Local’s Choice: Renita Kavallieros

Key West fire show artist Renita Kavallieros, 38, known as “Andromeda Fyre” after the galaxy Andromeda, is a dancer extraordinaire who began classical dance at age 3 in her hometown of Fort Madison, Iowa.

She’s a world-renowned fire dancer, belly dancer and flow artist who’s traveled to over 45 countries and performed around the globe.

Featured on CNN during Key West’s recent New Year’s Eve celebration, the lithe dancer is a principal performer at Follow The Rabbit Bar and a member of the Jester’s Guild fire team in the southernmost island city.

A graduate of Iowa State University who majored in graphic design, Kavallieros worked on a corporate sports company’s in-house creative team in Chicago for six years before an adventurous friend convinced her to move to Thailand to teach English.

In Thailand, she discovered the art of fire spinning, calling it “love at first sight,” on the island of Koh Phi Phi in the Andaman Sea off Phuket.

The fire called to her “like a moth to a flame,” she said. After a group of male performers mocked her, a young Thai female fire dancer agreed to teach her the intricate techniques and performance skills of working with fire.

During an Iowa visit, Kavallieros told her parents she was returning to Thailand to perform as a fire dancer at beach bars for the equivalent pay of $13 per night. Distraught, her parents thought their daughter had “lost her mind,” but later became her biggest fans.

She’s worked with UNICEF and dozens of circus performers from around the globe, and is disciplined in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, gymnastics, interpretive, ballroom and belly dance and Greek and Latin cultural styles.

She’s been a member of the Turkish touring fire team Eternal Inferno and the fire team Flow of Fire in Berlin, Germany. In Cambodia she founded the Fireflys fire team.

But Kavallieros’ life in Berlin during the pandemic-era lockdown was claustrophobic, so she returned to Iowa to reconnect with family.

She discovered Key West on a three-month road trip, driving and camping out of her parents’ SUV through the nation’s western and southern coasts. On arrival in June 2021, Kavallieros was immediately offered the opportunity to perform as a fire dancer at Mallory Square.

Currently, Kavallieros creates event entertainment for corporate groups, meetings, weddings and bachelorette parties; teaches fire performance and belly dancing; and is a professional model for body paint artists and photographers.

She’s also on the board of directors of the Key West Cultural Preservation Society that manages the famed Mallory Square Sunset Celebration. She practices reiki and yoga, and meditates daily.

Her motto: “Be the kind of soul whose light doesn't have an off switch.”

Where she dines: Pho King Awesome Sake & Noodle Bar, Santiago's Bodega, La Grignote and the Red Shoe Island Bistro.

Where she explores: The hidden gems of the Keys. “Whether checking out the mangroves, parks, scuba diving sites, fishing spots, stores, restaurants or new hangouts, it NEVER gets boring for me here!” 

How she relaxes: “By spinning fire! This is the best way for me to relax, unwind and connect with myself.”