Hooping.org: What does your hooping life look like now?
Jaguar Mary: I hoop for an hour at least 3-4 days a week. I always try to get to a class once a week when I’m at home in Carrboro, North Carolina. I can take Hoop Path classes and support my dancing body by going to the Flowjo for ecstatic movement. There are also open spin jams at the Flowjo three times a week. Carrboro is great for hoopers. That’s why I live there!
Hooping.org: Even your place of residence is based in hooping now!
Jaguar Mary: Yes! Admittedly, my practice is stronger when I’m in one place (like Carrboro) for an extended period of time. I always travel with hoops, but when I’m on the road, it’s harder to make dedicated hoop time. I do see myself performing sometime in the future. I have a lot of ideas about how hoop dance can be choreographed for groups to create sacred space. I am particularly interested in how communities can use hoop dance as a form of healing from personal, familial and social trauma. The hoop itself, the actual object, is so many things geometrically. It’s an entry, an exit, a portal, a boundary, a container and more. It has the potential to help people feel safe when stepping outside of a comfort zone. I think as humans we’re dealing with so many forms of separation. The pain of separation is a reality for which hooping can be a balm and a comfort.
Hooping.org: Speaking of creating sacred space, tell us about Sacred Circularities.
Hooping.org: Exciting! And you’ve also become a Hoopie Award winner!
Jaguar Mary Yes! Making hoop dance tutorials is a huge part of my hooping life today. It amazes me how my life as a hooper has enabled me to synthesize all the things that I love. I can fold my experience as a dancer, film maker, community organizer and nomad into one interesting and unique identity. Having a hooping life makes things exceedingly fun and unpredictable. When someone asks me what I do, I simply say, “I’m a hooper” and the bemusement that ensues puts a smile on my face too because I wonder how it came to be that all this potential was activated by a child’s toy.
Hooping.org: Hooping has obviously changed your life. Can you talk more about that?
Jaguar Mary: My life has epically changed since I started hooping. First of all, I’ve returned to dance in such a beautiful way. I studied and trained as a dancer throughout high school. I was priming myself to join a company and was keen on becoming a member of the Alvin Ailey corps. I was on scholarship studying at their school in New York. I was serious about it, but I couldn’t handle the stress. I developed ulcerative colitis and quit formal training. When I encountered the hoop many years later, I found an accepting community and an outlet for my dancer’s mind. Second, the deep sorrow I’ve felt about certain aspects of the human condition is easier to manage since I started hooping. I have so much hope now for how we can have a peaceful world. All that optimism comes from my relationship with my hoop and the sparkling hoop community that I am so happy to belong to!
Hooping.org What are you currently working on?
Jaguar Mary: I like to work on flow, mostly. I also do drills in order to facilitate more flow. I enjoy flow because it feels good. I like to practice spinning and using mudras to direct the electromagnetic charge created by my body when I spin. For example, I’ll hold the Kubera mudra, you’ll have to Google it, while spinning in order to fortify my intention to follow through on a particular project. I used the Kubera mudra a lot in the beginning to help me manifest Sacred Circularities.
Hooping.org: Very interesting! Care to share a favorite hooping memory or two?
Jaguar Mary: My favorite hooping memory happened last year on my way to Bali. I was at the airport in San Francisco, running late for my flight, too late in fact for international check-in. I had two hulking rolls of irrigation tubing that I had tied together to transport for hoop making on the island. When I got to the counter I was simultaneously chastised and assisted, you know how the counter folks can be sometimes, by the check-in lady. First, I had too much luggage. Second, I was overweight. My options were to either pay $300 to transport all my stuff or take a chance. As it turned out, another hooper had already been through the line. She had checked in with the same lady and the lady remembered. “There’s someone else traveling with hoops on this flight. Is she a friend of yours?” I said, “Probably, who is it?” The hooper turned out to be Lisa Rizzoli who was also enroute to Bali for Sacred Circularities. The solution that the counter lady came up with was to page Lisa (Lisa was on time, of course, and already at the gate.) to find out if she was okay with checking some of my luggage under her name. Lisa was cool with it! The total charge to transport that stuff all the way to Indonesia? $32 dollars. Yay!
Jaguar Mary: Flow is great when it also involves punctuating beats or responding to what the music is actually doing. I admire hoopers who are adept at interpreting rhythms and transmuting sound into form. I can see a dialogue happening between artists; dancers and musicians, and it’s very satisfying.
Hooping.org: Any advice for our hoopers that are just starting out?
Jaguar Mary: I would suggest to any new hooper that they totally trust and believe in their process. However long or short it takes to learn a move or acquire a certain level of skill is related to your personal magic and relationship with the hoop. I think the practice of celebrating your process is also connected to acts of self-love. In general, we’re all a little deficient in the self-love department. Self love is not narcissism, it’s total and complete acceptance of who you are and where you’re at with a steady, unattached, and loving eye on the future. You have to know who you are to be able to get where you want to go. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to honor your dance, work on it and witness it’s growth. To me, that’s true love.
Hooping.org: Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Jaguar Mary: I’ll just share that I have so much gratitude for the hoop dance community, particularly those folks who have witnessed and supported the Sacred Circularities project too. Your presence in my life has bolstered me and lifted me up on days when I’ve felt like crying and days when I’ve been filled with joy. Thank you so much!