The Fire Dancers of Crocodile Park

Jessie T. Ponce Photography

They literally play with fire

Jessie T. Ponce Photography

They mesmerize their audience with breath-taking dance numbers using lighted torches, fiery hoops and flaming poles

Jessie T. Ponce Photography

Their performances mask the fact that they support their families or earn their college tuition through their work

Jessie T. Ponce Photography

Outside of their fire dance performances, they act as park attendants, shopkeepers, waiters and waitresses at the Davao Crocodile Park

Jessie T. Ponce Photography

For the rest of the week, they are students hoping to move forward in life beyond fire dancing…

Jessie T. Ponce Photography

For now they enjoy what they do and at the dance floor they are the masters…

Jessie T. Ponce Photography

The fire is both a friend and a foe. It wants to engulf its handler into its hypnotic swirls…

Jessie T. Ponce Photography

Or keep them tucked forever inside the balls of fire or the trap of fame

Jessie T. Ponce Photography

But fire can be tamed. A brief change of props and then they come back dancing to the tune of a Filipino folk dance…

Jessie T. Ponce Photography

Hopping between toe-clipping bamboo poles with the traditional dance moves heightened by flaming ardor…..

Jessie T. Ponce Photography

As the fires fade and the dances draw to an end, the audience start catching their breath while the dancers appear unscathed by the flames, unwavering in their fiery quest to dance their way to the future……

Author’s Note:  These images were taken at the  Davao Crocodile Park . The park showcases a ‘state of the art’ crocodile farming system in the Philippines. It has the most recent crocodile farm design equipped with modern facilities and equipments.  The presence of other exotic animal species like raptors, monkeys, bearcats, snakes, birds, and other reptiles makes it one of the most desired tourist destinations in Davao.  The park also has a butterfly sanctuary tucked inside an orchard, restaurants overlooking the Davao River, and souvenir shops  scattered all over their spacious, nature-focused compound.  The performances of these amazing fire dancers are among the park’s latest attractions.