Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hoop Fest New England: Story Book

At Hoop Fest New England the adventure was your own to create. 

pictured: Bad ass. Maria Randolph.
Picture by Kim Nicoll
Maria's strong aesthetic eye (and talented husband) created a luminous wonderland in which to play, and her organizational skill ensured plenty of options of what to do - but most impressively, she created an atmosphere of total acceptance. Whether the goal was to attend every event, meet the community, network, and perform for a crowd, or - as was mine - to take a more distanced and unstructured approach to the event - it was warmly welcomed. Everyone was doing their own thing, together. 

A little hideaway of 60 or so hoopers, we all floated from our makeshift homes to workshops, events, the nearby beach or back into town as we saw fit. An unexpected consequence of my recent attendance at Hoop Path and general whirlwind hoop year was that I had already taken several of the workshops offered (see descriptions of Hoop Path here and Malcolm's workshop here.) However, I had never been to Maine, and rarely get to see my sister - so  instead of feeling awkward about not joining in all the time, I simply felt free to observe, snapping shots with the camera and then heading away from the crowd to hoop and frolic as desired.

There was something at being at the first Hoop Fest NE that gave everyone the attitude of 'let's make this great,' and extreme gratitude was an ever present attitude. Gratitude that there are others out there sharing this passion, attending these events, being inspired by the hoop - and gratitude that we were given a place to explore and expound on that singular passion. More than once I stood and looked at all these strangely dressed, laughing, happy people with hoops swinging and thought, "is this real?" Can this be real? And then I couldn't help but smile and laugh at the undeniable reality of it all.

The workshops were laid back and informative. Nothing was set up to be intense - it was more like a hoop buddy was coming over to show you something cool. Sennyo gave excellent tips on how to isolate the hoop, and Bex brought charisma and charm to a Pilates and ballet inspired lesson. Caroleena is a natural teacher and inspired everyone to add a bit of flamenco flair into their hoop dance with points, gazes and the creation of circles and lines with the body and the hoop. I took away something from every teacher, even if I knew the style didn't resonate with my own.

There was a clear message throughout:  'Do what you want. Experience what you will. Have fun and you belong.'

Hoop Fest was the world as it should be. It was a lovely experience that I look forward to growing and eventually being able to offer more events and classes for hoopers hungry for knowledge. Something dreadful happened on the way up to the event - my beloved poly pro split while sitting away from me on the train. I am unembarrassed to admit that I had to hold back tears when I saw what had happened, but - Hoop Fest was such a fun, free spirited and enchanting time that I found myself forgetting all about the accident once I became immersed in the event. That was the power of Hoop Fest - it was a time to stop sweating the small stuff. Unfurl the eyebrows. Smile and feel completely free. 

Hats off to everyone for creating the feeling for which we all yearn and allowing us to take some of it back with us. 


Maria said...

Kym: You flatter me, girl! That organization was due to the fact I had a ton of help and gallons of support, yourself included!

What a beautiful portrait you paint of HoopFest. The vibe you describe was absolutely what we wanted to accomplish. Acceptance. Relaxation. Learning. Joy. I have no doubt this will go forward in the years to come.

THANK YOU (and your sister!) for being a part of making that happen!

KymSpins said...

Of course Maria! Oh, it was such a pleasure - you and everyone involved were simply wonderful. Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you <3

claudiahays said...

sounds like an amazing time - I love how lush and beautiful everything looks in your pictures. feels like you really captured the vibe of the weekend with your words and photos. lovely.