A friend of mine sent me this video and I loved it so much I wanted to share it with you too! It’s a short little documentary about Stefanie Moser’s experience with the hoop. Sweet & inspirational.
Lately I’ve been watching more hoop videos to inspire my hoopy self back into a daily practice. This one is awesome. There is just something magical about a festival setting…and a girl with dreads. Probably also explains why this older clip of Spiral is one of my all time faves as well. I could watch it over and over!
What are you watching/doing right now that is inspiring you in your own practice?
New music? Videos? New moves? Share!
When I first started hooping, there were whispers that a hooping documentary called “The Hooping Life” was being made…the first of it’s kind. Two years later…I finally had the pleasure of seeing it premiere in Denver! It was the perfect start for my journey back to hooping after giving birth to little Emma 2 weeks ago.
Astral Hoops was there spreading the LED hoop love. If you’ve never seen their hoops…be sure to check them out. Incredible! Saving my pennies…they blew my mind!
Tetra Incendia Fire Troop lit it up.
The actual documentary was very well done…with years of research and interviews included. We laughed and hollered…but also saw that hooping has truly CHANGED LIVES forever. From the inner city hoop programs to coming out of depression…we were all reminded of the power of the hoop.
There were many live performances at the event…but being that I was juggling a newborn and 2 cameras, I was only able to get four of them Excuse the shaky camera! Emma woke up right at they were starting!
One of my favorites was Nick & kiT…they have a fantastic connection and energy and are a joy to watch. Check out their promo here. Enjoy…
*A big thanks to Holly HooPs for being the coordinator for this event!
I’m starting to wonder if Nick ever eats or sleeps…because it appears that he works on his hooping every minute of the day! This video is mesmerizing…with moves that I’ve never seen anywhere before…you’ll be rewinding this one to see it again and again!!
*filmed at the Wednesday jam at the Boulder Circus Center
Featured Guest Blogger: Rebecca Morning glory Phipps
A few months ago, my husband got my kids a couple of water hoops from a local toy store. When my oldest daughter got her hands on the new shiny swirly hoop, she picked it up with ease, and was hooping her heart out in the yard immediately. I was made keenly aware of the fact that in all my 31 years, I had never learned to swing one of those hoops around my waist.
I had seen hoopers at shows, and couldn’t figure out the draw of the jam band kids to these toys. I saw the funny widespread street signs depicting pedestrians with a hoop around their waist, and I always chuckled but never really got it…..
I knew there had to be something very special about it to draw such a diverse crowd of people. From tour heads, to club kids, to exercise fanatics. I just didn’t know how, and up until then had not been exposed to the true magic of it.
After a few days of watching my daughter spin to her hearts content, I picked one up and tried my hardest to keep the hoop spinning around my body. But every time I tried, it fell right back down with a big watery clunk on the floor. No matter what I tried, I would whip that thing to the right and blam…down again. It wasn’t until I stopped and spun it in the “wrong” direction…the direction that felt the silliest, that it actuall stayed up. Just for a few minutes, but stayed none the less…
Lesson Number One:
Sometimes the things that feel the strangest to us move us to new places. Right doesn’t always equal comfortable.
I blogged about my hoop experience and the lesson I had learned right off the bat with my fantastic new discovery. Shortly after, Sara (my fairy hoopmother) sent me a link to some hoop dancers doing their thing. I was awestruck!! How did they move like that? How did they make those hoops defy gravity?! In a couple of days a package came in the mail: my very first big girl hoop! It was a collapsible rainbow hoop and it was beautiful! I was at work when my husband brought it to me, but that didn’t stop me from ripping open the packaging and hooping right there in the bakery! It was blissful!!!
Lesson Number Two:
Even when I think I can’t find anything else in life, new beautiful things arrive (sometimes by mail).
I scoured the YouTube channels, finding all sorts of hoop tutorials, by dozens of seasoned hoopers. I drained the video that my fairy hoopmother sent me of all of its beginner hoop glory! I would watch a segment, go outside and try it till I got it, then move to the next lesson. I wanted to dance with rhythm and beautiful flow…but realized quickly that I couldn’t move in my hoop the way I wanted until I understood the basic concepts of how the hoop moved.
Lesson Number Three:
If you want to learn a language, you first have to learn to make noise.
I was sucking up hoop technique like a dying woman in the dessert. I spent hours in my yard spinning and twirling, laughing, tormenting the dog. I would get a movement, and practice until my body ached. Covered in bruises and dirt I would make my way back inside at the end of a hoop session covered in sweat and smiling from ear to ear…..
Lesson Number Four:
Growth = Bruises and dirty feet…no matter how you look at it.
After about a month of heavy hooping, I started to notice an obvious change in my body. My upper arms started to slender and I could see muscle definition where there used to be none. My bruise-covered legs started to tone up. That baby weight I was holding on to around my tummy was peeling off bit by bit everyday. I felt good about my body and it felt good on me. I felt stronger and more balanced almost immediately. I dropped about 10 pounds in the first 2 months. I figured that would happen after I had read that hooping for an hour could burn up to 600 calories…but I just didn’t think it would happen so fast.
Lesson Number Five:
Fun can make you stronger (this one has been hard to accept!).
Since then, I have become a full on hoop junkie. After a couple of months, I decided to start making my own hoops and hoops for others. I wanted to see other people get excited about hooping too! Hooping has taught me not only a healthier way to move my body, but has challenged me on a daily basis with lessons about life, and yes, even my faith!
Hooping has become a thick thread in my life’s canvas, and I hope to paint it well!
**A big thank you to the lovely Rebecca for sharing her hoop story (I love you girl!). My heart just aches watching her hoop because I miss her SO MUCH. She is one of my best friends and is actually my very FIRST friend that I met online and then became friends with in real life Here are some photos of our last visit so many years ago. I think we’re due for another one!
We recently spent the afternoon at Avila Beach near San Luis Obispo, CA. The beach is absolutely beautiful with perfect, powdery sand. It was the first time in a LONG time that I felt FREE with my hoop. So much open space!!
I’ve been hooping inside the RV a lot…or on my little piece of astro turf that Matt bought for me for me at Home Depot Both are such small spaces that I can’t always find my flow very well. I loved hearing the crashing of the waves as I hooped and hooped and hooped. I will definitely be going back!
Photo credit: Xentaras Photography
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.
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!
Brecken performed at Hoopcamp in a super casual “dinner theater” setting…just doin’ her thing. As you can see (and hear) in the video, she is well-loved within the hoop community. From what I can tell, everyone adores her. She is humble, approachable, and has a hoop style that is completely unique.
We can all try to emulate her…but in the end, there is only ONE Brecken!! And I could watch her all.day.long.
My Top 10 Favorite Things About Hoopcamp 2010:
It’s one thing to watch a video of Spiral or Brecken online, but to see it up close and personal is something completely different. To watch the playa dust fly off of Spiral’s coat as she performs just a few feet in front of you…to hear Brecken laugh as she effortlessly throws around her hoop in ways unlike any other…well, it’s pure magic.
At Hoopcamp…EVERYONE is equally in love with this round plastic circle. At home, we might be the only one who geeks out about hooping on a daily basis. It gets lonely sometimes. But when we come together, it’s sort of like we’re on another planet for 4 days. And for a moment, we all feel “normal”.
Hoopcamp is a gathering of happy, creative, unique, blissed out souls…all coming together for a common purpose. Now seriously, who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?! These are people who have found something. Something that makes them insanely happy. Something that has become very spiritual and can bring them out of the deepest funk. I love being with others who know themselves and know what brings them joy.
The first night, we all walked up to the dining hall and waited in line. When I got up to the front, I saw one word on the menu board and I knew it would be a great weekend. CURRY. Ummm….yes please. The meals were lovingly prepared…always with vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. Sprouted breads, rice and hemp milks…you name your kind of crazy and it was there. I’m sort of nuts about good food and Pema Osel Ling made me very happy. Yay!
The Redwoods & Retreat Center
Let’s talk about the drive through the Redwoods! Gorgeous. I am still nursing Lucy at night, so I didn’t stay overnight at camp. We camped at an RV park about 7 miles away, and it took me about 30 minutes one way to get there each day. Even though it was a long drive after very long days, I actually enjoyed every minute of it!
We rented another car for me to take so that Matt could keep the truck to get around with the girls…and Enterprise upgraded me to a sweet red “race car”. At least that’s what it felt like to me! All is know is I could drive really fast uphill. Every morning I would crank up the music with my mate latte in hand, and wind my way up the mountain. After leaving the car in the parking lot, I would begin the VERY uphill trek to camp. I loved listening to the birds and other critters scurrying around as I walked through the mist of the early morning. Although, at night, it would be completely dark as I made my way back down all alone and those same critters would scare me like crazy.
The grounds of the retreat center were amazing. Spectacular views, cute cabins, yurts, and secluded tent sites. Even though I wasn’t staying overnight, I still had a tent so I could relax & recharge. I loved my tent site…tucked up on a little hill with a great view of the path for people watching.
And believe me, there was some gooooood people watchin’! There was such a beautiful mixture of people at Hoopcamp. Kristin “Tink” McQuillin explained it so well in a recent blog post:
We were a diverse crowd. Our ages skewed towards the middle thirties judging from visible crows’ feet. I expected the crowd to be more youthful and was delighted to learn that Marjorie, one of the instructors, celebrated her 60th birthday during camp. Most of the hoopers were women, but there was a good handful of men, too. Sexual, political, and religious preferences covered the spectrum, as did skin tone.
Hair color, too, was widely varied. Natural and bleached ponytails, chocolate hued dreadlocks, black pixie cuts, and more than one brightly colored head. Let’s not even start talking about the hoop fashions…frock watching galore!
Our skills and experience dotted the map. Mixed together were A-list hoopers, second tier spinners, hobbyists, the foreign component, people who came alone and unknown, those who arrived with a posse. There were buskers, go-go hoopers, circus trained spinners, festival hoopers, hoopdance legends, innovators, theorists, and at least one person who wasn’t a hooper at all.
There were a lot of amazing things to see at camp, but let’s face it…we were all there to LEARN! To expand our knowledge of all things hoop. To find new ways to move and flow. There were so many opportunities for growth, it was hard to decide what workshops to go to! My favorite workshops of the weekend were:
Rich and Spiral // Hoop Technique
After attending their Hoop Technique workshop in Boulder, I knew that their workshop here would be amazing and I wasn’t disappointed. They are both extremely gifted teachers and it’s easy to retain the information they share. I am SO thilled about their new DVD that is slated to come out in the next couple of months. They were doing pre-orders at camp and we were able to see the trailer. It is completely unlike any DVD out there and the artistry is unbelievable. Yes, I’m a little excited.
Baxter // The Hoop Path
Baxter led the opening session and it was such a powerful way to begin our weekend! With 250+ hoopers all jamming to awesome hip hop music under the redwood…how could it not be? I never knew I liked hip hop so much! I’ve never been to a Hoop Path workshop, but I am going to seek one out!! Baxter is incredibly inspirational, not only in his hooping, but in his words. Oh, and he’s pretty darn funny too. Just a great guy all around.
Ann Humphreys // The Hoop Path
I learned about “spiraling” and moving in completely different ways in the hoop than I was used to. During her workshop, I felt like I was in a completely different world. So blissful. It was also the first time I hooped blindfolded. An interesting experience that I will be doing more of!
Jennifer a.k.a. Hoop Charmer
This girl has got some serious energy! Her workshop was focused on “transitions”…but it should have been called “Hoop for an hour straight to super fast awesome dance music”. Loved it.
This workshop was basically Brecken telling us all she knows in a way that only Brecken can. It was sweet. Unfortunately, it was held in a poorly lit space in the dark and we couldn’t see her and there wasn’t enough space to really spread out and experiment with what she was sharing. This was definitely not the fault of Brecken, but it was one of my only disappointments of the weekend. I was so looking forward to it! Next year, she needs more space, more time, and more LIGHT! Even with those setbacks, she rocked it. I would have gone to 5 of Brecken’s workshops if they were offered! More Brecken I say!!
If you’ve never seen Malcom hoop before, you’re in for a treat. He can move in ways that boggle the mind. Towards the end of his workshop, he held a “hoop off”, where people could show off their stuff in the middle of a big circle. I wish we could have done this DAILY! So fun to watch everyone playing off of each other’s energy. Here is a clip for you to enjoy:
Hoopers love their fancy clothes! It was such a treat to see all of the unique outfits throughout the weekend. Even more fun was to peruse the “Hoopcamp Mall” and check out all of the vendors and their goodies. Everything from feather earrings to bloomers to fire gear…it was all there.
The Life Lessons
I learned a lot more than just some new hooping skills at camp.
- I learned that I need to love myself more and stop striving for perfection in everything. I need to be satisfied with PROGRESS!
- I learned that I don’t like attending things like Hoopcamp alone. It’s way more fun with a besty or two on your arm.
- I learned the importance of taking time away from being a mommy 24/7…and recharging my creative spirit.
- I learned that I like to drive fast and listen to loud bass-thumping music (who knew!?)
Hooping hooping hooping…all weekend long. Big hoops, little hoops, light hoops, heavy hoops, hoops that light up, hoops that are on fire…it was a hoop geek fest. I got really used to talking hooping all the time…every meal, every workshop, etc. So when I came back home after 4 days of that…I had to remind myself that Matt probably didn’t want to hear about it 24/7 (although he will gladly listen to my rantings…thanks hon!). I did experience a bit of “post Hoopcamp” sadness. But now I get to look forward to next year! And will hopefully be bringing at least 2 of my hoopy girlfriends with me. Woooo!
The entire Hoopcamp photo album is here. Enjoy!
Hoopcamp website: http://www.hoopcampretreats.com