even notice the pain, seriously. (Although hopefully you won't whack yourself as much when you've practiced for a while.)
You can just start off using a pair of dead glowsticks (almost any CTYer can get you some of these) and a pair of shoelaces. That's it. You can also use tennis balls and long socks for slower practice. For a less painful option, socks filled with rice or water balloons are excellent. Check out this video to get you started with the basics, and you can use youtube videos or any old glowstringer to teach you the rest.
Popular Raving Songs
- Sandstorm (Darude)
- James Brown is Dead (L.A. Style)
- Raver's Fantasy (Manian)
- Feel Fine (Manian)
- Ravers in the UK (DJ Manian)
- Everytime We Touch (Cascada)
Though almost any song can be raved to, popular raving songs typically have a fast tempo (around 140 bpm) along with a heavy bass.
- GenXGlow.com -- Better than GS.C, tutorials are frequently updated in addition to a more 'open' forum for beginners.
- Glowsticking.com -- General awesomeness.
- Home of Poi -- For Poi only, but still awesome.
- Do More Poi -- More Tutorials.
- Playpoi -- Great tutorials and structure; entertaining.
- CTYSARRAVE -- Tutorials by the forevermores of SAR.12.2
- Drexfactor Poi -- Great set of tutorials for poi
- Playpoi.com has videos to explain everything!
Where to Buy Glowsticks/Poi
In order to glowstick, you need glowsticks, obviously. Go into your hardware store or local camping outlet to find some. Military surplus stores also have them. This is not recommended, however, because the glowsticks they carry normally suck and cost 4 dollars a pair. Glowsticks can also be found at some Wal-marts and at many dollar stores (although they are usually not sold for exactly a dollar, but rather for slightly more). Occasionally, RAs may be able to buy glowsticks on supply runs. Many people buy in bulk and bring them to CTY sessions.
If you're a stickler and you just NEED an LED stick, go to Home of Poi and you can use code "CTY" for 5% off. They have some awesome LED stuff in their shop along with invaluable tutorials. Another source are the Sonik LEDs of GS.C fame: 
How do you get glowsticks on the cheap? You can either buy LEDs or buy in bulk. Buy glowsticks on the cheap at this place. They also sell high and ultra high intensity sticks. They rock. Trust me.
A great site is Emazinglights.com where you can get glowsticks for 1.25 each. Use coupon code "CTYSAR1" for a 5% discount or "CTYSAR2" for a free pair of raving gloves.
Another trusty source is ExtremeGlow, which has many bulk deals such as 50 assorted standard 8-hour glowsticks for only $25, which is pretty nice, along with the ability to buy glowsticks in small numbers. Ultras, industrial, and non-standard lengths (15" anyone??) are also available.
If you want to be a a pimp, buy high intensity LEDs, or photons. These are the best photons available. Granted, they're expensive, but they rock hard. They also strobe. DUDE, THEY STROBE. That alone should warrant the 40 bucks. If you want, you can even modify them to make them trail better.
And if you really feel like splurging on probably the sickest LEDs glowsticks and poi you will ever see, check out Flowtoys. Albeit expensive, these will be the source of plurgasms for sessions to come. The flowlights are a good place to start if you just want some LED sticks, but their different setups are also great if you want to go more all-out, such as the soft covers for glowstringers and multi-stick poi units for an intense light show. Finally, if you need to have the best LED poi possible, podpoi are now for sale. They're soft, squishy, beautiful and THEIR ORBITALS LAST FOREVER.
If you attend SAR, be sure to check out the glowsticks at G. Willikers (were out of stock second town trip 14.1- Sob) They sell for expensive prices; 2.00 a glowstick.
(*)For those who are having trouble navigating the 11 modes on their [g2] flowlights, here it is in a nutshell. Starting with the flowlight off, pressing the central button once will bring to the first mode, "breathe." pressing it again will shift it up once to mode 2, then 3, until mode 5, "beacon." pressing the button again will turn the flowlight off. In order to access the second "dimension," press the flowlight and set it onto any mode from 1-5. now, press and HOLD the button until it changes to a strobing mode which is still visible. You are now in mode 6. Continuing to press the flowlight will cycle through the second dimension modes until mode 11 (demo mode, a mode which cycles through all 10 previous modes). Pressing the button again will turn the light off in g1 lights, but in a g2 light, the flowtoy will enter suberbright mode. now, you can cycle through the previous 11 modes in a mode which is twice as bright, but will burn battery twice as quickly. Pressing the button again after mode 22 (superbright demo) will trun the flowlight off. (*) All g2 flowlights are also equipped with a memory function, which enables you to access the mode you were on before the light was turned off or ran out of battery. In order to return to the previous mode from "off", simply hold down the button and release when it reaches your desired mode.
If you just happen to have a few thousand dollars lying around, get Pyroterra's Visual poi. A good place to begin is with the soft LED poi manufactured by YOHO. Bear in mind that these are toys, not the real thing. You can keep using them, if you gradually replace every piece of the apparatus with duct tape. The cool thing- they can stay any color of your choice, slowly change colors, or strobe different colors, creating rainbow-colored trails. The downside, the batteries cost as much as the poi themselves.
- SLO GLO! Cal Poly's amazing glowsticking club. Home to Guinto and Melvenorc12, two amazing ravers. Some highlights:
- James, SAR emperor 2012.1
- CTY LOS/LMU Poi circles
- 2013 and 2014 have videos on YouTube
- 2016 session 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4dNqeeZ4K0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jky7U0CFE-E
- Search for more!