[Audria Larsen joins the Hooping.org, spinning up a happy World Hoop Day 2012 for all.]
What will you be doing on 12/12/12? The magic date of this year’s World Hoop Day (WHD) is practically upon us. The annual hoop extravaganza that spans the globe, uniting people and communities on every continent (minus Antarctica) is in its sixth year and at the end of it’s repetitive date cycle. Countless hoopers will be celebrating this week within their local, national and international circles by participating in everything from epic hoop jams and intimate gatherings of hoop enthusiasts to raucous fundraisers and public demonstrations of the official World Hoop Day Dance.
Because the big day lands in the middle of the week for 2012, some folks already began celebrating this weekend in the name of hoops, flow movement and global unity, while still more will getting down this Wednesday and this coming weekend. If you haven’t made plans yet, there is still time! Many World Hoop Day events are listed on the official website if you are looking for something in your area or beyond. And even if there isn’t, it is not too late to throw together your own hooptastic get together where you live.
Amidst all the hoopla, it can be easy to forget that World Hoop Day originated as a charitable organization in 2005, with a mission to get hoops in the hands of any child in need. By 07/07/07, World Hoop Day as a global hoop holiday had officially begun. Incredibly, that inaugural year saw celebrations in over 100 cities. I spoke with Hoopin’ Annie O’Keefe, founder and CEO of World Hoop Day, about the evolution and success of the movement. “The first year there was a really small community and we were still able to give away about 800 hoops,” she said. “Since then, we are now pretty solidly able to say that we have given away more than 80,000 hoops.” Back in 2007 and looking to the future, O’Keefe told Hooping.org, “My hope is that by 2012 the whole world will be hooping on December 12, 2012. I hope that children will be smiling and laughing and have the time to play. I hope that the world will be a healthier thinner place. I hope that the world will be peaceful.” Five years later so much of her dream for this Wednesday has come true.
O’Keefe connects with people in far flung locales and sends ambassadors with piles of hoops in tow. “I try to get these hoops to really remote areas of the world,” she explained. “A lot of the hoops go to orphans. They have nothing. They might have a doll or a blanket. The hoop just lights their life. The perfect circle.” Part of that circle is raising money to fund the efforts of hoop givers worldwide, most of which is raised on World Hoop Day itself through donations from hoopers all over the world. “It is truly a grassroots approach to be able to give back to your own community while touching the world in the process,” said O’Keefe.
Annie also knows who puts on a good party. This year, many cities and towns are screening The Hooping Life documentary about the roots of the modern hoop dance movement in conjunction with World Hoop Day to help build awareness about the cause and bring people together on a local scale. And lots of hoopers worldwide will be performing the official World Hoop Day Dance created and choreographed by Kristen “Tink” McQuillin. “The dance brings a lot of people who want do a unified thing to the world,” said O’Keefe. While not every area comes together to participate in an event each year, some organizers have been creating increasingly fantastic happenings annually. “A lot of them have been really getting the bug to go bigger and help others,” she explained, mentioning that Laura Scarbourough of Hoop Circle is one of those folks, and she also happens to have been a “solid supporter” of World Hoop Day from the beginning.
Hoopers voted last year to begin recognizing World Hoop Day on the first Saturday of October starting in 2013, which makes this year’s big event on 12/12/12 very special, the final World Hoop Day of its kind. Whether you have a big event to go to in your area or you’ll be spinning it up alone or with a friend, it’s all good. “My view is as long as people are dancing with the hoop they are doing right,” said O’Keefe. “And I know that there are a lot of people who don’t hoop. Even if you can gather your friends and stand in a circle and have a moment of silence for world peace, we’re aiming for that joy, we are aiming for that inner peace and compassion. Being connected hand in hand in a huge a circle, that’s another piece of what World Hoop Day is all about.”
Audria Larsen, aka the Vivacious Miss Audacious, is a lifelong hooper and circle enthusiast. She is a freelance writer, entrepreneur and professional entertainer. She is also the founder of Audacious Hoops, Grand Rapids, Michigan’s original hoop company, and teaches hoop dance classes and produces a myriad of art and entertainment ventures. You can also find her on Facebook.