Wednesday, May 5, 2010

.: Reflections on my trip to FL :.

Ahhh, my dear sweet hoopers!! My 25th birthday trip to Florida was as amazing as I could have ever imagined! I wanted to post a blog reflecting on my adventures at the Sarasota Film Festival for The Hooping Life movie premier!

The first big event was the Wednesday April 14th Hoop Jam and first screening of the movie The Hooping Life! Being a part of The Hooping Life street team with the lovely Hoola Monsters was hard work! ;) We were setting up the vending tent, getting the music squared away and providing all the hoops need for an amazing jam! We had so much fun! Hooping our hearts out and spreading the magic of hula hooping! There were many hoopers outside of the theater getting excited for the film!

I'll never forget the energy inside the movie theater! Or all the hoops piled up against the wall. :) Everyone was antsy and full of excitement! This was it! After watching the movie trailer for YEARS, here we all are, about to view the documentary that shows us the personal stories of our hoop heros!

When the movie began, the crowd went up in a cheer!! So much support for the film was expressed. The entire documentary is incredible, I'm not the best at movie reviews, so I'll leave that to the critics. But the stories of the hoopers are inspirational and I am honored to have seen it at the World Premier.
I was sitting near Baxter and I couldn't help but to look over and watch him as he watched himself in the movie for the first time. Part of me wanted to tear up, I was so proud of him for being so open, not holding back from how he really felt through the process of his healing. And how the hoop really did save his life. You are one special guy Jonathon Livingston Baxter!

After the movie, The Hoola Monsters and I hurried to the Sarasota Yacht Club to get ready for our performance at the Sarasota Film Festival after party! Oh boy! We were excited! I felt truly honored and full of gratitude to be a part of this event! The Hoola Monsters started their performance with this awesome choreographed routine that wowed everyone!

After their routine, we had a large group freestyle jam and then solo performances, it was so fun to watch each one of the Hoola Monsters rock out in their own style. I love you guys! <3>

The people at the Yacht club had no idea what hit them! They were blown away, and that reminded us that there are still plenty of people who need to be exposed to the magic of hoop dance! We were honored to have been the ones to do it at this event. :)

The next day was my 25th BIRTHDAY!!!! We woke up, sore from the night before but ready for VIP brunch with the directors of the film, Amy Goldstein and Anouchka Van Riel, Philo Hagen of, two Hoop Stars from the movie, Anah Reichenbach aka Hoopalicious and Karis Wilde, & the Hoola Monsters + Bonnie Brown. What an AMAZING birthday brunch!!!

Once we had finished our yummy food, it was time to head to Payne Park to get ready for Anah's workshop! I felt so honored to be able to attend her workshop ON MY BIRTHDAY! WOW, what a great day this was! Not only did everyone have fun in the workshop, but I got 5 or 6 new moves out of it!!! Including the one shoulder DUCK OUT move which I had been fearful of doing my whole hoop career due to a neck injury in the past. I felt empowered and grateful.

Directly after the hoop workshop, it was time for The Hooping Life movie screening! We stopped off at Whole Foods to fuel up on organic yumminess AND score some Yerba Mate which I had been craving all week!!!:) There were MORE HOOPERS THAN EVER at the Thursday evening Hoop Jam prior to the screening. As we pulled up, there is Baxter, Anah and Karis just hooping it up with everyone!! AHHH!!! Hooper excitement!! Seeing the movie for the second time, was just as incredible! The theater was sold out, the energy was HIGH and everyone loved the movie! What a great birthday!!

Friday was a little more slow paced, thank goodness! Abby from the Hoola Monsters was hosting a beginner workshop, where people inspired from the film could come and learn Hoop Dance! It turned out to be a very intimate class, with a few students and they got the best attention and mastered so much! Abby had invited Anah and Baxter to come critique her as an instructor, so there we were, participating in her class and enjoying the beautiful Florida sun! I was tripping out honestly. Here I am with my two hoop heros, hanging out, in a beautiful park...ahh it was so surreal. I am so grateful for this day!!

Friday evening I teamed up with Casandra Tanenbaum to host the hoop jam before the New College movie screening! We brought Abby's Block Rocker and of course, a ton of hoops :) This was an outdoor screening so several people were hooping during the movie. The college students seemed to enjoy it and we had fun hooping it up until late in the evening :)

Saturday April 17th was the day of my Hoop Workshop! I was so excited and honored to be bringing my teaching techniques and energy to the lovely FL hoopers! We had a lot of fun, incorporating plane transitions, trick combos, Hoop Yoga and creative conceptual exercises! I am grateful to ALL OF YOU who attended! Pictured below are some of the ladies getting "swooshy" with it. ;)

Here is a photo of the awesome group of hoopers that attended with a few students missing!

After the workshop, the lovely Shellie White took us to this magical faery tree. The hoopers climbed the tree and found themselves feeling like hoop faeries! :) We spent quite a bit of time here, amongst the pink fluffy awesomeness of this magical tree! What a great way to end the trip!

On the flight home I wrote the gushiest journal entry ever. I was reflecting on what was happening back at home in Portland, the lessons learned in FL and how it all made sense...

"I feel so honored to be given the opportunities I've had and the ones coming to me in the future. I AM A LIGHT WORKER. I AM A BLESSED BEING! I cherish those in my life, I acknowledge the light workers I am blessed to be surrounded by. I have a lot of work and rewiring to do. I wish to not act with immaturity. I wish to be fully present in my HEART not in my mind when speaking to others. communicating effectively is my ultimate desire. I do not wish to upset any of those around me, I hope to carry this sense of bliss on going and forever. "


  1. I love this. Thank you for your insight and inspiration. You were my first hoop teacher and are forever continuing to teach me about life, love and happiness. Thank you.
    -one of your greatest fans

  2. It was as surreal for us as it was for you, I hope you realize that YOU are among those "hoop hero's" that you speak of, I had the same feeling hooping in the park with YOU as you did with Bax & Anah. Your vibrant personality combined with your gentle apirit to create a FUN, comfortable learning environment and I had an absolute BLAST! Before the events of that week, I had only stalked you online :o) & meeting you in person was a real treat. You are an absolute doll! Much hoop <3 to you!

    Michelle Whitley

  3. Wow thanks for sharing and giving a glimpse of what went down to all of us who didn't make it there... Love all those cool photos!

  4. this was great to read! How exciting. By the way that last shot of you in the tree with the girls is so great!!