You know that phrase all too well don't you my hooper friends? walking around in public with your hoops, you'll hear it over and over..."is that a hula-hoop?? what do you do with that thing?" All you can do is just SmiLe! If they only knew or understood what the hoop has done for you...for me..for so many!
This week marks my 3 year anniversary within the circle. Christmas '05 my mom brought home some store bought hoops and at first I couldn't keep the darn thing going! It was very frustrating, but eventually I got it and I loved it! I had so much fun with my new toy, my hoop came back with me to college. My roomies would laugh at me while I hooped in the living room...if they only had known what was about to unfold! Not until that following summer at Smilfest 06 at Deerfields Music Venue in NC was my addiction truly embedded..when i picked up a REAL hoop from my friend Soul Sistah SPUNKY!!! That weekend I left with a HUGE hoop strapped to the roof and wicked bruises on each hip.
I came back to college Fall 06 after an amazing summer of traveling across the country following String Cheese Incident! Meeting so many amazing people and hoopers along the way. At this time, I began my obsession with youtube! I started an account, posted my very first hooping video and began obsessively watching Hoopalicious, Spiral, Hoopnotica ladies, and Christabe!! My jaw would DROP! I would call my roomies into the room! LOOK! LOOK! You have to watch this video--how does she do that?! and so it all began...
People started to call me "hula hoop girl" around campus, I found it totally amusing. Using my car radio and rocking out with an enormous hoop, those were the days. I remember where I was standing the first time I was able to "float up" aka move the hoop off my waist and above my head! At that point I knew it was all possible. I really could figure out those tricks...
My friends at Radford watching my passion grow, they also watched my fluffy furry costumes grow as well. =) For Halloween 06 I was a Super HOOPER and wore my costume to work and had my hoop leaning against the hostess stand all night.
It was at a Feb 2007 at an EOTO show in Asheville, NC where Jason and I had a conversation about me hooping on stage with them. I couldn't believe it! I didn't take him up on the offer for that show but we agreed that when EOTO played Sunday in Boulder, CO in March during the 5 night String Cheese Winter Carnival shows, I'd hoop there. I was so excited! I told all my friends! I'm hooping on stage! I get to hoop with JASON AND TRAVIS! I was so stoked!!!
But....I will NEVER EVER EVER forget the feeling in the pit of my stomach while I was waiting to go stage. It hit me. Holy shit, I'm really getting up there?! Jamie Janover actually gave me a pep talk I'll never forget. "Just go up there when you're feeling the groove and get off when you're done, its simple" and he was right!
What a moment it was!! It ended up being a large jam with other musicians including Aaron Holstien, Ooah, Jamie Janover, and Souleye.
I came home from that amazing week in CO and my life had changed. Not only was I in the hardest and most exciting semester of my nutrition degree but my hooping career was actually falling into place..
Later on that spring, Jason said I could hoop whenever there was room at the EOTO late nights during String Cheese Farewell Summer Tour!!!! What great news to look forward too!
For my 22nd birthday I got my first FIRE HOOP! My mom was so upset she had let herself order it, she was worried for my safety... I was nervous at first but soon I learned how to embrace the flame. I also saved up money and bought my first PSI hoop. (www.psihoops.com) by June 2007 and wow. A new love for hooping was born... I had told myself if I was going to get on stage ever again, I wanted one of the best LED hoops available!
Sure enough, before I knew it I had finished my summer microbiology class (with an A might I add) and it was time for STRING CHEESE SUMMER TOUR 2007!! First stop was a 4 night run in NYC.
This also included an EOTO late night show Friday night at BBKings!! I had SO MUCH ROOM on stage it was truly liberating!
There is so much more I could say about my experiences on the road with SCI, who I met, the cities we stayed in, but thats a whole 'nother blog. =)
After NYC I hopped on a plane and flew to PORTLAND, OR to stay with a friend-Matt (who then I had a huge crush on and later fell in love with) and experienced the city for the first time. I found home. I knew it, I felt it RIGHT when I walked off the plane at PDX airport. We spent a great week together and prepared for our journey down to California for the 2 night run in Berkeley. There was an EOTO late night there...but we got lost and ended up walking around (hoop in hand) the whole amazing town and getting there too late and couldn't get in. haha..During the days I had some amazing hoop times at these shows, met some great friends, and felt the beautiful california sun on my skin...yumz.
After the shows,We headed back up north and stayed in Portland until the next 3 shows that weekend at Hornings Hideout in North Plains, OR.
WHAT AN AMAZING WEEKEND OF MY LIFE. I got to hoop a ton with Stefan, Shakti Sunfire, meghan the kat and some other amazing hoopers that inspired me and furthered my hoop growth! ...Oh, and this is the weekend I truly fell for my lover, Matt D. =)
NEXT STOP ON STRING CHEESE TOUR>>Missouri..oh boy. What a long haul that was from Oregon! Took us 4 days and it was an amazing packed car ride with some amazing beautiful people. Camp Zoe was a super hot weekend but some of the best String Cheese shows of the summer! I got to share the stage again with EOTO and had so much room!! I couldn't get myself off the stage! This show there were exotic pole dancers on one side of the stage with me on the other! hotness!
Already I could tell a differences between the first time I hooped on staged with the boys and this performance. Traveling around and hooping every day was really a blessing. Summer 2007 was a very epic one indeed. From MO we got back in the car and drove out to Colorado for the last 4 nights of my favorite band. Oh how the week flew by! The last night with SCI Spiral and Shakti Sunfire hooped on stage with the boys!!! I was freaking out! It was a true epic moment to watch two of my strongest inspirations sharing the stage with my favorite band ever. (I hope to one day do that too) ;)
So Summer Tour was over...and homeward bound I was...back to Virginia, back to finish college. I had one more semester and I was moving to Portland! It was a long and hard one. Being across the country from my soul mate, but I had my hoops, my hoop soul sisters and my kitty to get me through it. Thanks goodness. Marilee, Natalie and Leslie you 3 really helped me manage thru it! November 2007 I drove to one of Spirals' workshops! It was my first interaction with her in this setting. IT was truly inspirational. What a blessing it was!
I also got a message from Shakti Sunfire asking how I felt about joining KAIVALYA HOOP DANCERS?!! I was so honored and giddy at the thought! Was this all really happening? This gave me the UMPH I needed and I chugged through the rest of my semester! Packed up as much as I could and Charlie kitty and I flew to Portland on Dec. 28th 2007. I brought in the New Year in a New City, my New Home.
The rainy season was good for me, I obsessively practiced REVERSING currents with my hoop. I was determined to be able to barrel rolls in both directions!
Feb 2008, EOTO came through town I fortunate enough to hoop with them in Eugene and Portland!
I was not yet comfortable doing reversals on stage yet, but so so close!
March 2008 I took my first Hoop Path workshops and had my mind blown! Truly an amazing weekend. It was a real honor to hoop with you Christabel, Ann, Baxter and everyone else!! Those new concepts really transformed me as a hooper and opened new creative outlets to try...
It came in perfect timing because early 2008 I was suffering from extreme back pain. It was hard to prepare meals or do anything on my feet for longer than 20 min. Which included hooping. I was barely making enough money to afford a chiropractor and I knew something had to change. I was 23 yrs old and in extreme extreme pain. I was nervous of the summer ahead....how was I going to hoop all weekend at festivals anymore?! I barely remember how to dance! I need my hoop! ;)
I found myself doing much more breaks, pauses, reverses, tosses, new creative processes!! All new outlets of dance that weren't so hard on my back...
Before I knew it, it was May 2008 and festival season had begun! We made it down to Bobolink Music Festival in Beldon, CA where I was one of the few hoopers and had a real blast introducing the form of dance to new folks. Around this time I really felt a disconnect between my 2 psihoops and myself. They were TOO BIG. I found they were sitting against my wall longer than usual, not even want to perform with them...I conjured up the nerve to SELL THEM and part ways with them... I then ordered my pair of TWINS that are now my heart and soul. I got them JUST in time for High Sierra Music Festival where I was able to hoop with EOTO on July 4th! It was so much fun! Even though, I over-hooped myself. I was so sore I could barely walk/hoop/dance the rest of the weekend! ouch!
The next adventure was at EmergNsee Music Gathering in Salem, OR. BEST FESTIVAL I've ever been to!! BY FAR! Thats a whole nother blog in itself(which is on myspace)
I was able to host a HoopYoga/Hoop workshop Friday afternoon and it was a real honor! Meghan the Kat one of my HEROS and first inspirations from Cheese tour attended and I was able to teach her things! Its so beautiful how we all learn from each other, one hooper heart to the next...
Also it was another weekend of non-stop hooping with my rather new psi hoop twins! Matt and I had the chance to perform to Surrounded by Ninjas friday night main stage which was really fun for both of us to interact to live music with our glow toys.
This weekend I was truly blessed not to encounter much lower back pain, and I was able to hoop to my hearts content all weekend long, non-stop. mmMmm Just how I like it...
Now comes August 2008! First off WORLD HOOP DAY was a super fun event that Kristen and I really pushed for! Kristen put down the money for us to have a generator and real loud speakers! We got a sound permit and had the music BuMpiN' past 11pm! It was truly amazing and only the beginning of the World Hoop Day events we organize in the future! (Hopefully)
Aug 15-17th-Yarmony Grass Music Festival in Colorado! My first OFFICIAL performances with the whole troupe Kaivalya Hoop Dancers! Rindy my soul sister and I were able to perform on stage with RAILROAD EARTH during their song Head! WOW WOW WOW! One of my favorite live bands, what an honor!
Words can barely describe how powerful this moment was for me to share the stage with my soul sister. That wasn't all either!
WE then were able to perform on stage during Keller and the WMD's and surprised to have enough room for RINDY and MYSELF at the same time with EOTO!!! Which was OUR DREAM!
After Yarmony Grass we came back to Portland to recover from all the summers travels. A lot of our friends were heading out to Burning Man and I had such inner disappointment I was not going...another year I had wanted to go, but made the decision to go to HOOP CAMP RETREAT instead. (and um, I don't think it was a bad call :oP )
For my experiences at Hoop Camp Retreat...I don't think I could even begin to fathom putting them into a blog. I read all the blogs that were posted and they touched my heart so. It was such a special weekend for me in so many ways.
First off, It was UNREAL to meet all my online hooping buddies at once. (most of you) I couldn't stop referring to Beth-Lavinder5(her youtube name) in my head...most of all, I could not get over Sharna Rose. Truly amazing, truly humble, truly an alien. jk jk jk but really You are very special to me! Like a hoop mother goddess. Not only was I surrounded by my IDOLS (um is that really hoopalicious?!?!?) haha but::
Brittany, my best friend from Virginia, we grew up together, made the journey out, one of my best friends from college, Natalie came from CO AND my bestest soul sister soulmate RINDY made it out from Montana. I had never been together with these 4 goddesses and could barely handle myself throughout the weekend..
I was channeling true Unicorn energy this whole weekend, I was non-stop hooping, smiling, laughing, learning and no lower back pain what so ever! =) What I learned and felt at hoop camp will be with me forever. The smiles, the LED hoop jams at night, the food, the workshops, just everything!!!! djgalskdjgwioegksg!!!!!
On the eve of the Solstice, as I finish this blog...I want to share with you a more deeper story..
For this upcoming year... I plan on going inward, and really working on balance and patience-With myself, with my emotions, with my reactions, and with hoop practice. The hoop has taught me a lot of things about myself, its also given me strength and confidence that help me conquer what life throws at me. Its given me the opportunity to positively impact so many peoples lives by teaching classes, performing, and organizing community hoop events. I really believe that the hoop has help give me me a new, fun, positive direction in life.
Something else that really stuck with me from hoop camp:
was during the opening ceremony when we all spoke our prayer that we placed inside the prayer hoop... all of us have been changed by the hoop. its impacted our lives, brought us together, shown us ourselves, given us bliss, given us confidence, and given us the ability to HOOP and FEEL SEXY!
We really are part of the conscious revolution! We are the change we want to see. Keep on hooping, keep on sharing the art selflessly, keep on being amazing. I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for this amazing community we have, so I THANK YOU for being YOU. and keep posting hoop videos! =) xoxoox