by Lilea Duran
Q hula hoops and if you’re anything like us, you probably noticed him last month while watching the Black Hoopers Unite video too. Sure, there were 62 hoopers from all over the map spinning up some beautiful awesomeness together, but in the midst of it all there were some moments of hooping badassery by a man named Q who hadn’t even crossed our hooping.org collective radar. We asked ourselves, “Who is this Q guy?” “Where’s he from?” “What’s his hooping story?” Then we put our detective hats and proceeded to find out. Known as Ginqo Fletcher on Facebook and @Kyewman on Instagram, I sat down with the enigmatic male hooper in Bozeman, Montana, USA, where I was delighted to find out more about him while getting the hoop scoop for all of us on what he’s all about. So join us for a special interview with that hooper we call “Q” – our Hooper of the Week!
Lilea: When did you start hooping and how?
Q: I’d been bouncing in and out of Montana for a couple of years, due to working in the Yellowstone National Park lodging scene, but this last re-entry found me in the company of some rad folks that were into flow arts. I’d had no experience with or knowledge of such things previous to meeting them. Around new years of 2014 my friend Maddi showed me how to do a vortex, and then another friend, Iiesha, showed me how to do breaks. It all felt very natural, and they both gave me lots of encouragement, so I kept at it.
Lilea: Cool, what does your hooping life look like now then?
Q: Hooping has been mostly personal for me since the beginning. I wasn’t introduced to it through festivals or anything, so I used it mostly as a form of moving meditation. The more comfortable I became with it the more I went out in public to hoop and joined my flow friends in their spin jams. I teach a move here and there to people that are interested, but only recently have I started sharing through cyberspace avenues. I’m observing the dynamic between performing and teaching in order to decide which one I’d prefer in the long run, if either. I practice virtually every day, anywhere from 30 minutes to 4+ hours, on and off. I set up my living space to encourage flowing even when I’m casually hanging out with my friends. It’s hard to quantify; when the circle calls, I answer quickly.
Lilea: I love it! So how would you say hooping has changed your life?
Q: Because playing with circles has seemed so natural and correct since the beginning, I never really put much thought into how it changed the way my life has played out. But thinking about it now, the subtlety of the changes belies the immense amount of positivity it’s brought me. Most notably it’s brought a sense of focus to my life. Very few things grab my attention and motivation and keep it for very long, but hooping has stayed at the forefront of my thoughts for a year and half with zero complaints from whatever part of me gets bored of things. It shows me, “Hey, you can be skilled at whatever you truly enjoy.” It gives me a way to express myself without it seeming like work. The same could be said for the fitness aspect as well – suddenly I’ve been hooping for 4+ hours, drenched in sweat, sore in strange places, and I couldn’t be happier despite the fact that I never set out to get a work out. And lastly, but not leastly, circles have brought so many beautiful instances, people, and thoughts into my life that I can’t even begin to count. So I’ll just say I’m extra extra grateful for this pointless (wink) activity.
Lilea: What are you currently working on?
Q: I’m working on doubles these days. I spent my entire first year getting familiar with single hoop trickery, and I feel like it’s only appropriate to spend year two focusing on two circles simultaneously. Next year, triples!
Lilea: There aren’t a lot of black male hoopers in the community. What is it like being part of such a heavily female community too?
Q: I enjoy being part of a strange niche, and considering that hooping itself is already an odd subculture, being in a subculture within that subculture brings a sense of novelty that satisfies me. Plus the element of surprise is always fun. Nobody ever expects me to be quite so comfortable with a hoop.
Lilea: Do you have a favorite hooping memory or two to share?
Q: This is silly, but it’s honestly when, after becoming weirdly obsessed with Frank J. Olmstead, aka @kingfrak, aka wedgie wizard, for a minute, and I realized that I had met him the year prior at Wakarusa and had even used one of his hoops! I had no idea until after we’d been chatting back and forth for a while on Facebook. Right then I realized how small the hooping world – and the world at large – could be at times. I laughed a lot.
Lilea: We love Frank too. So what quality do you most admire in a hooper?
Q: What attracts me to any style is ingenuity, and the tendency to bring new ideas to the community. If someone ever makes me stop and go “Wait… what the heck just happened?!” I’m sold. And I’d say a nice personality, but I haven’t met a hooper with a bad attitude ever so that’s kind of a given.
Lilea: Do you have any advice for someone picking up a hoop for the very first time today?
Q: Dropping the hoop is a good thing. Because every time you drop the hoop, you’re showing yourself a million different ways to not drop it next time. Mistakes = Learning. Don’t ever get discouraged. Also, don’t worry about ‘finding your flow’. It’s already there inside you, you can’t lose it or gain it. You slowly (or quickly; everyone is unique) become aware of it over time, and the more attuned your body becomes to your activity, the more your flow will, well, flow.
Lilea: Anything else you’d like to share with hooping.org’s readers?
Q: Just wanna give a shoutout to the Montana flow family and all those fly cats and rad dudes bringing their flow to the collective soup. Much love.
Contributor Lilea Duran of Sunglow Hoop Dance found herself in the hoop in 2009 and hasn’t stopped spinning ever since. Co-founder of the Napa Hoopers group, Lilea teaches and performs throughout California and has appeared on Hooping.org numerous times, including two seasons of Hooping Idol. She currently lives in Napa, California, USA with her husband and two little hoopers. She’s also on Facebook.