When Luna Breeze was 14-years-old, her sister Shakti Sunfire took her to Red Rocks Amphitheater near Morrison, Colorado, to see a band called The String Cheese Incident. Luna explained, “At the time she was simply an admirer of hoopers, and I remember her saying to me with raised eyebrows ‘Just wait until you see a hula-hooper! They’re sooooo amazing. They do things with hoops that I could never do!’” When the concert began everybody started dancing and Luna, feeling rather shy and reserved, confessed, “I don’t know how to dance. I’m not good at it.” She replied with a smirk, “Nobody here cares how you move or what you look like doing it, this is family.” Luna trusted her and tried shakin’ her booty confidently for the first time. While neither of the famous hooping sisters thought they had it in them starting out, in our 2012 Hoopie Awards both scored themselves major awards with Luna being honored as Instructor of the Year. So how did Luna go from being a shy and awkward kid who couldn’t dance to a professional mover and shaker? Find out in our interview with Luna Breeze, our Hooper of the Week!
At that String Cheese Incident concert Luna saw a tiny lady with ears and a kitty tail who started flipping and bouncing around on stage with a hula-hoop. It was Megan the Cat and she fell in love, but she remained hoopless for four more years until her friends daughter decided she should learn her first hula-hoop move. “She was probably 7 at the time, and one of the most focused, patient 7-year-olds I’d ever met! She spent a long half hour at a dinner party teaching me to lift the hoop off my waist and up above my head. With many failed attempts I finally got it, and my little teacher did a fantastic job of making me feel like I was the quickest learner ever. With my ego confidently boosted I quickly decided that I was going to have to bring a hula-hoop of my own to college with me after the summer was over.” From there she learned to make her own hoops and took them to her small art college where she was quickly deemed “the hula hoop girl”. Shaki began hooping about the same time and after one season of college had passed, the two were already hooping on stage with the very band that inspired them to pick up the treasured circle in the first place.
Hooping.org: What does your Hooping Life look like these days Luna?
Luna Breeze: It’s a wild combination of chaotic and focused. I own a performance company of two facets. One is Luna Breeze Hula Hoop Artistry, which includes my solo performances for everything from corporate events to festivals and birthday parties. The second is a group production called MoonDrop Circus. We are a collaborative group of mult-talented performers who specialize in creating vibrant family friendly shows complete with juggling, acrobatics, aerial of all varieties and comedy. My days are spent managing this company, booking gigs and training, spending anywhere from 1 to 4 hours a day training. I’ve found that cross training is the best way to progress in just about anything. So whether I’m practicing modern dance or a new three ball juggling pattern, when I do get back to my hoops, I seem to be more proficient and creative then the last time I picked them up.
Another important area of my hooping life is teaching. Teaching for me is how I give back to the community that has given me so much. It also gives me an opportunity to share my personal journey. I am in the constant state of research and development and for me; the most efficient way to grow is to share that information with others who are on a similar journey. Thank goodness there are people to share these things with otherwise I’d be talking to myself! Haha! There is nothing more satisfying then helping others do what they love and finding a variety of ways to encourage them to do!
Hooping.org: And you’re a truly awesome teacher. Having taken a couple of your classes we know that first hand. Obviously hooping has changed your life, but how has it done so exactly?
Luna Breeze: Wow what a question to answer! Hooping has made me who I am today. I don’t even want to begin to think about what I would be doing right now if it weren’t for that silly plastic ring! I probably wouldn’t have friends and I’d be sitting on my couch knitting. Just kidding! But seriously it really has taught me so much about life, the most impactfull being the value of community, friendships and family. Through hooping I learned to listen to others (through being taught tricks), to share with others (through teaching tricks), and to both be inspired and to inspire! Simply put, I learned that everybody has something magical to share with me, and I have something magical to share with everybody!
Like many teenagers, I grew up in my adolescence feeling kind of small. I wasn’t sure who I was or what inspired me. As a result, somewhere along the way I decided that I didn’t really have much to offer the world. I quickly became a passive observer rather then a participant. I had a hard time connecting with people and they had a hard time connecting with me too. The hoop bashed this concept in one foul swoop. Through the circle I learned just how much I had to offer. I learned that I was passionate, beautiful, and opinionated – maybe too much now! I became inspired and I LOVED participating in this magical world. The hoop taught me to reach out to people and the world around me, and the second I did, the world started poring its heart back to me with endless possibilities. The hoop really is a sacred teacher. Its power is AWESOME and you don’t have to be spiritual to see it!
Hooping.org: So true! How about sharing a favorite hooping memory or two?
Luna Breeze: The first memory that pops into my head was born at Spin Summit just this year in Colorado. Baxter of Hoop Path had guided our group through the most intentional blind meditation I had ever experienced. He really brought us deep down to our roots as both individuals and as a community. It had been a long time since I had danced so hard, yet so honestly as well. The experience was gleefully absorbed and Baxter’s session was followed by a silent spin jam led by Dixon’s Violin – played live by Dixon himself. Dixon delivered, naturally, an entire one-man orchestra of virtuous vibrations sent straight to our hearts and within me he unleashed a bottomless state of grace, gratitude and raw creativity. With it came an ever growing, nurturing love for my community. I think that anybody who was in that room at the time would agree with me that I wasn’t the only one who felt these things. It was truly a shared experience, as we moved together in harmony, a deep meditation poring from our hearts. It was one of the most authentic and raw spin meditations I had ever experienced. The people, the props, the music was recipe for a true experience of magic and community.
Hooping.org: Speaking of magic, what’s up with The DreamWeaver hoop?
Luna Breeze: My labor of love! I created The DreamWeaver back in art school when I was getting frustrated with a project with a quickly approaching deadline. I decided that trying to make a crazy “double hoop thing” would be more productive then focusing on the project. And it was! Just not for that particular project – HA! Later on when I took them out in public though, it was clear to me that I couldn’t keep them for myself for long. Hoopers eyes twinkled like newborn babies and after 3 years of putting them on a back burner, dreadfully telling myself, “Make them collapsible dummy”, I finally found a way to do it and have been able to sell my “product of a stumped art school student” to our community. They are finally collapsible and Poly-pro and they are a true pain in my ARSE – I’m being polite – to make. Some days I find myself calling them, hold your breath, “Dream-Destroyers”, Ha-ha-ha! But in the end they are really just a labor of love. I know how joyful they make hoopers.
Luna Breeze: Hmmmm…. A foot hooping handstand, which I can only hold for 3 seconds. Hooping on my legs while juggling a three-ball cascade, then taking one leg out without dropping the balls. I’m also working on an Aerial hammock routine that incorporates a hula-hoop. Something I’m always working on is flow, grace, and developing creative movements. And last but not least, I’m working on a 50-minute hula-hoop variety show that includes everything from dance routines to silly gimmicks as well as crowd participation.
Hooping.org: Awesome! Can’t wait to see it. So what quality do you most admire in a hooper?
Luna Breeze: Honestly, simplicity. The ability to be absolutely captivating without hardly doing a thing is extremely admirable. If a hooper can do that, then they’re not just a hooper, they’re an artist. And being a performer myself, I really value and strive for this. It’s a fact that applies to all performing arts. Some of the best performers in the world don’t focus on doing the next best trick or the most physically impressive trick. The presentation of their craft is where the art lies. At the same time I would be lying to you if I said I wasn’t inspired by feats of strength, flexibility, and pure technique. It is probably obvious that I’m very technique based, so tricks do impress me and so do movements that defy the limits of the human body. Speaking of the human body, another quality I admire is when a hooper uses their entire body to move. Simply worded, dancing. Basically, if you took away the hoop, and their movement was still captivating, then they’re really moving with their full body.
Hooping.org: Any advice for new hoopers out there who may be going through what you went through?
Luna Breeze: Take care of your body. Hooping is low impact at first, but it can become very physical very quick. Why else do you think people are always losing so much weight hooping? Move from the heart and always remember that you are abundant, beautiful and worthy! Never be afraid to ask for help, and offer it as much as you can. It’s ok, and healthy, to do things just for YOU! When paying for seemingly expensive workshops/retreats remember that you are investing into the health and sustainability of your community, and that every dime is going to something that most people would pay MILLIONS to just sniff! Try doing something you’re not good at, at least once every practice. Always share your experiences when you can! Remember that we’re all human and we’re all walking down the same path, we might just be on different places along it.