December's Hooper of the Month
Here is it. The VERY LAST Hooper of the Month post for 2018! I have honestly looked forward to these every month. Some people were truly honoured, but I would say the honour has been ALL MINE....err... ours, I guess. We have been granted the fortune of a peek into the lives of fabulous hoopers who have agreed to share their stories. Some hoopers shared some personal and amazing things.... But really it just gave me the chance to be the nosey person that I truly am. ;)
Will HHOTM continue in 2019? .... Absolutely!
I am SO not done showcasing hoopers that I love!
Although, there will be 2 differences with the Hooper of the Month entries for next year:
1) NEW QUESTIONS! - I'll be replacing a few of the current questions with some new ones! If you have any suggestions, I am alllll ears. :)
2) EXPLORE THE WORLD! - Each month will now feature a hooper from a different country. I am excited to challenge myself to explore the world a little further, because 2018 featured strictly Canadian and US hoopers. Wellllll.... kiiiiiind of.....
And I say "kind of" because this LAST Hooper of the Month for 2018 is technically located in the USA, but originally comes from overseas.
I must admit, if I was asking this person prior to July of this year, I might have had a few butterflies when asking for the opportunity to interview them... I've admired them online for years, but this past summer, I had the opportunity to train with them in beautiful British Columbia, Canada! It was at Flow in the Forest where I met them. (The Hoop Fairy's amazing hoop retreat, which will hopefully be back in 2020 because she is having a BABY Hoop Fairy! Congrats, by the way! <3 )
Any way, I met this person in BC and was blown away by their stage presence, teaching ability, humour, overall personality, and of course, their mad-crazy, impressive HOOPING skills!! Honestly, the total package! I learned so many valuable skills from taking workshops with this individual. Brand new skills that I now use quite frequently!
The reason I wasn't fearful or nervous to ask them to participate, was because after meeting them in the summer, I realized, this person is super down to earth and mega cool..... They will probably do the interview! .... Or would they?? .....
Regardless, I was still a tad starstruck when I received an email containing the answers to my questions and the sender read:
Here is his interview:
What is your name?
My name is Bags. It's my real name, in that I gave it to myself and ask everyone to call me it. That seems to be about as real as these things get :)
How long have you been hooping and tell the story of how you got into it?
I've been hooping since 2010. I was performing and teaching juggling with a wonderful charity called Spark Circus in Thailand. I met a lady there called Choi who was getting much more attention hooping then I was getting juggling. I was jealous so I decided to take up hooping. I quickly discovered that I found hooping far more enjoyable then juggling and have been obsessed with it ever since.
Where do you live and what is the hoop scene like there?
I live in San Diego. We have a pretty good hoop scene here. There's a hoop troupe called the Hoop Unit that is a lot of fun and we sometimes train and work on shows together (although we're not working on anything right now.)
Who is your hoop crush? Do they have any social media channels so we can crush too?
My wife Valentina Orbit! Her insta is @mzorbit. Other than that I generally try and watch all sorts of different hoopers on the internet. I don't watch much single hooping, but I try and watch a fair bit of multi-hooping, hoop juggling and native hoop dance.
What else inspires your hoop dance flow?
I guess other props mainly. I work with a fair few other props and I like watching videos of different props and seeing how moves and concepts can be adapted to hoop. Spin all the things – but mostly hoop.
What move or technique was the most challenging to learn? Do you remember how you felt after you finally unlocked it?
Dancing with one hoop. Still working on it :)
What do you do to get yourself out of a hoop dance “rut”?
I wouldn't generally say I get in ruts. I do many different styles of hooping so if I become less interested in one aspect I generally just focus on another. At the moment, for example, I'm very excited by twisty juggling patterns with fire hoops. But last month I was very into two hoop throws, and the month before that I was just focusing on technical juggling with small hoops. Sometimes I have to work on performances with other props so hoop will take a backseat. Occasionally I won't be particularly enthused to practice much so I'll let that happen. I generally just try to go with my interests and not be too hard on myself if I'm not living up to my own expectations.
What do you love most about the hoop community as a whole?
I really enjoy traveling to other parts of the US or the world to teach hoop workshops with my wife, Valentina. You get to see all the different hoop communities and see the people from so many different walks of life that are all brought together by little plastic circles.
Do you consider yourself more of a “body rocker” or an “off body wizard”?
I guess mostly off body although I certainly always incorporate moves that bring the hoop(s) on body because I think that's one of the things that makes the prop so unique.
What is your hoop of choice?
I've recently been playing a lot with 24" 11/16 untaped polypros.
How has hooping changed your life?
Well I met my wife through hooping and ended up emigrating to the US so I guess quite a lot. I often fall asleep thinking about hooping and wake up eager to get up and hoop.
What would you say to a hooping skeptic to try and convince them to start hooping?
It took me a fair while to come around to the idea of hooping. I generally think it's best to let people make their own minds up, so I'm not sure I would try hard to convince a skeptic. I usually just gently encourage people to try it in one or more of its many forms: waist hooping, native shapes, two hoop juggling or easy off-body doubles. If they like it then I try to provide them with enough info to pursue it further.
Anything else you want to say about hooping?