About this time last year, finalist Nick Broyd was biting his nails, leaning in closely to his computer screen to watch the Hooping Idol Finale Results Show. For nearly two months leading up to this moment, Nick had existed in what he calls a hooping “bubble” filled with hard work and sleepless nights, creating his one-of-a-kind hooping videos with friends in Bristol, England, UK. But one way or another, it was all about to come to a close. So discovering he’d won the first-ever Hooping Idol competition is something he remembers as a supremely blissful blur: “When the results came out for the final week, such was my anticipation I skipped through Philo’s video, but all I could see were aeroplanes flying around the world on the map. I didn’t understand what order they were going in, who was on them, and where they were going. Calming myself down, I slowed the video and worked out I’d won. I can’t think of a moment I have savored more in my life.”
Much of the hooping community had first met Nick Broyd in his bathtub, beer in hand, charming us all via his Casting Week video. And several weeks later he’d become an international hooping star. So what has happened for Nick Broyd since he took home the big prize?
I tracked Nick down this week in India, hunkered down in a sweltering internet cafe and vainly seeking relief from the country’s relentless humidity under the establishment’s one and only fan. The fan, of course, wasn’t working. Had it only been a year since Hooping Idol? It seemed like Nick had lived a lifetime between then and now.
Immediately following Hooping Idol and after a few celebratory nights at the local pub, Nick threw himself into a “full-on festival season.” Teaching and playing for the rest of the Spring, and throughout the Summer, gave him a chance to develop what he had begun doing in the hoop during the whirlwind of Idol. But come September of last year, Nick was tired. “After the euphoria of Idol,” he told me, he needed some downtime for soul-searching and reflection. And that’s what led him to India, a place he’d always dreamed of going, a place where he could go to learn about himself and spend some serious time in the hoop away from the daily grind.
He might have thought he’d be the only hooper within miles of the remote places he began traveling around Christmas time. But on a beach in Goa, he found a vibrant community of hoopers, spinners, and dancers that continue to inspire him. “Its really refreshing to meet people outside the hoop community I move in. There is some huge talent out there.” Nick seems to make fast friends no matter where he goes, and the hoops follow him, too! Though he swears he only brought 2 hoops to India, he’s accumulated a pile of them.In January, he found himself performing in the Gala Show at the Indian Juggling Convention near Goa. In bright gold “Ali Baba” pants, no less! The moment marked a turning point that had begun early on in Hooping Idol, during Performance Week. Though we might best remember images of Nick hooping in a dress, or letting loose in his Pimp video, it was Performance Week that truly made a hooper of him. “In terms of personal development, it was [that] video that did the most. I was very nervous, having never really taken to the stage before. A lot changed in my mind after that week. I felt that I gave the best performance I could have, and it really gave me a huge deal of confidence, not just in the competition, but also as a hooper and performer. It was a real buzz.”
Today, performance is something Nick Broyd wants more of. One of his goals this year is to perform as much as he possibly can, minus the costume mishap that happened in India, of course! Nick blew the audience away at the Gala Show, but he also blew out those incredible pants while he was at it. You can’t tell by watching the video, but Nick had spent most of the time leading up to that performance worrying about the small hole that had formed in the crotch. He was one of the last performers that night and by the time he went on, he could put his hand through that hole. But having back-up pants close at hand is just one of the many life lessons Nick will be bringing home from India this week. “The longer I spend here the more I find out about it and myself. It is a perfect place for anyone feeling a little lost or looking for answers. I had no idea that I would bring up with myself the questions I have, but I did, and I’ve found the answers I needed. Its a chaotic land of beautiful contradictions. In uncovering India you discover that while she can break you, she will also rebuild you. It’s just that way. It does wonders for the spirit. I’m coming back from India full of energy and full of ideas. I have so many new beginnings and possibilities, its just so exciting right now.”
The excitement continued earlier this year when Nick racked up three Hoopie Award nominations in the Solo Video of the Year, Video of the Year and Male Hooper of the Year award categories. And now he’s excited to be coming back home. By the time this article posts, he’ll be back with his hooping family in “Brizzle” (slang for Bristol, he explains) and amping up for a year of teaching at hoop gatherings across Europe. He’ll also be at Hoopcamp 2012, much to the delight of us Americans enamored with all things Nick Broyd.
With the 2nd Season of Hooping Idol looming and a bumper crop of hoopers poised to take on the challenge, I asked last year’s champ what advice he’d give this year’s potential contestants. “Listen to the judges,” he advised. “They know and they understand. Its hard sometimes when you are getting criticized, but they are there to help – take their advice. Also, make sure you enjoy it while it lasts. Its a pretty weird but exciting time and it doesn’t last forever.” His final words – “While it is a competition, if you can, try to build bridges with each other. It’s easy to forget that. In the final week Sam Resnicow, Rebecca Phipps and I had a great thing going on over the net that helped and made it more enjoyable. And get as much rest as you can now, because it’s going to be crazy!”
Lara Eastburn has been dancing in meadows and singing with the moon while spinning in circles for eons at Superhooper.org. Beyond commenting here, you can also discuss this and other topics related to the Hooposophy for living in Hooping.org’s Hooposophy Group and Forum. Lara is also the planting and gardening force behind discovering our hooping community roots at The Hooping Family Tree Project.