Photo credit: Xentaras Photography
After spending time with Nick Guzzardo at Hoop Technique and Hoopcamp, I knew he was something special. He has graciously agreed to share a little more about his love for hooping…enjoy!
How long have you been hooping?
I started hooping this January, so it’s been about 10 months of eat/sleep/hoop.
Where did you first discover hooping?
I first stumbled upon the hoop at Burning Man, 2009. I remember being in awe of the performers rocking it at center camp, they were amazing! I was especially blown away by the hoopers, but at that moment I didn’t show much interest to hoop myself. An overstimulated brain can only handle so much! I did pick up a hoop one night though. My friends and I found this camp with LED trees that changed colors and hoops all over the place!!! We were there for probably an hour, I remember turning with the hoop for the first time and feeling it slow down a little then launch itself around. Such a good feeling for the first time! I’m glad I experience that daily now.
Was there a particular person who influenced you during your first couple of “formative” months?
I think I’m still in my formative months really. There are so many people that have influenced me…its hard to pin one person down for that. I keep meeting people that inspire me so much! But in the beginning, I started off watching Safire’s YouTube videos religiously. She helped me build a foundation with my hoop and kept me pushing myself to do better. I can’t thank her enough for that!
Who have been the most influential hoopers (aka “hoop crush”) for you?
I have many hoop crushes! My most recent crush is Gail O’Brien, she launched my head off into space at the Harbin Hoop Jam with her bouncy Sharna Rose style. She taught me all these geeky places I could go with my hoop that I was oblivious to. But I’d have to say the most influential hoopers for me have been Rich and Brecken. They both have such unique, solid and different styles. At Hoop Technique in Boulder, Rich and Spiral broke everything down and brought so many concepts into a new light. They really filled me up with inspiration! Brecken was one of the first hoopers I found on YouTube besides Safire and I couldn’t even comprehend what she was doing at the time! I just new it was sick and fit perfectly to Dubstep. She is the nicest person ever, I roll all over the ground now thanks to her.
Do you practice daily? How many hours a week? Where?
I used to practice daily in my basement or backyard, for 4 or 5 hours. Now it depends on my day and how I’m feeling. Some days I’ll rock out for hours and be killing it, and other days my body doesn’t agree with me and I can’t get into my flow at all…which sucks. On days like that I just set my hoop down and walk away…and return later with a clear head. I also go to a circus jam on Wednesdays at the Boulder Circus Center. There I take advantage of full length mirrors and high ceilings to practice moves and ideas that limit me in my basement.
L to R: Me (Sara), Tracey Knowles, Danielle Odette, Rainbow Michael, Nick
Do you have a local group/friends that you hoop with?
I’m a part of the great spin community here in Colorado! We put on a fire performance two times a week in the summer on the Platte River, and have Flow Jams in parks all over the front range. I’ve just recently met all of these wonderful people and im so grateful that there is an awesome community where I live! Before I knew other hoopers, I made my own community. I gave hoops to all of my friends and encouraged meeting at the park as much as possible!
Your style is very fluid and fast! When did you switch to the polypro hoop?
I’ve been trying to tone down the fastness of my style lately, which is hard for me. You can’t appreciate speed if you don’t slow it down sometimes! Its hard though because the polypro is so light. It’s like hooping with a cloud. I use a HDPE hoop often as well and I still bust out my big black poly hoop for practicing my reverse current. I switched over to the polypro for the first time at Rainbow Michael’s workshop back in late April. I had been hooping for only 4 months I guess. Ha…I’ve never really thought about dates or any of this!
What is your favorite music to hoop to right now?
Bonobo, Bluetech, the new Beats Antique album……and Glee!!
When did you start fire hooping and who helped you start?
I started fire hooping this past summer. I had to look at my CosmicFire order conformation to remember! I got my Ninja in July. I didn’t have any help but the internet at first. I read about fire hooping safety, found out I should use white gas, have a wet blanket on hand and to never light up alone. A couple weeks later I started performing two nights a week with a group at Confluence Park in Denver where Danielle laid down the importance of fire safety!
This year, you attended Burning Man, Hoopcamp, and the Harbin Hoop Jam all within a couple months. Tell us how those have influenced your hoop practice.
All three events have blurred together into one awesome trip and I haven’t fully digested everything yet! It was awesome and a little overwhelming at first to be around so many people and so many hoopers event after event, week after week.
Lately I’ve been focused on dancing with my hoop more and going back to the things I already know and looking at them differently. I’ve started to experiment a lot more and make new things up. There are infinite possibilities and places to go with your hoop. I think that Burning man, Hoopcamp, and Harbin have opened my eyes to the huge amount of love and community there is in the hooping world. This has inspired me to start teaching others and spreading the joy I’ve found in my own experience with hooping.
Out of those events, are there any “a-ha” or moments of bliss that really stick out for you?
There was many moments of bliss at these events! Hooping at the SpinCycle jam at Burning Man for the first time! Being around all the hoopers I’d been watching on the internet for months, everyone jamming in the same place, my broken hoop and I covered in playa dust…I could have died that moment and been perfectly content with it. I remember finally realizing by the third day of workshops at Hoopcamp that my cheeks were hurting so bad from constant smiling!
But my most favorite a-ha moment was at the Harbin Hoop Jam. I had woken up very early to go soak in the hot springs and as I walked through the jam area, I had to stop and take a second. Tammy’s lyra hoop and aerial silks were hanging from the ceiling! So I’m upside down in the silk and I’m looking around at the room. It was a lovely mess! Sleeping bodies, pillows, hoops and flow toys of all kinds and colors scattered everywhere! I was home with my hoop family!! It was such a great feeling. If any “non-hoop” person would have walked in and saw the room, they would have thought it was a mess and that people here are crazy!
Do you spin poi or do any other flow arts?
I spin poi and play with a flow wand here and there. I’ve been wanting to start double staff (which reminds me I have a Cosmic Fire order to make!) and get into contact juggling and acrobatics like Silks and Trapeze!
What advice would you give to new hoopers?
If you love doing it, don’t stop! Always do what makes you happy. Find that place were you and your hoop can explore together. Always challenge yourself and stay open to inspiration. Never feel discouraged, drop your hoops and remember to laugh at yourself!
Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your “hoop world” Nick!
Subscribe to Nick’s YouTube channel here. If we all chant together, maybe he will post more videos, more often!