In 2006, Finnish hooper Kati Köykkä of Hoop-a-Trix bought her goddaughter a children’s water-filled hoop as a gift. Her goddaughter, however, never received that present because Kati had begun her journey, spinning her way into her new found love. She describes her hooping start as a the sum of many coincidences, that first water hoop, watching YouTube circus videos, and then one day as she sat watching Christabel “HoopGirl” Zamor hoop dancing on her computer screen with an LED hoop, she knew it had her hooked. That’s when Kati truly started to learn more about the wonderful world of hooping and it was when she became connected with Henna Matanuska of MataHoops that things really began to take off. While there wasn’t much on the internet at the time for her, particularly in terms of other hoopers in Scandinavia, she realized she had found all that she needed and began spinning up a hooping scene of her own.
Hooping.org: We are so happy to have you join us here, especially given that English is not your first language. Thank you for taking the time and energy to answer some questions for us. Can you tell us what your hooping life looks like now, six years later?
Kati: Currently, I run my own hoop company which takes up a bit of time. I am teaching hoopdance, as many as five classes at one time. I also work as a circus teacher at an art school here in Oulu, so I am able play a lot. And I spend my time performing too. It’s a full schedule.
Hooping.org: Has hooping changed your life? If it has, can your tell us how?
Kati: It definitely has. Through believing and following my own path and facing the facts, hooping has made me more open and I have grown spiritually. Hooping has allowed me to travel and make many new friends all around the world. I am very happy that the hoop has come into my life. I would not change a day.
Kati: The community is growing all the time. We have three to five cities which have hoop related happenings going on, like hoop jams and a variety of teachings. Hoopers do it a lot by themselves at home because of the four seasons in Finland. It is often cold and weather does not permit as much outdoor hooping as we have only three months of summer in the year. Now that the community has grown bigger it has some strange influences too. People should remember that this is not big sport – you should remember joy of movement! But I believe that we are a very loving, sharing and honest community.
Hooping.org: What are you currently working on with your hooping?
Kati: I love to put on my favorite music and just let go with my hoop and forget the surrounding world, just feeling my body and dancing. I have found some difficulties to find the “right way” to do some tricks so I hoop with my own style and try to break my “boundaries” or those set by others.
Hooping.org: What are some of your favorite hooping memories?
Kati: Oh, there are so many good memories! One would be presenting hoopdance as an artist guide at the Shanghai World Expo 2010 in China. Also my first time over the ocean when I attended Hoopcamp in 2009. And of course, I remember warmly all my hoop peeps and what has been our quest in Finland.
Hooping.org: What quality do you most admire in a hooper?
Kati: To put it simply, playfulness!
Hooping.org: Do you have any advice for other hoopers who are just starting out?
Kati: Don’t give up even if you cant find the “right way” to do a trick or dance. You may find some NEW ways to work with hoop. There is no right or wrong way! But don’t rush, you will find your ways, don’t worry about it. It comes to you when you expect it least! Remember the joy of movement!
Hooping.org: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Kati: Im planing a Hoop Gathering in Lapland, Finland! Try to make it here in the winter of 2013. I welcome everyone to come explore and have fun in Finland. I am very happy the be part of this world wide hoop community. Thank you all for the inspiration!