Hooping Mom Lisa Sampson Spins Britain’s Got Talent

LisaSampson Britain's Got Talent BGT by Philo Hagen

Britain’s Got Talent’s latest hopeful is none other than Lisa Sampson of Boogie Hoops, and she even spun a big smile onto Simon Cowell’s face. The 35-year-old self-taught hula hoop instructor and mother of three from West Sussex, England, UK, impressed everybody with her energetic, multi-hula hoop routine, and scored herself a standing ovation from everyone in the auditorium, including all four of the judges. I caught up with Lisa to find out more about her and more about her Britain’s Got Talent experience so far.

Philo: Congratulations Lisa! When did you fist start hooping and how?

Lisa: I started hula hooping in 2012 after taking my children to a circus workshop. I fancied trying it so I started to teach myself from YouTube and I became hooked.

Philo: What does your hooping life normally look like?

Lisa: My hooping life and being a mum of three children is extremely busy. After I take my children to school I come home and practice every day. I have broken lots of items in my house while learning, so now I take everything out of the front room to practice.

Can You Catch a Marshmallow In Your Mouth While Hooping?

Alexa Conomos Just when you thought live television couldn’t get any more fun, on Daybreak, the WFAA-TV Channel 8’s Morning News show, anchor Alexa Conomos spins up some very fancy hula hoop multitasking. Can you catch a marshmallow in your mouth while hula hooping? Alexa can and she does it on air surrounded by Casey Martin and the Kamikaze Fireflies, belly dancers and knife balancing performers, all of whom were on set promoting the 2015 Scarborough Renaissance Festival. The camera crew captures one of those once in a lifetime moments on TV in Dallas, Texas, USA. Check it out!

Glee’s Final Season Has More Hooping Coming

cherrios by Philo Hagen

It may be Glee’s final season, but fresh faces have joined the cast including Broadway actress Laura Dreyfuss (left), who is playing Madison McCarthy, and singer Billy Lewis Jr. (left), who is portraying her twin brother, Mason McCarthy. They’re male and female twin Cheerios who officially became members of McKinley High’s brand new glee club on the recent second episode of the season. So far Dreyfuss hasn’t even really sang, but get this – she’s not only new to the cast of Glee, she appears to be next in line to be hooping it up on what is probably the hoopiest television series of all time. Not only that, but there appear to be even more hoops and possibly other hoopers involved too. While we may not know exactly what we’re in for, rest assured dear readers there is more hooping coming to Glee.

Recently we were given a sneak peek at the brand new female McKinley High glee club addition rehearsing with the cast and working on her hula hooping skills. Fellow Glee cast member Becca Tobin, who plays longer term Cheerio Kitty Wilde, shared a quick Instagram video of Dreyfuss hooping on the set and commented – “She’s a woman of many talents @hotdamnitslaura”.



Glee club officially ended at McKinley High at the end of Season 5, but with Rachel Berry and Kurt Hummel back on campus trying to revive New Directions again, we’re not really sure what’s going to come of it. The McCarthy twins are two of only four new recruits and they need a dozen members to compete. One thing for sure is we’re looking forward to seeing Dreyfuss hoop, and we’re actually looking forward to seeing her sing as well.

Dreyfuss may be new to television, but she comes to the show with a rather impressive Broadway resume having recently appeared in Once after taking over the role of “Girl” from Cristin Milioti in 2013. She was also a Member of the Tribe in the 2010 national tour of Hair, and she was a swing performer once the flower power musical headed to Broadway the following year. And while she may be new to Glee, hooping certainly isn’t.

Actors have been found routinely hooping it up for fun and exercise while hanging out on the set for years now – and we’ve seen the hoops sitting on the sidelines to prove it. We’ve also seen Kevin McHale, Grant Gustin and even Matthew Morrison hooping it up off set, not to mention Eva La Dare’s fire hooping appearance on the show, and the super hoopening Lost Christmas episode. So stay tuned to Glee for their final season because there’s more good hooping things to come.


Philo Hagen Philo Hagen is the Co-founder and Managing Editor of He’s been spinning things up online and off since April 2003. Co-Founder of the Bay Area Hoopers and LA Hoopers hoop groups, Philo has performed internationally and has won Hoopie Awards for Male Hooper of the Year and Video of the Year. He lives in Los Angeles, California, USA.

Hunky Hooping Gardener Marcus Kenny Spins Ellen


marcuskenny2 by Lilea Duran

Marcus Kenny, a Washington DC resident, recently took television screens across the nation by storm as he not only shared his love for hooping, but he also took a big step towards completing one of his personal goals “to be an Ellen hunk” on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. How exactly did he do all this? We’re here to tell you all about it.

Ellen found herself in a bit of a jam when her hunky gardener Nick needed a break to shoot the film sequel for Magic Mike. Having an opening for a new “hunky gardener” during his absence, she put out a call for a replacement on her show, asking potential candidates to send in a video “if you’re hot, strong, and have that extra somethin’ somethin’.”

Calling on his experience cutting grass as a teenager and seeing an “opportunity for dude hoopers to represent” on television, Marcus created his gardener alter ego Jack Bush, and he submitted his video. “I’m a huge fan of the show,” he told us, adding, “Ellen is hilarious. I especially love her pranks and how she likes to scare people. I can watch the same clip dozens of times.” In the case of the clip below featuring Marcus as Jack Bush, we can totally see why.

marcuskenny4 After watching Marcus Kenny’s submission on the air, DeGeneres quipped “How does hula hooping trim mah bushes?” and “Last name is Bush and he knows nothing about bushes!” While Kenny’s gardening experience may not stem past grass trimming and a love for vegetables, of his alter ego he affirms, “Jack Bush is a horticulturist.” And when asked if he would teach Ellen to hoop if chosen to be her gardener, he added, “Oh yeah! I’m a full service gardener!”

While Marcus did hula hoop as a child, he began his regular hooping practice back in 2011. “There’s a drum circle at Meridian Hill Park in DC every Sunday,” he explained. “It’s quite the cultural experience. I bought a hoop there three years back and the rest is history.” Marcus describes his hooping style as “athletic hula hooping” and he enjoys the core body exercise that hooping provides him. He draws inspiration from Cirque du Soleil’s Elena Lev, who, in keeping with the talk show theme, he describes as the “Oprah Winfrey of hula hooping.”

So will we be seeing more of Jack Bush on The Ellen Show? Will he be chosen as Ellen’s New Gardener? We sure hope so! “Time will tell,” Marcus explained, “but I recommend watching this week!” If you haven’t already done so, check out his full audition video to see all his moves. You’ll be glad you did.

You can follow Marcus Kenny on Instagram and on YouTube.


Lilea Duran Contributor Lilea Duran of Sunglow Hoop Dance found herself in the hoop in 2009 and hasn’t stopped spinning ever since. Now serving as the west coast director for Vegetable Circus and co-founder of the Napa Hoopers group, Lilea teaches and performs throughout California and has appeared on numerous times, including two seasons of Hooping Idol. She currently lives in Napa, CA, USA with her husband and two little hoopers. She’s on Facebook.

Ekaterina Sheludyakova Hula Hoops on French TV

Ekaterina Sheludyakova hooping Circus artist Ekaterina Sheludyakova really took our breath away with her extraordinary performance on Le Plus Grand Cabaret du Monde, one of the biggest entertainment shows in the world. With impressive hula hoop skills and fantastic flexibility, be sure to watch until the end to see her combine hand balancing with foot hooping, then get lifted into the air for some sky-high hooping. You’ll hardly believe your eyes. Ekaterina lives in Kiev, Ukraine, and her soundtrack for this is “L’automobile” by Zofka and you can get a copy of it for your very own on iTunes.

Lisa Looping Hula Hoops on Austria’s Got Talent: Die Grosse Chance

diegrossechanceby Jenn Dixon

Lisa Looping of did something special on her birthday. She auditioned for a nationally televised Austrian talent competition. The show, Die Grosse Chance: Das Casting, which translates from German into English as “The Big Chance: The Casting” and is Austria’s version of the “Got Talent” shows, aired on September 29, 2014. Lisa gave a stellar performance for her casting audition which impressed both the audiences and the judges. I had the pleasure of catching up with Lisa and finding out more about her television debut.

Jenn: Congratulations on your first television appearance and for wowing the judges! How nervous were you? You seemed very calm.

Lisa: Thanks so much – it was great fun! I had my two best friends with me backstage and they were a great support. We had my birthday to celebrate when the show was recorded and they made me laugh a lot, reminding me not to take it too serious!

Jenn: How did you prepare for your performance?

Lisa: I chose to present the routine that I felt most comfortable with. I just had to cut it down to a 2.5 minute version. This is the very first multi-hoop choreography that I ever performed on stage in my hooping life when I started to take it more seriously on a professional level in 2011. It has developed since then, of course, but I have performed it so many times already that I felt I could even do it when completely nervous.

Jenn: tell us a little more about “Die Grosse Chance”?

lisalooping3 Lisa: Well, it is just like any other of the “Got Talent” shows, but it is only the fourth season this year in Austria. It is always a huge number of singers applying, but it is open to all kinds of talent, with no age limits. It has such a big variety of different acts presented there – it is actually really hard to compare one with the other, especially if there are also children participating I find.

Jenn: How did you feel when judge Oliver Pocher got up and hooped?

Lisa:Jenn: I think he did pretty well myself. The judges seemed to be impressed with the difficulty of your routine, and you got an excellent audience reaction to your performance, too. Was it exciting to get such great feedback?

Lisa: I felt so relieved after this – because you really never know in advance how it will go! The audience was great – thank god!, and the judges were pleased – it was all that I was hoping for!

Jenn: You’re being very gracious. How long have you been hooping? I know you’re also a yoga instructor. Do you incorporate hooping into your yoga instruction?

Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 4.45.39 PM Lisa: I started hooping in 2009 I think, but only got really crazy about it in 2011 when I decided to make it a profession as Lisa Looping. Yoga–Hooping is my new passion because it combines two of my most favorite movement arts. I’ve developed a 60 – 90 min format that is not only suitable for complete beginners, but also challenging for more experience hoopers or yogis. It is not only great fun, but also keeps you fit and balanced! I teach weekly classes in Vienna at Yoga is also my warm-up before every training or show because it quiets my mind, makes me more grounded, less nervous and more trusting into myself.

Jenn: What is your favorite part about performing?

Lisa: Getting into the costume, warming up, and the adrenalin rush when I get back down from the stage. I am not sure if I really enjoy it while I am actually on stage because my thoughts are running wild and very often I can’t really remember what I did – hahaha!! Sometimes it’s crazy how much time all the preparations take and then it is over in the blink of an eye.

Jenn: Very true. Have people had more interest in hooping in Vienna and Austria since the show?

Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 4.44.59 PM Lisa: Hard to say, but probably yes. As you could see on TV, the jury was not really aware of any hooping trend at all – so it seems. Some people are recognizing me on the street and my monthly beginner workshops are full. This year we organized the first Austrian Hoop Convention in August in Vienna too, which was a real success and we are already preparing for next year!

Jenn: You got four green checkmarks too! What is the next step for you with the program? You mentioned fire hooping. Will audiences in Austria get to see that?

Lisa: Although I got four green checkmarks, I didn’t make it into the next round. The judges had to choose only 3 talents to make it to the recall and they chose a fantastic juggling act that totally deserved it and a cute little girl with her Irish dance and a great singer, of course!

Jenn: Oh that is too bad, and you’re very gracious. Do you have any advice you can give to other hoopers who may get the opportunity to perform on television?

Lisa: Hmmm, it is probably worth it to think about it twice. I had second thoughts a lot and was not really sure if I should do it until a few days before. The TV producers sometimes try to play tricks on you – so only ever do what feels good for you, stay authentic as much as possible, choose your own outfit, etc. You can be sure there will be some stupid comments from one or more of the judges, but just smile! Don’t take it too serious. Bring some supportive friends along and have a good time!


Jenn Dixon Jenn Dixon needed something to get her off the couch. A friend suggested she try hooping, she checked it out, and she has been hooked ever since. Jenn has been hooping since October 2013 and she also works for her local county government, knits, and takes photos. You can read about her hooping adventures on her blog Hoopinions. Jenn lives in Akron, Pennsylvania, USA, with her husband and she’s also on Facebook.

Classical Indian Hoop Dancing with Kotishwari Kannan

Kotishwari Kannan by Rachel Conlisk

In a quiet corner of Chennai, a city on the South Eastern coast of India, a classically trained Indian dancer and variety performance artist named Koteswari mk, otherwise known as Kotishwari Kannan has turned the world of classical dance upside down by performing her routines while hula hooping. We tracked her down in between her practices and performances to find out more about the hooper who is making quite a name for herself in India.

Kotishwari performs on Vijay TV.

A classical and western performer since the age of 13, it was only just over a year ago that Kotishwari first picked up a hoop in August of 2013. She told, “After my marriage, I actually wanted to do something new in dance performing rather than doing the regular routines. So I tried many things which didn’t work out well! Once, we were watching TV and happened to see some hooping that made me think – why not try hula hooping?” Kotishwari learnt to keep it up while dancing in just ten days, and says of her hooping today, “it makes me feel very proud, and happy!”

Kotishwari Kannan In her classical hooping routine, while keeping her hoop steadily rotating, Kotishwari dances with intricate and beautiful hand movements and footwork of indian dance. Her footwork, and especially her hand and arm movements would be particularly useful for any hooper to learn too. She also performs the amazing act of balancing urns on her hands and head – all while dancing and hula hooping. She has already performed on numerous television shows in India, and is gearing up for her appearance on India’s Got Talent.

While there isn’t a hooping community in Chennai just yet, Kotishwari has high hopes for being able to get a community started. So what is next for the hoop dancer that is creating a sensation? “I need a fire and LED hoop,” she said, “which I cannot get in India! And I plan to open a hoop coaching centre in Bangalore by the end of next year.”

Kotishwari’s performance on Onnum Onnum Moonnu Mazhavil Manorama.

Kotishwari has a final request for her fellow readers in India. “If there are any hoopers, hooping communities or hooping events in India, please keep me posted – I will definitely come!” You can find her Facebook on Facebook as well as through her blog.


Rachel Contributor Rachel Conlisk was addicted to hooping from the very start and now spends most of her time thinking about hooping, finding new music for her hoop classes, or spinning it up. A data analyst for a school, she spreads the hoop love on campus daily with a hoop club for kids, and teaches a weekly adult hooping class in Smethwick. You can follow her hoopenings at and take her class in Birmingham, England, UK.

Mark Ballas and Bethany Mota Hula Hoop on Dancing With The Stars

Dancing With The Stars by Philo Hagen

If you were watching Dancing With The Stars last night, then you were in no doubt happily surprised to see a little hooping action. Well, maybe not in the ways that we’re used to seeing here, and certainly not for very long, but Mark Ballas and his special “Switch Week” partner pair up Bethany Mota did indeed hoop it up together. In fact, Just Jared revealed that these two took a hula hoop break during their dance practice in Los Angeles last week on Thursday, October 9th – only as we saw on the show it was less of a break, and actually part of their getting to know each other montage.

Ballas and Mota were spotted in L.A. getting silly in an alley, skipping down it while holding hands, and getting in a little hula hoop practice together. Full photo gallery here to see full size images.

On the show itself, however, the hula hoops appeared as part of a “doing fun things together” piece – like jumping on a trampoline, eating ice cream cones, and, of course, hula hooping. How did our hula hooping duo end up doing together on Dancing With The Stars? After America chose (via Twitter) who the celebrities were going to dance with this week, the end result was anybody’s guess. Sadie Robertson, who found herself paired by fans with Derek Hough for the week, who had been on top with his usual partner Bethany Mota, found she couldn’t quite deliver the perfect score for Hough that Mota had. And fans paired Mota with Robertson’s usual partner, Mark Ballas.

A long time dancer on the show, Ballas is very familiar to anyone who has watched the show. If you aren’t familiar with YouTube personality Bethany Mota, however, the American video blogger started her own YouTube channel, Macbarbie07, back in 2009, and rose to fame for her haul videos where she shared her latest fashion purchases. She also vlogs about outfit ideas, makeup and hair tutorials, do it yourself type things, recipes, and she’s expanded into her own fashion line with none other than Aéropostale. The show featured the montage of their new friendship together, followed by their dance.

The Montage

Their Hip Hop Dance Number

Performing a Hip Hop routine without any hooping, Bruno said that Bethany is blossoming in confidence week after week. He loved the elements of Hip Hop with ballroom, nothing that she only missed a couple things. He said Mark did a fantastic job and she kept up. Carrie Ann said she didn’t expect Bethany to be that loose and she loved the way she did Hip Hop. She noted that the ballroom part wasn’t perfect, but Mark said his shoe got stuck to his other foot. Jessie also expected Bethany to be more shy and awkward, but she said she attacked it. Julianne stated that while Derek and Mark’s teaching styles are very different, Bethany completely held her own. Their SCORES: 8, 8, 8, 8 = 32 out of 40.

While it’s always exciting to see hula hoops on Dancing With The Stars, we’re all still anxiously waiting for the day when some real honest to goodness hoop dance actually happens. Previously Derek Hough used a hula hoop to get Shannon Elizabeth’s hips moving, Chelsie Hightower brought a baby blue hula hoop into her dance practice with Roshon Fegan, Derek Hough and Maria Menounos hula hooped together for a publicity event, but this is the first time we’ve seen actual hoops get air time. Let’s hope that we’ll be seeing more of them in the future too and if they need some hoop dancers to show them how it’s done, we’re certainly here to help.


Philo Hagen Philo Hagen is the Co-founder and Managing Editor of He’s been spinning things up online and off since April 2003. Co-Founder of the Bay Area Hoopers and LA Hoopers hoop groups, Philo has performed internationally and has won Hoopie Awards for Male Hooper of the Year and Video of the Year. He lives in Los Angeles, California, USA.

Agata Piesiewicz Hula Hoops on Poland’s Got Talent

agata1 by Katie Sunshine

Agata Piesiewicz of the Bandit Queen Circus may be familiar to many of us in certain circles, but now she’s becoming well known throughout all of Poland. The charming hooping contestant on Poland’s Got Talent did really well on Polish national television recently too. In fact, she is moving on to the next round. She says, “Hooping is just starting to gain popularity in Poland,” and she is one of the front runners today showing everyone just how it’s done. I had the distinct pleasure of getting to know her a little better recently too, and she is every bit as entertaining and adorable as she is on camera. You can watch her first appearance here.

Hula Hoop Poland's Got Talent

Katie: How long have you been hooping?

Agata: I have been hooping since 2008, but my adventures with circus began a bit earlier in 2002. I was 14 when I joined my first fire show team. I started with poi spinning and spent the first year just learning. It was one of the first modern circus teams in Wroclaw. In the beginning there were about 20 people. We were had fun in parades and had shows with and without fire. When I was a bit older I wanted to find my own special skill and watched a video of Lisa Lottie and I thought “Wow, this girl is amazing, hooping is amazing!” so I decided to start training in it. Hula hooping is my favorite.


Katie: You certainly seemed very comfortable on stage during your performance. Do you do a lot of live performances?

Agata: Yes, it’s my way of making a living now. It’s both my passion and my work. I’ve been acting with different performances since I was 13. Of course in the beginning it was just for fun, but as I grew up I found out that it was my path. I started with some small fire shows, than street performances, and finally took to the stage. I also have my training program on YouTube in Polish, but you can watch it for the visual spectacle even if you do not understand.

Katie: I know you also do a lot of work with kids, right?

Agata: Yes, I do performances. I have shows that are especially for kids, and others that are for adults. I like to create a colorful visual form around my performances, because I’m also a costume designer, so even if the show is directed to adults I can switch some elements and it’s also good for kids. Sometimes I make short hula hoop shows, sometimes longer forms – my longest solo show is about 50 minutes, including clowning, “juggling”, illusions and of course hoops – you can watch the video here:

Katie: Wow! That’s incredible. I believe you made your own outfits for this too. Can you tell us about how you started making your own costumes?

agatacostumesAgata: Yes, I’ve been sewing since I was a teenager – my Mom explained to me how to make trousers from the beginning to the end and that’s how it started. Then I began discovering different forms on my own. Very quickly I decided that costumes & stage are two things that gave me a lot of joy so I opened a workshop. I also went to some school for one year & got a work experience in opera house in Wroclaw – it was amazing!

Today I have time to make my own costumes only because there are a lot of different things to do…shows, workshops, learning, training, etc., but my mother is now running the workshop, so it is still a family business.


Katie: That’s exciting, and speaking of exciting, it is also very exciting that you’re moving on to the next round on Poland’s Got Talent.

Agata: Yes, for now! It was just the first level and I received three positive opinions. I am very excited. Time will tell.

Katie: It certainly will, and thank you so much for taking time out to talk with us Agata, and good luck in the competition!


Katie Columnist Katie Wilson, better known in the hooping world as Katie Sunshine, is a teacher, a painter, a performer, and above all a proponent for the powerfully positive change hooping brings to one’s life. She picked up hooping in 2009 at a music festival and she hasn’t put it down since. A Hoopie Award winner with many YouTube viral videos, Katie lives in Conway, Arkansas, USA, with her wonderful husband and her two lovable dogs.