It's February! Which means spring is closer and more importantly, outdoor hooping is almost upon us in wintery places like Toronto. Can't wait!
I'm excited to announce the newest Hooper of the Month but would like to note that I am looking everywhere for the next candidate. It could be a student of mine, it could be someone on social media, it could be anyone out there being a total bad ass with a hoop
I've been watching Instagram a lot lately and recently someone came into my feed with pure energy and mad skill. I immediately fell in love with her buttery shoulder hooping, her athletic abilities, and her fabulous tech skills. I love that this girl likes to take risks because that is how many happy accidents happen.
Without further ado, I give you February's Hooper of the Month:
Here are Rae's lovingly written responses to HooperSonic's Interview Questionnaire!
What is your name?
My name is Rae, I go by rraebanzzzz on instagram. I thought it was a clever name, but it took two r's and 4 z's to get an available name, so I'm not nearly as clever as I think I am.
How long have you been hooping and how did you get into it?
I have been hooping for about 2 1/2 years. I wish I had some awesome, inspirational story on how I got into it, but it was honestly on a whim. I don't remember whose video I saw, I think it was the Rachel Lust Groove video, and I decided I wanted to do that too. The rest is history!
Where do you live and what is the hoop scene like there?
I live in Joliet, IL, and the scene here is incredible! I've made so many friends, all of them uniquely talented. We actually just started a flow arts troupe in my area, we're called Conscious Circus Performers!
Who is your hoop crush?
Do they have any social media channels so we can crush too?
I have quite the list of hoop crushes, but I'd say my top 3 are @slinks_ is where I draw most of my dance inspiration from, @techswan is where I catch all the new innovative tricks made to look incredibly easy, @hoopdweamz is my coin flip king! (all on ig)
What else inspires your hoop dance flow?
My flow is almost completely dependent on my mood. My mood generally determines what kind of movement I want to focus on in a practice session, and then I choose music based on that. Its usually slow flow though.
What move or technique was the most challenging to learn? Do you remember how you felt after you finally unlocked it?
The coin flip chest roll! It's a pretty difficult trick because there's lots of things to consider when doing it (hoop size, weight, body positioning, and more). I settled into a practice pattern that involved tons of drilling. Just back to back coin flips for sometimes hours. I've clocked hours of practice time, and hundreds of coin flip chest rolls since I started working on them around may 2016. I only just recently decided I have it down pretty good, and I've started to teach my friends! It's always a crowd pleaser and has actually become one of my defining characteristics as a hooper.
What do you do to get yourself out of a hoop dance “rut”?
I've found that "The Rut" is just a step in the journey. First, there's the learning aspect where you find tricks you like or want to try. Next is mastery, perfecting execution of newly acquired tricks. Then there's personalization, which is the step I think everyone most enjoys. You've achieved the goal of learning new tricks, you've achieved the goal of making the trick your own and incorporated it into your flow in a way that you like. This is basically peak happiness with your flow. The more satisfied with your previous achievements you are, the more difficult it will be to deal with the final and most frustrating step, the rut. I typically like to refer to this as stagnancy or plateauing, rut carries the connotation that you've regressed in your journey, which is not true. You've just arrived at a point where the shiny, newness of your trick haul has worn off. You might not get the same satisfaction from doing tricks that were once difficult to you. You begin to feel repetitive.This is where most hoopers begin to get down on themselves, doubting their abilities, all that negativity we all secretly harbour begins to take hold. In my 2 1/2 years of hooping, I have gone through this exact process dozens of times. Took a while to recognize the pattern, but once I figured it out, I spend less and less time in the stagnant stage. I know that it's just time to find something new I want to learn or try. Wash, rinse, repeat.
The easiest way out of a hoop rut is through skill sharing. When that stagnant feeling inevitably hits, I hit up my hoop fairy god mother, Katelyn (@dizzy.sunfairy on IG). When I first met her, we learned very quickly that we do a lot of the same tricks, but completely different execution. Things as simple as where we grab our hoop when doing a vortex. Sharing with and learning from your peers helps provide a new perspective on what you thought you already knew, and it opens up new avenues for experimentation. Every time I flow with her (or anyone), I come away with something new to try. Then I mix it in with what I know and make it my own. Bam, hoop rut defeated.
What do you love most about the hoop community as a whole?
My favorite part of the hoop community is the inclusiveness. People learn from each other, encourage each other, we celebrate and share in each others successes, we support each other through our troubles, hoop related or otherwise. I've been in and out of a lot of circles (hehe), and it's the only community where I feel that anyone and everyone is welcome.
Do you consider yourself more of a “body rocker” or an “off body wizard”?
BODY ROCKER 4EVA! I looooove on body flow. I think that is also a defining characteristic in my flow identity. I just find it easier to express myself from inside my circle. A lot of times off body concepts confuse and frustrate me.
What is your hoop of choice?
30" OD 5/8" polypro! I tend to flow at a slower pace than most hoopers, so 30" diameter is big enough to move a bit more slowly without being cumbersome. 5/8" polypro tubing is light and bouncy enough for coin flips, and doesn't make me tired after 5 minutes of flow.
How has hooping changed your life?
Hooping has changed my life in so many different ways that I neither intended, nor anticipated. I've learned to have patience with myself. I've learned that hard work pays, literally and figuratively. I feel like I've found myself in hooping, and that I'm growing inside my hoop in ways that are bleeding into my every day life. I'm talking to and connecting with people from all over the world. I'm making friends. I'm putting my thoughts into action, I'm putting myself and my ideas and my passions out for all to see. Hooping has helped me begin to show people who I really am in a way that I can't accurately express with words. It's so strange to think of what my life was before hooping. I think I picked it up at the perfect time in my life, a time where I needed something positive to accomplish to remind me that there are things to look forward to and work toward in life.
What would you say to a hooping skeptic to try and convince them to start hooping?
To any skeptics, or anyone on the fence about hooping: DO IT. There is literally no reason not to. Hula hoops are too girly? Nope, my top 3 favorite hoopers are males. And you get to create your own style, so you don't have to do any tricks you deem "too girly". Hula hoops are for kids? Yeah, sure. But also, your age does not dictate your capacity to enjoy things. If you happen to have children, now you and your kids can bond and grow together. You can do it for funsies, you can do it for monies, you can hoop alone, you can hoop in a group, and depending on what the avenue you choose to take in your flow, you can pretty much hoop anywhere. There are nothing but gains to be made from hooping, from elevated self worth, and self esteem, and general life positivity. No one told me how it would affect my life, but I'm telling you that you won't regret the decision. Worst comes to worst, you just stop hooping. No harm done. But once you post that very first hoop video that you're super proud of, you'll be addicted!
Thank you so much to Rae for taking the time to answer my questions. Congrats to you! :)
If you want to follow Rae's magic, you can follow her on Instagram: