Flow arts have always been a huge part of the festival scene. People practice all kinds of different flow arts from swinging poi around and those crazy LED hula hoops to gloving and orbiting. Despite the stigma that surrounds gloving, it is such an incredible form of self-expression and a true art. I had always loved watching glovers at festivals, but I never really understood how much joy they brought to people, and never thought about actually becoming a flow artist myself.
Hooping has taught me so much about myself, it has given me purpose, community and has inspired me in so many ways. I learned that my hoop is so much more than just a piece of (expensive) plastic, it is also my form of meditation and self-expression (and it hurts a lot when you hit yourself in the face).
My hoop journey began almost a year and a half ago at Sasquatch! Music Festival at the Gorge in Washington State. I remember sitting on the hill watching Outkast and being completely distracted by the woman in front of me with a crazy LED hula hoop. I loved watching her dance with it, she looked so comfortable and confident.
I decided right then and there that I was going to get my own hoop and become a hooper, hoping that one day I could be as comfortable with my hoop as she was. When I got home that Monday I ordered a nice beginner hoop off of Etsy.
I was so excited when I first got my hoop in the mail. I was going to be an incredible hooper, after all every hooper I had ever seen made it look effortless. So when I first picked up my hoop and spun it around my waist I was amazed at how freaking hard it was! It took me thousands of tries before I could even keep the hoop going on my waist. I realized that all the amazing tricks those hoopers had been doing were not going to come easy.
I spent an entire summer practicing relentlessly, hitting myself in the face thousands of times. I brought my hoop with me everywhere, it became an extension of myself and wherever I went, the hoop came with me. I followed hoopers on Instagram, watched YouTube tutorials and filmed myself hooping. It was about six months before I felt any confidence at all, and always hated people watching me hoop because I was nervous about messing up.
Although I didn’t feel like an incredible hooper, I absolutely loved hooping. I felt so happy with my hoop, it became a type of meditation for me. I could dance with my hoop all day long and ignore my problems, focusing only on my flow. I loved hooping to music because it really let me experience the music.
I felt what any hooper calls the “flow,” not thinking, just feeling, going where the music takes you. As I stopped thinking so hard about what tricks I was about to do or where I was going to go next and let the music guide me, I really started to improve.
It took an entire year to really feel confident about my flow. For my birthday, I received the Phoenix Smart Hoop and I fell in love. I started bringing this hoop to festivals and it was such an incredible experience. The responses I got from people were so incredibly encouraging, everyone would tell me how beautiful my hoop was and people would gather around me and watch.
But my favorite thing about hooping at festivals was the connections I made with other hoopers. It was so inspiring to watch others flow, learn from them and connect with them. I began talking to other hoopers on Instagram, meeting up with local hoop troupes, and posting my own videos to inspire others.
I became a part of a community because I loved hooping, and it allowed me to connect with others adding meaning to something I already love. I made some great friends who I still hoop with today.
I feel so incredibly confident with my hoop, knowing that I am the woman I saw at Sasquatch and hopefully inspiring others to take up hooping for themselves. I encourage everyone who tells me how cool hooping is to try it. I’ve taught several of my friends how to hoop, and watched so many of them become amazing hoopers.
My hoop is my happy place, it’s what I can turn to when I feel stressed, it’s my way of expressing myself. I have fallen in love with my piece of plastic, and couldn’t imagine my life if I hadn’t taken up hooping. I love flow arts of all kinds, and have even taken up Poi (which I found hurt a lot more when you hit yourself in the face). Hooping changed my life in so many ways, I encourage every raver to try flow arts at some point and maybe fall in love with flow. And lastly, let’s take a moment to admire the art of hooping and see the beautiful Hooptown Hotties in action!
Raver, Hooper, Coffee drinker.