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HoopPath Boulder // Days 2 and 3

4 Feb

“I teach hoop DANCE…hoop DANCE…hoop DANCE…”



I can still hear Baxter’s voice booming above the thumping music…my eyes closed behind the blindfold. Feeling more free inside my hoop than I have in a long time, I let the music and movement  lull me into a comfortable rhythm.

In trying to explain HoopPath to my friends who weren’t there…I described Baxter as an “inspirational speaker” who uses the hoop as a teaching tool. That’s the only way I could think to describe it. His workshop left me encouraged in my hardships, challenged in my hooping, and more focused in my faith.

Baxter brought the ever beautiful and grace-filled Beth Lavinder with him…and as always, it was a joy to watch her hoop. I pretty much want to BE her. 🙂

One of my favorite parts of the weekend was when Baxter taught “touch technique”…this was entirely new to me and I really enjoyed trying something completely different than what I was used to with my hoop.

The circus center is located just on the outskirts of Boulder and the light was so beautiful at night! Big thanks to Leah and Mia for showing me their hoop ninja moves 🙂

All in all, this workshop far exceeded my expectations and I was pleasantly surprised at the intensity of physical and emotional exertion. I was completely EXHAUSTED every night…it was a great reminder at what a great workout hooping truly is!

If Baxter comes to your town (or within 10 hours of your town 🙂 )…don’t miss the Deep Water. You’ll find good stuff there.

You can find LOTS more images on Facebook and Flickr.
All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce photos online or in print without permission.

HoopPath Boulder // Day 1

29 Jan

This weekend is the long-awaited Hoop Path workshop in Boulder! For those of you who don’t know, we recently stopped traveling full-time and settled down in Longmont, CO (just 12 mi. from Boulder). It’s so nice to have such a lovely hoop community here. I feel so blessed.

I LOVED Baxter’s opening ceremony/sequence at Hoopcamp…and have been looking forward to attending a full workshop for quite some time. The first night was everything I had hoped it would be…meditative and freeing with some LOUD thumping music to make my soul sing. If you’ve never hooped to hip-hop music…you’re really missing out 🙂

I have many friends at the workshop…including Leah and Mia, who drove all the way from Des Moines, Iowa yesterday!! So fun to flow with friends all around.

Here are some images from Day One! Full set on Facebook and Flickr. More to come!

Hoopcamp Top Ten + Highlight Video

11 Oct

My Top 10 Favorite Things About Hoopcamp 2010:

The Inspiration
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.

The Love
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”.

The People
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 Food
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. 🙂

The Diversity
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.

The Teachers
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.

Brecken Rivera
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!!

Malcolm Stuart
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:

The Clothes
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:

Remember that one time at Hoopcamp?

5 Oct

Hoopcamp is over…but I’m still reeling from all of the new inspiration! I will be writing a longer post about my experience there, but I do have all the photos edited (links below) and wanted to share them with you. I will also be making a highlight video, but that is going to take a bit more time 🙂

It was a truly magical weekend and I have been completely transformed as a hooper. Here are some highlights:

See the full album:
On Facebook
On Flickr

Hoop Technique Wrap Up

12 Aug

While perusing Hoop City a few weeks back, I came across a post by Danielle that talked about the upcoming Hoop Technique workshop in Boulder. Being that we were in Golden (just 20 minutes away), I practically shouted “HECK YES!!”. Sprial and Rich’s online videos have inspired me immensely in my hoop journey, and I knew I had to go.

Matt and the girls dropped me off on Saturday at the Boulder Circus Center for the first day of my hoop bliss. The workshop started off with the typical circle up and name sharing. There was a diverse mix of hoopers, some who had just started hooping and some who had been hooping for many years. Two participants drove all the way from the Des Moines area (we have friends in common!) and another flew in from Atlanta.

There were only about 25 hoopers, which made it a lot easier to connect with others and with Rich and Spiral. There were at least 4 participants who teach hoop dance or perform professional in some capacity (Rainbow Michael, Danielle Odette, Tammy Firefly, Ali Cerulli Avalon and up and coming hooper Nick Guzzardo)…so beyond just learning from Rich and Spiral, we could watch these more experienced hoopers tear it up and learn from them as well!

The first day we focused a lot on isolations & isopops and learned more about space and energy. The second day was focused on time and flow, and we did a lot more “practicing”.

Here is a more detailed explanation of the program from their website:

Hoop Technique Theory encompasses a broad range of hoop movement and vocabulary oriented around four key concepts: Space, Energy, Time and Flow. These four concepts provide a framework for creative expression and expansion. Through exercises, theory and instruction, our focus on these concepts will increase awareness of what’s possible and encourage exploration. Each concept can be applied to any move and can be understood as a lens through which it can be examined and experienced.

  • The concept of Space explores the relationship of body and hoop to the space we occupy while hooping.
  • Energy refers to the physical and emotional energetic tones we can utilize to enrich and deepen the quality of our movement.
  • Time relates to speed, acceleration, direction changes, rhythm, tempo and beat.
  • Flow is the personal mastery of creative movement; effortless transition from move to move guided by expertise, muscle memory and inspiration. For us, flow unlocks the bliss and transcendent joy of hoop dance.

Some of the moves that were covered:
Isolations, Extensions, Isopops, Isobreaks, Antispin, 3d Moves, Dynamic Stalls, Sustained Spinning, Variations of Reverses.

The workshop had a very holistic feel to it…with every possible aspect of hooping explained and unpacked. Rich, being an architect, has a very interesting way of seeing the hoop. In explaining his isopop theory, he got out his trusty whiteboard and drew out how the hoop would be moving and pinpointed the exact point on the hoop where the rotation would occur. It was EXTREMELY helpful and it clicked instantly in my head. I’m not saying I can isopop like Rich, but at least I understand how it works! I love his approach to hooping and the means by which he explains it. On his blog, he diagrams and tests different plastics for the most perfect hoop…which makes him the ultimate hoop geek. 🙂 Love it! I have to admit that before going to this workshop, I didn’t really have an interest in doing isolations and other non-core movements…but Rich changed all that! His style is so unique and clean…you can’t help but to be inspired.

Spiral balances out Rich’s popping and isolating and lends a softer, more feminine touch on the hoop. Much of her teaching at the workshop focused on sustained spinning and flow. Her teachings really helped me, because right now I’m still trying to figure out which movements combine well with others and flowing from one move to the next without thought.

Spiral is a true artist in the hoop, always looking to take her practice to the next level. She has been hooping for 8 years and is a “pioneer” in the hoop world….always exploring and expanding her repertoire and passing her knowledge along to others. I was particularly interested in her time spent in “circus school” in Vermont and I enjoyed reading her online journal of her experiences there. She is an incredible performer and she takes her craft very seriously! I feel so blessed to have learned from her in person.

The hoopers in Colorado are a delightful bunch of beautiful people and I am so happy to have had the opportunity to be a part of it…even if it was just for a few months. I also just can’t say enough about Rich and Spiral and the fantastic energy and enthusiasm they bring to the hooping community. They do have tour dates set for Canada: Vancouver on Sept. 25, Victoria Sept. 26, Hoop Camp in Santa Cruz the next weekend, and Montreal Oct. 9 & 10. There will be more in the U.S…but they are not scheduled yet. Be on the look out for their new DVD, which is scheduled to be released in late September!

And now the countdown to HoopCamp begins…I can hardly wait!

[Click here to see all of the photos from the workshop + click on photos above to enlarge]

Hoop Technique Sneak Peak

9 Aug

My mind is still reeling from all of the amazing teaching at the Hoop Technique workshop I attended this weekend in Boulder, Colorado. Spiral and Rich were fantastic and I have MUCH to share! I have photos and video and will be working on those in the next couple of days…but I wanted to give you a little “sneak peak”.

The above video was taken during a break as Rich demonstrated some of his Isopop techniques. Enjoy!