[Nicole Evans looks back at her first year.]
At this time last year I had just discovered a phenomenon previously unknown to me: the addictive, creative, inspiring, and energizing art of hooping. I wanted to be more active in general, but I was specifically seeking something that embodied “joy of movement”, a philosophy I first discovered in Nia classes. I also wanted something I could do anywhere, in a group or by myself, and that wasn’t based in competition. I had no idea what this activity could possibly be, but I knew something must be out there. I just had to find it.
A little voice told me to look up hula hooping. I knew nothing about hooping or hoop dance as it exists today. Stunned and delighted by the vast wealth of resources available online, I immersed myself in hours of research and tutorials. Within a week I had made my first trip to the hardware store, and, along with my mom and sisters, made my first hoop. Within a couple of months my hoop collection was taking over my living room. I’ve now lost track of the hoops I’ve made, sold, or given away. I never leave home without at least one hoop. Never before have I immersed myself in something so completely and joyously.
This summer I left my desert home in Albuquerque for the East Coast to attend the first HoopFest New England. It was tricky financially, but I got there via plane, subway, overnight Greyhound, and finally a rental car. I spent four glorious days in Brunswick, Maine, soaking up the skills, creativity and community. It was what I had been craving since the beginning of my journey. Each participant made a flag that was strung on a banner. Mine read “Joy of Movement”.
Before the hoop I was a bystander, a voyeur, a silent member of the audience. I watched dancers and athletes with envy, but lacked the confidence and inspiration to embrace or share my physical abilities. I rarely danced in public and I hated any attention on me. I became an elementary school teacher for the love of teaching, but in spite of my shyness. After a whirlwind year of hooping, I engage with the world in a different way. I’m so eager to share what I’m learning that I’ve largely let go of, or learned to overcome, my shyness. I enjoy movement. I embrace my abilities. It’s all about the process and the journey, and I know that, naturally, the product will be stunning. I’m ready to shine.
Nicole Evans lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.