Thursday, June 30, 2011

Face Paint

Now Lean Back, I Think I've Got It

Yeah, I Got It. 

Irina Akimova at Cirque Du Soleil

I had to repost this from FYH because she is just a bit too epic.  But uh, dudes, that singer? Has GOT to go. LISTEN to these song lyrics. Whaaaaat? So. So. So. Terrible. Horrible 7th grade poetry. But - hey, it ALL took more talent than I have so go everyone involved! 

Aerial: Head Rush

Time for Breathing: Optional

Well, it's already Thursday. 

Today involves trying to find a larger suitcase to transfer all of my Hoop Path belongings into in preparation for Hoop Fest.. I am a total newb when it comes to camping and I can already see it now: two little blonde twins dancing around in a frenzy trying to put up a tent for the first time as it blows away and we collapse into giggles over our own incompetence. Oh my. I can't wait for the adventures ahead. And all of the lovely photos that are sure to tell stories of the ups, downs and all arounds.

I didn't really consider things like, "how will I charge my phone" and "ohmygod no computer for four days" - but, I think that's like, uh, what camping is about right? Nature and stuff. 

How I wish I was a hearty veteran camper. Coonskin caps and flannel all over the place. 

After the beautiful, surreal experience that was Hoop Path V, I am thrilled to be able to prolong my time in wonderland for just a bit longer, coonskin cap or no. Four more days of hooping and learning in an oasis of hoop lovers/addicts sounds like a dream come true right now. 

So inspired by all that has happened so far. And the journey continues...

Bass Cabaret: Hoops and Lamé

The Magical Creations of 17

Some people just have it. 
Welp. I am impressed. And moved. 

The Guardian of this Land

Come on now, ya don't wanna be messing with crazy eyes up there. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Day 24/90, Time to Hoop

Hoop Path V: In Words

By far, the most popular post on this blog is "How Can I Follow My Passion if I Don't Know What it is?" That is likely partially due to the fact that is the first article listed under "popular" at the bottom of this page and it has a funny picture of Oprah next to it - but, I like to think it is also for another reason. It is a question not only I have wondered. 

This question ended up being my frame of reference this weekend at Hoop Path V. Friday afternoon, after orientation and discussion of the myth of hoop path  we stood up and began to sway. An established Hoop Path warm-up, 'sway' is where we move back and forth building and growing from the movement in whatever way we feel comfortable. The last time I had to do this activity was in '09 and I remember feeling so damn awkward the whole time. "Is this the right way to move?" "What is that person doing?" My body felt uncomfortably stiff - I could feel the tightness in my shoulder blades and the discomfort with possible eyes on me. But at HPV I just swayed. I listened to my body and not my mind. I was so isolated in my bubble of perception of the self that I simply did not notice nor care about anyone else in the room. 


Finally. My mind finally had let me be. 

This first four hours were the most grueling at Hoop Path and the class kept sitting down between the  4-5 minute songs, which surprised Bax a bit. Where he thought we were losing energy we were actually so intensely throwing ourselves into the dance that as soon as we could break we practically fell down.  It was a dark, loud sea of music and movement and I was finally able to be lost in it. No eyes mattered. The whole class could have been staring and I would have felt just as free. After this event, my hoop kindred spirit gave me the best compliment I could have ever hoped for, "When you hoop, Kym, you don't even notice what else is going on - you didn't even see anyone else in the room." 

I was able to go from zero to flow as soon as the music started. I was finally feeling confident.

Bax and Ann were the speakers of that first night, and where I credit Bax for helping me reach the state of mental calm that I did, Ann's lessons were the ones that have stuck with me. She explored 'wrapping' and 'tracing' with the hoop. The next time you are practicing with your hoop - try flailing your arms big and wide, throw them around your body, almost like you are giving yourself a hug while hooping, and you will being to experience wrapping. It is all about understanding where your body and hoop are in space at all times - and - it can make for some very innovative pinch breaks. 

Her lessons were hard both to understand and to attempt. But you know what. I did it. I was tired as hell, drenched in sweat, and dehydrated but I was not afraid. Did I do everything right? Hells. No. But I didn't even worry about failing for one minute and tried everything even though there was a room of people watching. Anxiety did not enter the room. Thank-you hoop. Thank-you - for, in allowing my mind to shut up while inside the hoop, you have allowed me to feel that way even when not inside. 

The next two workshops on Saturday and Sunday had Rich and Khan showing us some truly badass hoop techniques. Rich's precision with creating illusionary spheres always makes me search for the wires that must be assisting him. A super helpful activity was when partners worked together facing each other holding their hoops as a frame, while one moved in a straight line in one direction the other tried to make a perfect isolation in front of them despite the movement. Rich's moves all have a mathematical underpinning to them - which, though beautiful, is not for me. But again, whereas before I would be frustrated by my 'just not getting it' now I was free in my movement and not constrained by the directions. Nothing scary will happen if you break the rules. 

Day four was Khan's turn. Khan brought the shit. The best part? He was so humble and accessible the entire time - showing genuine surprise and humor when the class gasped in awe at one of his new moves. I certainly don't have the language to explain all he taught, and I also think it would be disrespectful to give away something that so many paid and travelled for - but he covered some wonderful moves like the behind the back weave, fish tails and variations on rolls on the arms. 

Out of everything we learned, I think my heart belongs to 'folding.' Folding is where you use all parts of the body as axes around which the hoop bends and twists in folds blending the line between on and off body hooping. It's fast paced and best performed without gripping the hoop. Instead the back of the hand, the wrist and the crooks of the body 'grab' the hoop. This was when I reached a new state of flow. I felt nothing but the movement, in a true state of 'mistakelessness.' And for the first time ever, I realized that those platitudes were not just words for me - I was finally (OH GOD FINALLY) one of those clear-minded, smiley-faced folks that was free to simply experience. 

And this brings me back to my original point. The entire weekend I was overcome with gratitude and joy about getting to fully explore and embrace my passion. "Wow," I thought, "there was a time when I didn't even know how to find my passion, let alone fully explore it." What changed? 

I gave myself time. 

I stopped trying to find "it" and started just living. Stage one - having no freaking clue what I wanted to do. Lots of Netflix and TV and internet futzting. But, this is an important stage! That is where I always freaked out - "Ohmigod I am boring and have no passion gahhhhh!!!" But, for the first time ever, after I quit my job (maybe that was stage one) I just allowed myself to 'be.' Because after the initial joy of not being trapped in something I hated, I naturally found myself looking at certain things, doing certain things and being more open. I was finding my passion. If you are sitting around in an empty room doing nothing, evenutally you will find a way to occupy time - and what you choose should send you a message. There is a reason behind that choice. Could it be passion? 

Hoop Path V was one of the most memorable and best weekends of my life.  In every workshop there is a 'mingle' wherein the entire group moves in a circle hooping together and trying to mirror each other with generous eye contact and connection. I strongly dislike mingles. 

At this stage in my hoop journey, hooping is about connecting to myself not to others - and that's just fine. And that was the real lesson. Whoever you are, whatever you love, where ever you are is okay. You are only responsible for yourself so let the rest go. After Hoop Path V, I realized that I am closer to being in a state of flow in life, and not just in the hoop.  It takes a lot of 'meh' to reach 'ta-da!' and acceptance of that was what I realized I had reached at Hoop Path, and how, I now understand, passion is found. 

Barbie Hooping

Or, at least that's what it looks like to me. Haha. 

Folding, Paddling & Breaking: A Reference for the Reflection

Here is a great example of some of the techniques that were learned over the weekend.
and... everything with which I am now obsessed.

Watercolor Fluff

Remember awhile back when I said I wanted a tutu? Yeah, that is definitely still true. 
I mean, look at that!I only wish I had more time before Hoop Fest New England to get my ducks in a row enough to think about new costumes and clothing. 

Alas that is not the case. 
In fact, I am not even bothering to unpack from Hoop Path. 
Laundry then back in the bag. And tutus probably aren't the most camping friendly attire

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Focused Moment

The Hazy Truth Beyond

our clasped together poly pro went everywhere with us. as it should be, yes?

photo by: twirlingflutterby 

Smile Break

Tracing Circles in the Air: Hoop Path Video Inspiration

I was first turned on to two point or vertical tracing a little bit ago when Ann uploaded this video. I watched it, and was impressed as usual - but quickly moved on to other things that I was trying to master at the time. Having her explain more about tracing in person made a world of difference. Now I find myself revisiting this video again and again for inspiration and ideas on how to explore and experience the feel of the hoop in space and understand it's interactions with the changeable axises of my body. 

Maybe I am biased, but I feel like there has been a shift in the hoop world recently. There is such an emphasis on tricks, tricks, tricks, tricks. Combos! FLASHY! WOO HOO! And really, who am I to judge?  Whatever resonates with someone is a personal experience, unchangeable by any other and relevant only to themselves. I have just always felt an affinity towards these deceptively simple looking (emphasis on deceptive - it's very difficult), graceful pieces that are about flow and dance without all the flashy spectacle. 

Inspiration from today. To keep the memory of all I learned alive

Teal and Leaves and Poly Pro

Video: Lighted Illusions @ HPV

This is a hoop. It's always a round circle spinning around the body. But - look at the illusions it plays on your eyes. Silently standing with twirlingflutterby and my hoop idol while we all watched this beautiful hoop play and dance was certainly one of the most memorable moments of an amazing weekend. 

Hoop Path V: In Pictures (It's a Start)

I have so many more that I love. I can't take credit for the large group shot - photo credit here. 

1) We start off with the lovely dangling decor of Claudia's  car - complete with mini hoop and snipped piece of poly pro. We must carry the love where ever we go, yes?  I was lucky enough to get my own mini hoop from Hoop Path this time around and am considering blatantly copying the idea. 

 2) The group shot is from the second day of workshops when the group, only showing half the over 100 hoopers in attendance, followed Baxter  through some core warm ups while blindfolded. "Going blind" is something that always gets an eyebrow raise when I talk about it with other folks, even other hoopers - but knowing that you aren't seen makes it possible to open up completely without worrying about that constant buzzing of perception. Cover your eyes and get lost in the sway. 
Where does your body want to go? 

3 - 4) It was all poly pro for us. Gone are the days of 'looks' replaced by the joy of feeling. 

5) Day one - in the dark. After the 4 hour workshop on Friday there was a 'mingle' in the dark - wherein the group starts walking in a circle while music blasts and we all try to interact with each other as much as possible while continuing the circle and the spinning. 

6 - 10) The ceremony at Beth's house. Fire dancing, the most cutting edge LED's and a hundred hoopers in the backyard of the most remote country hideaway of which someone could dream  made for a night that is insufficiently described as 'surreal.'

11 - 24) The hooper's ball. The final night was a time for breaking the structure of classes and workshops and getting dressed up, and lost in a sea of swirling colors on the the dance floor (and beyond.)


Further updates and reflections to come. I am sure more pictures will follow as well. There were cameras flashing all around while I was busy sweating and learning with my hoop. I only wish people were as fanatical about posting as myself.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Back from the Path

Home from Hoop Path. 

I am showing off my strangely placed bruises and hard earned calluses as I ramble on, incoherent and sleep deprived, about what was an unequivocally wonderful experience. Everything new that I learned I am practicing in my mind, as my body will no longer allow it. Nor, I am unfortunately remembering, will my home hoop space. Tomorrow brings photo sorting and internet scavenging during hours of reflection and caffeine.  Hopefully after which I will have produced an organized description of all that was learned, experienced and discovered. 

What a beautiful shenanigan-laden and rum-soaked adventure it was. I can't wait to share. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Greetings from North Carolina

Can't wait for the Hoop adventures today. Happy to be in North Carolina after a very long day of travel. Hoop tales to come...

Hooping for a Cause

West Coast Hooping

So, one day - I really want to recreate this picture