Monthly Archives: May 2012

Bonnie MacDougall: Inside The Hoop

Bonnie MacDougall

Bonnie MacDougall

[’s Editor Philo Hagen interviews our Hooper of the Week.]

by Philo Hagen

Ten years ago this summer, Bonnie MacDougall picked up her first hoop. She explained, “I had a running injury and had been inactive for several months, which was unlike me. I wanted movement in my life again, but I wasn’t sure what I could do. Then I saw Vivian Spiral hooping on the lawn at Weaver Street Market in Carrboro, North Carolina, where I lived at the time. I was enamored by how beautiful it was and thought, ‘Surely I can do that.’ That summer I bought my first hoop from Spiral and took a class from her and Julia Hartsell-Crews. I’ve been happily hooked on hooping ever since!” And now, nearly a decade later, Bonnie is bringing her love of hooping and a wealth of experience to as our new Assistant Editor. No longer in Carrboro, she relocated herself and her two kids to Detroit, Michigan, last year. So What’s Bonnie’s story? We decided to find out by turning the spotlight on her for a spin, so join us as we find out more about her hooping life in our interview with Bonnie MacDougall, our Hooper of the Week.

Lisa Lottie

Lisa Lottie spinning 4 hula hoops in the air

In this gorgeous shot, Lisa Lottie is hovering spinning 4 hoops in the air during her South Bank performance in London while looking mesmerized. She told, “I’m doing the funky chicken!” She lives in London, England, UK. Photo by stuiemac. A Photo of the Day.

Hoop Experiment in Restriction

Restricting ourselves during our hoop practice can be a very positive way of focusing our intention and opening our minds to new avenues of movement. Katie Emmitt of chose to explore the realm of restriction in her hoop dance by creating rules for her practice. In this video, she has chosen to keep both hands on the hoop while emphasizing sustained spinning. Katie lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Soundtrack: “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” by Radiohead (on iTunes).

Sophie Latreille: Fire Weaver

Sophie Latreille

Sophie Latreille

“The trick is to keep it moving,” Sophie Latreille of Fire Weavers told The Ottawa Citizen. “If the fire just brushes you lightly, it won’t burn you, so as long as you’re moving, it’s all good.” Latreille has, however, experienced the unmistakeable scent of her hair being singed and the occasional “love bite”, as she calls it. The 36-year-old mother of two calls it “fire weaving” for the way the residual trails of fire are imprinted long enough in viewers’ minds for her to create woven patterns of light. It was in Mexico that she first encountered a fire show, with two young circus performers rehearsing on a beach. As soon as she saw them, Latreille knew it was something she wanted to try. Today Latreille’s workload varies; at festivals she might perform a half dozen times in a day, followed by stretches in which she might not work for a week or two. But she estimates she performs close to 100 shows each year, and especially likes those at the annual summertime Lumière festival at Stanley Park in New Edinburgh, which she and two colleagues close off with a dramatic nighttime fire show. “The festival creates this magical ambience, and then we perform out in a very dark, dark field with our fire at the end of the night. It’s a beautiful place to perform.” Additionally, she teaches a half dozen times a week, running circus programs for children and more fitness-geared classes for adults. One of her favorite tricks is to spin a burning hula hoop on her foot while doing a headstand. “That’s a crowd favourite,” she says. “And spinning the fire really, really fast, and the more fire, the better. The audience does like danger. Everyone always asks ‘Why? Why would you get into spinning fire around your body? It’s such a dangerous thing to do.’ But it’s also something that’s really beautiful and very thrilling.” Find out more and watch her video interview at The Ottawa Citizen.

Carol Becker Has Vermont Hooping

Carol Becker

Carol Becker

Carol Becker of Fitness Hooping has Montpelier, Vermont, spinning it up hooping style – and she’s 60! Go Carol! WCAX caught Becker’s enthusiasm in a recent television interview. A physical therapist by day and a hooper by night, Carol teaches hooping and uses it as a low impact, full body workout. She’s been working with hoops for the last six years, incorporating them into her work and group fitness classes and events around the New England area. Carol also crafts her own hoops of varying weights and sizes to match the experience of the hooper. In her three years of making hoops she has sold hundreds, personalizing them with sparkle and glitz. Becker told WCAX that the bigger the hoop, the easier it is to hoop with, and that “some people want a big hoop because it has a nice wonky feel around your body.” As for hooping, she’s clear about why she enjoys it so much, “It’s fun, it’s fitness.” Watch the video below.

The Hooping Life: Milton Keynes UK

The Hooping Life recently premiered in the UK at The Madcap Performing Arts Centre in Milton Keynes, and for those of us that weren’t there, here’s what happened. The event, hosted by Janine Haynes of Spirit Hoop Cake, included performances by Naomi, Paul Lightning and Sharna Rose. DJ Stevie Vega played for the hoop jam after party. The film is screening next in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada on June 8th, and in the Philadelphia area in Merchantville, New Jersey, USA, on June 23rd. Why not bring the film to your town?

What’s So Gay About Hula Hooping?

Hula Hooping Elvis [’s Editor Philo Hagen asks “What’s so gay about hula hooping?”]

by Philo Hagen

A friend of mine has been a happy hooping mother for several years and she’s gotten her whole family in on it, including her kids. That is, until her father recently discovered that his grandson was spending hours with a smile on his face inside of a hula hoop. In fact dear old Dad confronted her about it, in front of her children, telling them all that hooping is just for girls, period. The ongoing debate has her worried that his issues about it may cause problems and confusion for her son who loves to hoop. Relaying this story to another friend, she confessed that whenever she is on and she’s watching a video of a man hooping that her husband will yell from across the room “Hooping is gay!” Is it really? Says who I wonder? If it is, we certainly never got the memo.

A few years ago I received an invitation from the Sugar Valley planning committee to host a hooping booth at the Castro Street Fair, an annual festival of arts and vendors in the very heart of San Francisco’s gay community. The Sugar Valley committee was looking for interactive vendors that could really engage people attending the fair. Setting up the booth at 7:00 am I was excited by the idea of selling a lot of hoops that day and recruiting a lot of new members for Bay Area Hoopers. Ultimately, however, we didn’t sell a single hoop and it was by far the worst street fair financially I have ever vended at. And while we did manage to successfully enlist a decent roster of newbies to the hooping cause at that event, truth be told almost none of them were gay.