May's Hooper of The Month
There are various reasons why I struggled with this month’s blog post… But here are the 2 main reasons:
Because I have been SO SO SICK…ughghghghghhh
Because this month features one of the most beautiful hoop dancers I have seen with my own two eyes…
PREPARE FOR SOME GUSHING!
May is my birthday month (YAY!) so I thought it would be appropriate to treat myself to an interview with my ultimate hoop crush. Not only we were lucky enough for her to agree to this, but she answered my questions in the same style as her hoop dance; With passion, beauty, and grace.
I have been watching this hoop dancer for a couple of years on Instagram and Facebook. She doesn’t put out a ton of hoop videos but the ones she does are absolutely stunning and I find myself going back to them often. I think I am so visually attracted to her style because of her unique style of movement. Like a true dancer, she seems to activate every part of her body… Not just the limb moving the hoop.
It appears to me that when she is fully immersed in her craft, the hoop seems to follow her as she leads them through a playfully stunning partner dance. So let’s read about this month’s Hooper of the Month:
Here is her interview:
What is your name?
Paige LaWall, though I've also used the name Papyrus as a performer. Papyrus was suggested to me by a good friend when I posted on Facebook asking my friends for performance name ideas. I just loved the kind of ancient whimsical sound of it in combination with it being a totally fun pun on my name, that's not super obvious at the same time.
How long have you been hooping and tell the story of how you got into it?
I've been into hooping since April 2010.. so.. eight years now since I started. I found hoop dancing randomly scrolling through YouTube one evening in this upbeat mood. I believe one of the first videos I saw was Rayna Cooper of Hoopnotica in her living room just being the sexiest, loveliest, care-free, talented thing I'd ever seen, so... I deep dove into video suggestions of hooping *for hours*. I was completely enamoured and felt this sense of confidence and a kind of natural ease at the idea that I could, and would, learn to do that. It was a kind of rare moment of total clarity and excitement for me. I found a massive 42" hoop online and ordered it immediately. I started teaching myself from YouTube videos, and I just got such a high from it... In those early days, I was fuelled on by inspiration from Shpongledhoops, Baxter, and Tiana Zoumer... and on the story goes.
Where do you live and what is the hoop scene like there?
I just moved to Portland! I haven't been super involved in the community here... I believe the flow/prop scene at large is particularly thriving here, though a bit compartmentalized, and there are a number of hoop specific jams going on regularly. I've been seeing some beautiful beings pop up on my feed that are spreading their hoop and people love through regular classes and events. I met and a few of them when Baxter just came through on his farewell tour.
Who is your hoop crush? Do they have any social media channels so we can crush too?
I don't exactly have a hoop crush as the moment, but I've been super inspired by those expressing movement with a sense of embodied self-love that comes through in such a full honest expression. Honestly, I'm inspired by hoopers at all levels exploring themselves in the hoop. So many are doing this while being open about their own journey and uplifting others to do the same through social media... Some of these Hooper's that have touched me recently with how fully they're living and sharing are Julia Hartsell (@juliahartsell), Brecken Rivara (@breckenrivara), Ann Humphreys (@annoflineandcircle), Johnathan Baxter (@hooppatherbaxter), Jennifer Dennehy (@jdennehy_dancer), Faeryn Rose (@faerynrose), Lee Jeffries (@photographlee), Sunny Daze (@faerynrose), Rachel Sullivan (@danceswithcircles), and so many others.
What else inspires your hoop dance flow?
Feeling happy and healthy... Meditating, writing... Knowing all is well and being in balance just makes me want to dance and flow and celebrate life. Beyond that super essential foundation... Good music and gatherings of beautiful people, live music, beautiful weather, seeing someone else losing themselves in the love of flow... Excellent ground surfaces with just the right amount of friction for spinning... Fresh air. Showing/teaching people about hooping gets me going too.
What move or technique was the most challenging to learn? Do you remember how you felt after you finally unlocked it?
When I was first starting out, I remember working on the vortex for a while... I was so enamoured with the amazing floating illusion of it, and so driven to learn it, but I felt like my body was made out of all the wrong angles and was so “klunky”! Which made it all the more rewarding when I smoothed out my approach and felt the buttery ease of the move emerging where it felt like the most chaotic awkward thing before. I love that feeling. It's like discovering magic. Ah... Physics is our friend <3
What do you do to get yourself out of a hoop dance “rut”?
This is such a good question. I've spent a lot of time in a long of hoop "rut" recently... my approach is generally to let it be. To give it space. If I trust that ah, I'm pulling away because a new relationship to my hoop is being birthed, it soothes me. I've found that my flow often transforms into a new expression of myself when I give it space... And when I return to it, there's this beautiful experience of being reunited... And also as new. I feel a stronger unconditional bond growing through this ebb and flow. What's important to me is enjoying, loving, and appreciating hooping beyond "shoulds".
What do you love most about the hoop community as a whole?
I love that the community is tied together by a common love of losing yourself in flow in ever more creative ways... And is so uplifting and supportive of healing insecurities that come up. I've seen over the years, that if there's some kind of judgement going on in comment threads and conversations, the community has a way of healing itself again and promoting celebration of all the paths people follow in their pursuit of flow happiness. It's beautiful to see people learning and practicing what it means to share their own brilliant experience while also recognizing the beauty of another's. "Yes, and..." all around.
Do you consider yourself more of a “body rocker” or an “off body wizard”?
I'd say both... Probably more off body in my flow now, though being connected to my on body hooping is super important to me. I choose my hoop size to stay in what I consider my optimum balance between both worlds to express what's most exciting me. Maybe there is another term... "Integrator".. I dunno.
What is your hoop of choice?
It's been a 31" or 32" 3/4" polypro for years. Though, I've been having fun playing with something both larger and smaller at times recently because they're
like different worlds of possibility!
How has hooping changed your life?
On a deeper level as I consider it, hooping has shown me that there is a creative magic inside of me that is available to me unconditionally. It has helped me to experience this truth in a very vivid and visceral way... one that I can share with others and express something of myself in the world. It's something that grows and changes with me and is rewardingly authentic.
What would you say to a hooping skeptic to try and convince them to start hooping?
I'd probably tell them how incredible it feels to experience your mind and body and even your emotional being in fully awake, alive and harmonized...
The thrill.. the peace.. the FUN when you embody the understanding of physics and you open wide... Surfing your ecstatic expression.
And I'd tell them that really, it's natural, and that your body and mind have a natural intelligence when you are engaged, present and curious, and it's thrilling to discover and shatter ideas of what you thought was possible. It's just fun, and why the heck not?!
If they fight it, then oh, well, now I'm too excited about hooping to care!
Anything else you want to say about hooping?
Just that I'm so grateful that people decided playing with hula hoops and following their excitement and visions was really something worth doing... May hooping be a gift and celebration of being alive that continues to spread well-being and a sense of wonder at creating with our bodies. Flowing intention in a dance with space-time...
Thank you so much for answering my questions. I highly recommend checking out all of Paige's hoop crushes on Insta!