Christabel Zamor: Inside The Hoop

christabel One of the hoopiest events of the week at Burning Man 2006 came Thursday evening at sunset when many hoopers gathered together at the Deep End in celebration of Christabel Zamor (aka HoopGirl) and Kramer’s wedding that morning. The pair actually met 2 years ago at Burning Man. He was djing at sunrise at Sol System and she was drawn to the music like a moth to a flame. “I heard his phenomenal music from across the desert. I travelled there by foot and hooped for hours. Afterwards, we approached each other and haven’t been separated since.” Zamor, 33, lives in San Francisco where she’s a professional hoopdancer, performer, teacher and trainer. She’s originally from Bethesda, Maryland.
To watch her hoop you’d never know that it wasn’t something that didn’t just come naturally to her the first time. She explains, “The first hooper I ever saw was Rayna at a rave in Ojai, California. She was mezmerizing as she moved through the meadow completely in time with the hoop to the beat of house music from a nearby dj set-up. She invited me to come visit her in LA, where I took a hoop workshop from Anah. I tried and tried but couldn’t keep the hoop up. Everyone in the class was so beautiful and spectacular, moving like fairies or otherworldly graceful beings. I was clumsy, frustrated and felt stupid. I walked out of class about half way through, feeling completely intimidated by everyone there. I felt like crying.”
It all started for her with that class back in May 2001. These days she hoops about 6 hours a week and it’s obvious that hooping has indeed changed her life. “It’s transformed everything about my life – I almost feel like hooping has given me my life! My body has changed over time to become more lean and toned. I lost a lot of weight, not just physical weight, but also lot of mental baggage too – feelings of being uptight, conservative, self conscious, angry and generally frustrated with life and my lack of direction.”
Hooping also helped her step into the spotlight. Zamor explains, “It has given me confidence to teach and put myself out there in front of a crowd. Performance has helped me learn to embody my highest self – the person I idealized being – beautiful, fun, brave, playful, sexy, generous and peaceful. Hooping just gives so many endless gifts. opportunities for self inquiry about motives, purpose and meaning in life. Hooping helps me feel feminine and gives me good feelings about my body. The hoop is a training wheel that helps me explore moving in more dramatic ways. I like the way it makes my skin tingle and love the trancelike state I can move into while my breath deepens. I like how I can move like a living heartbeat with the music while hooping for hours. Hooping has brought me into the company of many fabulous, spectacular women who have pushed my boundaries and helped me grow.
It has given me a direction to focus all my creative energies as I have grown my business from a small craft faire booth to a company with an international presence. While I was artistic before I started hooping, hoopdance has made me a full time artist.”
When Christabel isn’t hooping she likes spending time with her husband, going to hot springs, making bountiful salads and dancing non-stop for hours to house music. She notes, “I like eating out at great resturants, especially Thai food and I love shopping for cool clothes. When I am not actually hooping, I’m also spending lots of time running my hoop business and managing my staff, empowering them to take on more and more responsibility to create their hoop careers.”
She’s a busy woman and sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day. She’s currently challenged with “how to make more time in my life. I need to learn how to manage my time and delegate more efficiently. I often work from the moment I get up to late at night for weeks in a row. Meanwhile, my hoop business is growing by leaps and bounds daily. Much of this is administrative work which takes me away from what I love – hoopdancing! My responsibilities have grown so fast. I need to learn how to manifest a big vision without draining so much of my own energy. I want to let go of the belief that ‘I have to do everything.’ Without the inner light and joy, I really have nothing to share at all – so I am remembering ways to take care of myself and nurture my inner sense of peacefulness. Covering all the basics, from vitamins, deep breathing, lots of water and nourishment to getting enough sunlight, play, love and sleep. I am trying to ask for help more and am trying to give as much responsibility to others as I can.”
Christabel’s favorite hoops are LED blinking hoops made by Psihoops.com. Her hoop of choice is the dragonfly in a 41″ diameter with extra led’s packed in to “push it to the maximum bling-bling potential.” She likes hooping to “sassy, fun music which brings out a lot of flirtatous character like ‘Honey Rock by Barney Kessel – it inspires me try lot of fun facial expressions. Mystical music like ‘Breathe’ by Blue Stone inspires me to lose myself in a spiritual devotional dance which feels divine. Sultry deep music like India Arie’s ‘Brown Skin’ and ‘I am Not My Hair’ (Konvict remix) gives me a deep sense of soulfulness while dancing. Hip hop like Usher’s ‘Yeah’ help me get down and funky urban style with pop and lock moves and a lot of attitude. Mainstream pop like Christina Aguilera’s “Ain’t no Other Man” brings out my inner showgirl and gazaam with wide movements and drama.
What quality does she most admire in a hooper? She responds, “Devotion! To practice, practice, practice and more practice, with or without the support of others. To deepening the exploration of their own unique hoop dance. To constantly trying new things, new personas, new dance styles, new moves. To pushing the envelope of what has already been done and creating a brand new style.”
What does she feel is her most marked hooping characteristic? Zamor notes, “I suppose my ability to truly dance with every part of my body while hooping, including use of limbs, head, gaze, expressions and gestures. I have a really liquid dance style. I guess a lot of people also think of me as the “Sexy” hooper who’s not afraid to make it super sensual and flirtatious. Maybe also that I have incorporated floorwork as a regular part of hoopdance.”
We asked her if she could give one hoop to anyone, who would it be and why. She immediately explained, “I plan on giving a hoop to Oprah Winfrey very soon! I know being on her show, doing a demonstration, giving her a lesson and getting her hooping would inspire millions of women to immediately try hoopdancing. I’m ready universe!”
Christabel’s also about to release her biginner level instructional DVD. “I encourage everyone to get a copy as it contains much of the hoop knowledge that I have accumulated over the past 5 years of
hoopdancing, including outtakes in beautiful Hawaii and California. The beauties from FireGroove provide some of these demonstrations with me. I’ve put a lot of heart and soul into this DVD and I feel
fabulous about the end result! Although I call it a beginner level DVD, I know hoopers of all levels will be inspired by it. I also invite hoopers from around the world to join my HoopGirl Dance Teacher
Training program, providing everything you need to launch an abundant career as a hoopdance teacher. I’m building a huge international referral network which is generating a lot of opportunities for anyone who wants to be involved. I also offer Performance Training seminars to hoopdance troupes around the nation by appointment, complete with training manual and other resources.”
In closing we asked her, if she had one piece of advice for someone just starting out hooping what it would be. Her answer – “The hoop will always fall. The grace is in how you choose to pick it up.” More information about Christabel can be found at Hoopgirl.com.

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