It’s hard to believe that I’ve been hooping now for several years. Only as the earth has circled the sun most recently have I been attracted it, though. Until last summer, I played with hula hooping because for whatever reason it when hand-in-hand with tribal belly dancing and other flow arts that my friends and I are into. There was pretty much always a hoop within arm’s reach at practices, dance classes, rehearsals, and parties, so I played. Who wouldn’t?
When I was hired as a hoop/Go Go dancer via a talent agency for Hollywood Casino’s Boogie Nights dance club, I realized that I’d become pretty good at it. At least, I could dance very well, and learned how to use the hoop as a prop along with just a few actual hoop tricks. It worked; I had fun.
To make a long story (which is becoming a novel as we speak) short, I took a break from performing, and continued to hoop. I eventually asked a dear friend (Terri Burch – native Cincinnati flow dancers know her for her incredible hooping skillz and sweet nature) to make me one of her magical hoops, which she did. I fell in love with my hoop; the size and weight were perfect enough for me to nail the tricks that I’d been fighting with for months. As I continued to pick up new tricks (just for fun; not necessarily to perform with), I started to consider investing in a glow or fire hoop. These aren’t cheap though, and I wasn’t quite ready to invest $100+ for something that I was doing for shits and giggles, rather than earning an income.
But then came Kinetic Fire. Aaah, if you’ve ready my earlier posts (Coming Back to Reality (Or Am I?) | How Kinetic Fire Changed Me and 5 Reasons To Be Stoked About Kinetic Fire 2013) you’ll know that this is a special event/weekend/festival/haven. Fire hoops were for sale, and hanging on a rack just a few feet from where I was checking out some cute stripey shorts. I eyed the hoops, and it only took moments for me to realize that if I was going to invest in one, I might as well do it in person, where I can try it out, instead of buying one online and not knowing if it would work for me (size and whatnot). I did it. $140 later I was the proud owner of a virgin fire hoop.
And what better place to have what’s referred to as one’s virgin burn than at Kinetic, surrounded by dozens and dozens of other fire dancers, sharing their passion for fire arts. It was Saturday night, and I was waiting for my friends, Pokes and Dex, to arrive at the fire circle because they wanted to see me light it up for the first time. But after an hour so and with no hope of finding them (there’s not really any cell phone service, and it was dark), a friend I’d met the night before offered to wait in line with me to light up the hoop and go for it. I took him up on the offer; as I dipped each wick in the fuel, counting them to make sure I got them all once, I felt the actual countdown to lighting it on fire. As I dipped the last wick, I said, “This is actually happening, now.” Chills up my legs!
I’m so lucky that my dear friend Terri, who’d made the wonderful hoop for me earlier in the year, was there with me that night as well, and without my knowing, filmed my first burn with the fire hoop. Here’s the video of me getting to know my newest hoop, and falling in love with yet another fire/flow art:
It felt really good; I’m not gonna lie. I’ve lit it up every weekend since Kinetic Fire, and look forward to continuing this new relationship with hooping. Many thanks to Dex and Pokes for spending such an awesome weekend with me, to Terri for her inspiration and more, and also to Jonathan Baxter, whose workshop on blind flow I attended, and brought me to tears with joyful dancing as well as quite a bit of sweat under the Saturday afternoon sun. I love you all.
Peace, hoops, and fire,