Hooper of the Month - June 2019
I like June.... Outdoor flow arts jams have begun in my hometown of Toronto and flow festivals (for me) are only weeks away! I personally can’t wait to get outside more often to spend time inside of my hoop and alongside my flowmies!
Speaking of flowmies, the newest Hooper of the Month already feels like one to me. He is so kind and fun and free speaking! I have been following his journey online for a couple of years, at least. What I love most about his Instagram account is seeing how much he has progressed! You will notice that people who practice almost every day with passion, like June’s HOTM, are the ones who progress the most and fastest. His flippy, fancy, and fun moves make me smile and so does his charming personality. I love to see his acro style hooping progress to levels I can’t even imagine. He is hardworking, passionate, and colourful. Definitely one to watch…. Congrats and thank you so much to Mexico's own….
Here is the interview:
What is your name?
My Real name is Rafael Sanchez and my online name is Fay McCool
Where do you live and what is the flow/hoop dance community like there?
I am Currently living at Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo state in Mexico. Here there is a vast flow community national and international from juggling to contortionists. This is because of the large amount of resorts and hotels that offers shows and spectacles at night.
How long have you been hooping for and how did your journey begin?
8 years is the time I have been hooping for. My Hoop journey started in my hometown Tlachichcua Puebla, when a young girl from the USA moved to town. She spoke English and we became friends while in high school. One day I asked her to introduce me to the English language. She said “see you at 5 pm at Sombrerito park”. I said “Done!”. When she appeared, she had a Hula Hoop! Something I’d never seen before and it made me feel interested to know what was it. She started showing me her tricks! I clearly remembered her showing me the “pizza toss”, “dog back walk” and “regular isolation”. I was amazed. So, I went to the tube store to create my own version! You know that black tubing? It is not thin or light! Ha ha ha! Then, I went back to my friend and said, “Hey look, I have mine now! Could you please teach me?” She accepted and I got caught up in it. Years later, our paths separated. She stopped hooping but that was not my destiny…
Generally, why do you hoop and what benefits have you noticed since you began?
I originally got deeper and more serious into hooping was after a heartbreak. Oh man… my college first love was what happened! After that, I was sad, unmotivated and disappointed, but somehow one day I decided to pick up that red-taped, heavy, hula hoop that I put on the wall. I felt by myself and maybe broken, but I felt the infinite energy of the circle over me while I moved my muscles and my bones while at the same time using my brain to command and create coordination! It felt like magic that I cannot describe! It was fantastic to see my progress over the hoop, over my body control, and my mental balance. I started to hoop after school or at any moment my brain tried to bring thoughts of my bad love experience. At the beginning I forced myself not to worry…. To flow… To feel… To command… To create…. And to embrace and enjoy my feelings…. to dance with them…. And to turn them into art to offer to the world. I did not stop until I was sweating and felt my energy was high! Like the light of God coming from the cloudy sky to me! Ha ha! It was like I had intense sex when I did not! Hooping helps me to have a more positive attitude and mood, confidence about myself and my body, when I did not feel like that before. Now it is easy for me to release my bad thoughts and feelings by creating or expressing something, not with words, but with my whole body! You can be the art!
Have you and your hoop travelled to other countries/cities together? What were some of your favourite flow communities to visit? Which places are you (and your hoop) eager to visit in the future?
Thanks to the Hoop community and universe itself, YES I have! I have visited so many cities and friends. In Mexico, it is popular to do juggling or flow arts, dance, sing, etc. in the streets. So after training indoors for 2 years, mostly as a hobby, I went downtown to buy some things when I saw a group of flow artists performing near a traffic light. Without fear, I started a conversation with them. They invited me to visit them and they encouraged me to see how it feels to perform here. I came back next day and I earned some money and we became friends. They talked about road trips and backpack trips across Mexico and how they “made it” by working at the traffic lights in big cities. I was intrigued. It was like an arrow directed to my heart! Ha ha ha! I wanted to live it! I wanted to travel and experience it myself! So I saved a good amount of money for a return bus ticket, in case I needed to come back home. I started off with my back pack and 4 HDPE hoops. My first trip, I visited, Veracruz, San Luis Potosi, Monterrey, Sinaloa, Guadalajara, Mexicali, Sonora, Nayarit, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Morelos, CDMX, Toluca, and Puebla! While I was traveling, I recorded my journey by making some hooping videos in the natural places I was visiting. After this, the organizer of the Alpine Hoop Retreat in the Austrian Alps contacted me to offer me an opportunity to teach in Europe at her event, all paid for! I cried and rolled on the ground like a kid! Ha ha ha. She told me to contact other organizers of events in Europe to see if I can bring your hooping to other places while there. So, I did and organizers of other events like Sunny Hoop Fest on Samos Island and River Hoop (Slovenian Hoop Convention) in Mokronog, Slovenia invited me and paid me to teach in their events. I was so thankful! Then I contacted more hoopers in other countries to try to organize workshops and had the opportunity to visit even more new places. This is how I made it to Zurich, London, Bristol, Amsterdam, Berlin, Athens, Paris, Sardinia, Rome, Venice Milan, Croatia, Israel, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv. More recently, I was hired by a summer camp in New jersey as a Hoop and yoga instructor. I have also visited NYC, San Francisco, Los Angeles, The Red Woods forest, and San Diego.
All of the Hoop communities are lovely and capable, but some of my favourites were the hoop communities in Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, London, Bristol and Israel. Wow…
What inspires your hoop dance flow?
I turn any feeling or opportunity into a reason to hoop dance! When I feel happy, disappointed, anxious, nervous, after sex, after cannabis, or just to be outdoors and see the blue sky. Anytime is good for hooping. Also I adore watching myself hooping… Like wow…I am so sexy! Or Wow that move looked cool! Ha Ha!! Another big inspiration to keep going, is that I am organizing a Hoop retreat in Mexico Oaxaca, from 1st to 7th November 2019 called Dia de Muertos Mexico Hoop Retreat. I want the hoop community to also experience the pleasure of the Dia de Muertos festivities, have excursions to ruins and other natural places. But also, to give hoopers the experience of resting at a nudist beach (Zipolite) and releasing turtles to the sea and having shamans with us making rituals! That is my motivation nowadays.
What hoop move/technique are you working on at the moment?
Four Hoops is what I am working on nowadays. I have been more into single hooping but I put aside multi hooping. I am also working on a 5 hoop split. I cried several times doing the 5 hoop split. I got frustrated and shouted because I was tired, hungry, and I sometimes ignore the advice: Practice makes the master, it doesn’t happen over one night. So be kind to yourself, be constant, and give yourself time. And about the 4 hoops…. my hands were in a lot of pain next day because of the weight and because I did not warm up properly. So be wise and take in consideration these tips if you want to step up your multi-hooping skills.
What’s your “go-to” hoop technique/method/trick/style at the moment?
On body! I mean on my hips, then to my shoulders. Also, hand hooping, wedgies, isolations, throws and cartwheels.
Who are some of your favourite hoopers/flow artists to follow online and what do you love about them?
Wow.... Sky Flow Artist, Dances With Circles, Tiana Zoumer, Deanne Love, Lisa Lottie, Kenya Flowrescente, Steve Bags, Jaimie Hayes, Geoffrey Szuszkiewicz, Jasmine Kienne, Albino Plant, Alicia Salguero, Kath Hodgson, Tal Franksy, Pablo Garcia.
I love their original styles, their perseverance, the way they work on their art. how human they are, their discipline and their love for what they do. They make me appreciate mine and I feel that I identify with them as well. They encourage me to dream!
Do you have a favourite hoop maker? What hoop do you use and love?
What advice or wisdom would you share with someone who is struggling with their practice or feeling in a “rut” at the moment?
I honestly sometimes feel “nahhh” or down or too busy to pick up my hoops but when I had the chance to come back to them wow me body misses it and recognizes it immediately, my brain feels it and enjoy I cant stop until I got sweat, and more new combos and moves come out from my mind so is ok to have a break or a moment of nothing and is okay and is fine and you will accept and move from there to another place is time to you to look for more new inspiration, learn to take action over you! awake live this life smile breathe want things feel to create to live and to start now!
life is or never babe! learn or deal with it!
Anything else you’d like to say?
You can check out my Instagram account: @fay_mccool
I create hooping content every day and tutorials of my moves that hoopers request though social media. If you follow me, I will follow you back…. but only flow artists he he he. I also like outside inspiration.
Thank you so so much to Fay for taking the time to answer these questions and for sharing your experiences with us. If you’d like to see more, check out:
Hoops and Hugs