Tag Archive for Community

It’s Time For More Hoop Love In Our Community

Hoop Love by Philo Hagen

We’ve been having an ongoing conversation in the staff lounge here at Hooping.org about the current state of the hooping community for awhile now. We’ve seen things that have disturbed us, and we weren’t really sure what to do about them. We’ve heard even more that have kind of made our skin crawl too. We’re not the only ones. Sharna Rose recently shared on Facebook, “Hoop life on the Internet is starting to repulse me. I sound old, but I remember a time when it was beautiful. I watch debates rise and fall, childish arguments escalate, more sex and money than love. Its becoming like false Gods causing wars between factions. It’s just a plastic circle. Oh dear how blasphemous I am.”

We love Sharna Rose, and we remember a time when it was beautiful too. And yes – it is just a plastic circle, but then again, it’s so much more. Back in April of 2003 when hooping.org began, there was very little about this thing called hooping online. I’d attended a party in the San Francisco Bay Area where Jason Strauss had handed me a large adult-sized hoop. Giving it a spin, I was transported out of my head and into my body. Being fully present inside the center of my own rotation was exhilarating! Once home, I scoured the web for information. I found out Hoopalicious was teaching classes down in Los Angeles. I also found Betty Hoops, who was teaching in New York City and sharing about some of the amazing benefits. That was essentially all that was out there though. Knowing that the world needed to know more about this super cool thing called hooping, a few of us got together and hooping.org was born. We arrived before Facebook, YouTube, even MySpace, and we’ve been keeping things spinning ever since.

When the site began we had community forums that not only proved to be invaluable, it’s where we all initially found each other. Baxter, Spiral and Stefan came rolling in. Anna, Babz, Bunny, Caroleeena, Christabel, Diana, Kandice, Kara, Lara, Rayna, Sass and many more spun in as well, and it really was a beautiful time. We were all in one place and we were so excited to find other people who loved this hooping thing as much as we did!

Hoop Love Now let’s talk a little more about this hoop love thing, shall we? You gotta remember that the roots of the modern hooping movement all trace to The String Cheese Incident, a bluegrass meets rock and electronica hippie jam band from Colorado. They began tossing these large adult-sized hoops out into the audience at their concerts in the mid to late 1990’s. Some of our hooping luminaries mentioned above discovered hooping at one of their shows, and once hooping.org’s forums launched a community began. Some of those same awesome hoops and hoopers started showing up at raves too, and at places like Burning Man, which in turn inspired more to step inside the circle. Whether we were hippies or ravers or burners, however, we all had one thing in common. We were all very liberal and pretty much rooted in a place of love, something that simply came along with our love for the hoop and our fellow hoopers. The Hoop Love was pretty much a given, it’s who we all were.

Two years later, hooping.org’s forums were hacked and everything was deleted. It was a sad day when we discovered our hosting company had never made those promised weekly back ups either, so we relocated our hooping community to Tribe.net. Many who were around back then will recall that time as the true renaissance of the modern hooping movement. And yes, my dearest hula hoopers, hula hoops were still something your grandma played with back then. Hooping was something new and different, and our dropping the word “hula” brought a language that helped conveyed that. Hula Hoop trademark lawsuits tossed at some by Wham-o really helped cement that philosophy too, even if we did end up falling in love with all of our hula hooping friends along the way too.

The Tribe years were golden, loving and supportive. We were still all in one place. The community was small enough too that if you saw someone at an event with a hoop, you either already knew them online, or you had six friends in common. Everything was going so well, until Tribe.net started collapsing. There were major outages, sometimes for days or weeks at a time. They’d gone from a staff of 35 down to a staff of 2 and when the second to last person handed in their resignation, I started working on bringing hooping.org’s community forums back, using an ill-fated software called Elgg. Meanwhile, SaFire and others started their own business rooted communities on Ning. Elgg was very cool, an entirely open source social networking package by the people for the people. It was all just so gosh darn politically wonderful, how could it go wrong? Well, it did, and after hooping.org’s Elgg forums folded back in 2010, we tried it again with a different software system that also ended up becoming problematic. We had to shut the second one down two years later as well.

Our hooping community on this brand new thing called Facebook, however, was growing by leaps and bounds. We thought we’d just stay there and at the height of it we had nearly 8,000 pretty active members – and then we were thrown another curveball. Facebook decided to kill off all of their existing groups, forcing everyone to move over to something new they’d developed – Pages. Tired and a little defeated at the time, I personally came to the conclusion that maybe hooping.org just needed to forget about the whole community thing. It was our third strike, even if it was through no fault of our own. Maybe enough was enough.

Since that time Ning too fell out of fashion. Pinterest and Instagram rose. Newer Facebook groups have tried making something happen in an effort to serve up a yummy slice of community. Some have been more successful than others. As for the community as a whole, however, we’ve really been all over the place – and the end result has been leaving a rather bitter taste in our mouth. We mean nobody any harm or discouragement in saying so though. In fact, we whole heartedly salute everyone out there who has been trying to make something happen. We have nothing but applause for all of them because we know first hand just how much work it can involve. It’s the primary reason we’ve been hesitant to step back into the community circle with a solution as well – until now.

hooplove In light of recent events we’ve all come to an agreement that it’s time to help bring the community norm of hoop love back, before we see it disappear once and for all. It’s been such an important dynamic within our community, and it’s one we here at hooping.org do not want to lose. We all deserve to be treated with love and respect, to receive support and encouragement in our hooping journey, to be lifted up on our path. That’s why we lined up the launch of our new Facebook community group with the stars themselves to help guide us along the way. Whether you’re astrologically inclined or not, humor us.

Uranus and Pluto have been battling things out over the last few years. There’s been a lot of struggle and disharmony as a result. They had their final tense battle on March 16th. Today, however, is not only the first day of Spring, a day of perfect balance between light and dark that promises more light in our lives in the months to come, it is also a new moon that brings with it a total solar eclipse. This eclipse in Pisces is one to purge hearts of sorrow and welcome greater happiness back into our lives. They’re calling it an 11:11 Portal, and what can we say – we do love our portals! That’s why we’re inviting you all today to step on through and join us in resetting the hoop love norm in our brand new space on Facebook, and everywhere else that you are currently spinning things up online and off. Our new Facebook group is an inclusive hoop love space for all, a place to grow and meet and become friends and hoop it up. It’s also a place where we can lovingly let people know that what may be okay somewhere else, really isn’t here, so can collectively celebrate this thing we all love so much. Our entire staff is stepping up to help admin the group because we collectively saw that this was something that really needed to happen. So won’t you join us? We’d be happy to have you in the mix.


Having been at the helm of hooping.org for so long, I know that I see and hear things that most never know about. With that sometimes comes a unique perspective, and a rather paternal one. I care about this movement, how it started, where we’ve been, and I really care about where we are going. Let’s have that be a place that everyone who finds the circle will want to step into and really be a part of.


Philo Hagen Philo Hagen is the Co-founder and Managing Editor of Hooping.org. 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.

Hoopie Awards 2015: Nominations Are Now Open

hoopiestrophy Hooping.org proudly presents our eighth annual Hoopie Awards honoring greatness in our hooping community. Preliminary nominations may now be submitted and there are changes to our process this year so please read all information carefully. Nominations will be accepted until Friday, January 9th, at 11:59 pm PST. Please do not make appeals to get people to nominate you, or others you know and love. We are no longer tracking the number of preliminary nominations. All that is necessary for consideration in a category is one. More than that offers zero advantage and only clutters our inbox and slows down the process. And yes, feel free to nominate yourself if you think you deserve consideration in any of our categories

Previous Hoopie Award winners are not eligible to win within the same category twice, but feel free to nominate them for other categories if you like. Previous Award Winners here. Remember, all it takes is one (1) preliminary nomination email with no more than one (1) nominee in each award category for your submission to be considered.

Preliminary Nomination Screening: Once all of the preliminary nominations have been received, hooping.org staff will ever so lightly screen the photo, video, and tutorial category submissions for one purpose only, to decide if they warrant further consideration by our 2014 finalist review panel. Every photo, video and tutorial takes time for our panelists to review, so we do this to help streamline the final nomination review process for them. If you served on the panel in our earlier years, you know fun and overwhelming it can be, and we promise to do what we can to help ensure that it will never be that overwhelming again. If you could see the mountain of submissions that come rolling in each year, you’d fully understand our need to help streamline the awards process.

Finalist Review Panel: The finalist review panel consists of 50 randomly selected hoopers who have submitted a preliminary nomination email. If you would like to serve on the 2015 Hoopie Awards Finalist Review Panel and cast votes for who should receive the final nominations for this year, you need to submit a preliminary nomination email and you need to state in that email that you are making yourself available to serve on the review panel this year. Please do not contact anyone on the hooping.org staff regarding being on the panel. This is how it works and there are no exceptions in the interest of fairness. If you want to be on the panel this year nominate somebody and make yourself available. That is the only way it could happen. Hooping.org staff literally write down the names of those who have made themselves available to serve on the panel and draw 50 out of a hat.

If you are randomly selected to be of service on the Finalist Review Panel you will receive a notification email on Saturday, January 10th, followed by the pre-screened preliminary submissions for your consideration. This email will go out as soon as we have it compiled so watch your inboxes. Our panelists all have the honor and privilege of making fair and impartial selections regarding who should receive the final Hoopie Award nominations for 2015. And if you don’t make yourself available to serve on the panel, you have no business complaining about the results. If you do make yourself available to serve on the panel 1) in doing so you are agreeing to maintain complete confidentiality that you are on the panel until after the final nominees are announced, and 2) you will need some free time next week to review the preliminary and pre-screened submissions and make fair and well-informed voting decisions.

To serve on the awards panel simply state “YES I’m available to serve on the panel” at the end of your preliminary nominations email. If you do not receive an email this Saturday stating that you were randomly selected to serve this year, then you weren’t, but thank you anyway for making yourself available to be of service to the hooping community.

Preliminary Nomination Submissions: You may now cast your preliminary nomination submissions in the following award categories for the 2015 Hoopie Awards by sending an email to Hoopies2015@gmail.com. You do not need to make a nomination in every award category. Please note that some of our categories require additional and often specific information in order for that nomination to be considered. You have until Friday night at 11:59 to make your submission, so if you don’t know the answer, you have all week to find out.

1. Photo of the Year: You must include a link to the nominated photo for consideration.

2. Solo Video of the Year: You must include a link to the nominated video for consideration. Solo videos have only one person hooping in them, period.

3. Video of the Year: You must include a link to the nominated video for consideration. Group videos feature two or more people hooping.

4. Tutorial of the Year: You must include a link to the nominated tutorial for consideration.

5. Hooping Soundtrack of the Year: All songs must have a 2014 release date and you will need to include both artist and song title.

6. Hooping Promotional Event of the Year: What carried the hooping message to others best in 2014? Note: Hoop gatherings and retreats are not eligible in this category.

7. Hooping Event of the Year: Hoop gatherings, retreats and events are eligible in this category.

8. Local Hoop Community of the Year: Which local hooping community shined brightest this year?

9. Newbie Hooper of the Year: They need to have started hooping in 2014 with no prior hooping experience. Yes, even a little. No exceptions. Nominations must include a link to an online video along with the date of their hoopiversary. Nominations without a video link and hooping start date will be ignored.

10. Youth Hooper of the Year. Nominees in this cateogry must be under 18 years of age. Nominations must include a link to an online video from 2014 along with their age.

11. Performing Group of the Year: Nominees must have two or more members for consideration.

12. Hoop Instructor of the Year:

13: Fire Hooper of the Year:

14. Male Hooper of the Year:

15. Female Hooper of the Year:

16: Hooper Hall of Fame Award: Nominees in this category must have a minimum of eight years of hooping experience for consideration and the month and year they started hooping must be included for consideration.

FINALIST PANEL: Are you available to serve on the 2015 Hoopie Awards Final Nominations Review Panel as specified above? If so, Write “YES I am available to serve on the panel” or “NO I’m not available” here:

Email your preliminary nomination submission to hoopies2015@gmail.com

Our finalists for our 8th Annual Hoopie Awards Celebration will be announced on Tuesday, January 20th and community-wide voting will begin. Good luck everyone and happy hooping.

World Hoop Day Shares Hoop Love All Year

worldhoopday by Guest Contributor Rachel “Gypsy” Panasiuk

World Hoop Day, the international holiday for hoopers and non-profit organization gifting hoops to needy kids, is once again uniting our community on Saturday, October 4th, 2014. On 6 continents, and in over 125 locations world wide, hoopers are going to be spinning it up for world peace and a whole lot more. While the annual great big celebration of the circle isn’t really a secret in our community, what a lot of hoopers may not know is that World Hoop Day keeps busy spreading the hoop love far and wide all year long.

The first World Hoop Day was presented on July 7, 2007 (7/7/7) by creator Hoopin’ Annie O’Keeffe, along with co-founders Kevin O’Keeffe and Stefan Pildes. Annie’s desire to have a day dedicated to play and laughter and world peace has evolved over the years into a fun and beautiful event, and a full on tax deductible not-for-profit organization. Every year, World Hoop Day donates hoops to kids with limited resource, as well as in remote regions all over the world. This amazing work all happens thanks to the generosity and hard work of a team of World Hoop Day International Ambassadors. World Hoop Day Ambassadors donated hundreds of hoops this year to people all over the map, and World Hoop Day has been busy raising funds for more donations. Just take a look at a couple of video stories showing just what World Hoop Day accomplished this year.

WHD Ambassador Dee Saunders was able to gift 25 hoops to kids in Jamaica. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

World Hoop Day Ambassador and Peace Corps volunteer Bryna Rabehl gifted hoops this year in Santo Domingo and in Daraga, Albay, Philippines. She lives in Byron, Minnesota, USA.

World Hoop Day actively seeks Ambassadors who travel to far, remote locations to take hoops and materials to give to children and various communities in need. To find out how you can become an Official World Hoop Day Ambassador, find out here. You can always help the cause too with your generous donations and remembering to include our hoop community non-profit in your World Hoop Day plans each year. Why not make a donation for this year.

World Hoop Day hosted an auction fundraiser at Hoopcamp 2014 last week, and thanks to the generosity of participants over $1000 was raised. Auction items this year included donations by Holistic Hooping, SpinFX, Trinity Starr and many more.

This weekend World Hoop Day’s seventh annual celebration will be bringing people together in the name of the almighty hoop, community, and world peace, but when you celebrate this year remember the reason for the season. Stop, drop and spin in the name of world peace and think about how you can bring some hoop joy to the children of the world. To find an event near you, visit the World Hoop Day website and if there isn’t one near you have a World Hoop Day celebration of your very own.


hooping Rachel “Gypsy” Panasiuk of Hoops by Gypsy had her heart lit on fire for hooping while traveling in Nepal in 2012. Her passion for remains unwavering and she’s hoping to spread the hoop love everywhere her gypsy trails may lead. Based out of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Rachel spends her time creating hoops, dreaming about magical circles and helping others live out their hoop dreams.

Hoopcamp 2014: The Big Event

hoopcamp by Philo Hagen

If you’ve never been to Hoopcamp, then you’ve never attended the largest annual gathering specifically for hoopers on the planet. Every year we make a pilgrimage from all over the world to spend five days together spinning it up in the California redwoods, sharing knowledge and hoop love with one another along the way. Driving up the long and winding road, climbing higher and higher into the Santa Cruz Mountains, I grew increasingly excited about Hoopcamp the closer that I got to Pema Osel Ling, a Tibetan Buddhist Retreat Center and Hoopcamp’s home for the past five years. Making the left turn and arriving at the top of the drive, a sign welcomed me to Hoopcamp 2014. I made it and I couldn’t have been happier after missing it last year due to health concerns. Having attended six out of the seven events though, I knew it would be a great week, I knew there would probably be some unforeseen surprises, and I knew right where I wanted to pitch my tent. Organizers Heather Troy and Nessia Starr were there putting the finishing touches on everything as green, blue and red lights soared high into the trees above us, aglow in the dark especially for our time there together. Heading to my campsite a deer paused on the trail and welcomed me. You could feel the magic that was to come lingering in the air before it even began.


Hoopers came in droves from all over the United States, Canada, Mexico, El Salvador, Brazil, the UK, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, Australia, even Thailand, each and every one of them with a bundle of circles made of plastic draped over one shoulder. Once registered they each climbed the hill and found a place to call their own for the duration, and soon we were called to gather at the Temple Stage for an opening circle with Kandice Korves-Kaus of Holistic Hooping. The energy and intention set also set the course for another kickass Hoopcamp opening workshop by Jonathan Livingston Baxter of the HoopPath. As we spun it up together, we began to let it all go, finding ourselves in our circles surrounded by beautiful souls in a gorgeous setting.

Hoopcamp 2014 Begins. Photo by Beth Lavinder.

Hoopcamp 2014 Begins. Photo by Beth Lavinder.

From there we climbed the hills to the dining hall for dinner and delicious fellowship. The camp was abuzz with excitement and conversation. After dinner there were those who chose to partake of a workshop on Body, Breath Work and Beyond taught by Jocelyn Gordon of Hoop Yogini, while others of us preferred to revel in a little after dinner relaxation. I personally was busy getting the opening night Presenters Performance Showcase together. Honored to be the MC again this year, it was super exciting to see the instructors for this year taking to the stage and showing us what they were all about. A whirlwind of amazing talent indeed, with videos coming to hooping.org in the future. Even if our more newbie attendees weren’t familiar with some of the hoop stars that night, they certainly had an idea of whose classes they wouldn’t want to miss by the time it was over.

Bex Burton Performs, Photo by Jodi Jodette.

Bex Burton Performs, Photo by Jodi Jodette.

And following the big show there was, of course, more hooping. And cocktails for those who partake of such libations. And reconnecting with old friends. And connecting with new real life friends previously only witnessed online. They were real, and we could reach out and touch them. And time flew by. About 2am I made my way down the hill to my tent and once safely inside it, the rain began to fall. Listening to the pitter patter of raindrops upon the roof throughout the night, it was easy to tell when it began to pour later on. With my laptop and phone safely snuggled up beside me in my sleeping bag, I was able to hold out for a few hours. The waters inside my temporary home were rising and I was eventually forced to abandon ship. While the majority would weather their way through the storm brilliantly, I was one of several that sank. Most everything I owned ended up soaking wet. “Well, this must be the unforeseen surprise of 2014,” I said to myself. I put my laptop under my shirt and ran for shelter.


It had previously only rained once at Hoopcamp, several years earlier. It happened near the very end of the event, just as we were packing up, and it was a light and warm rain that we all delighted to hoop and dance in. This year, however, the rain continued through the morning. Weather reports, however, called for a 20% chance of scattered showers, and with a three year drought most of us never really saw it coming. Was it the hoop dancing that called the much needed clouds to the mountain? Between the forecast and the downpour, me and several of my close hoop friends seriously began to wonder. Beth Lavinder and Bukki Sittler and Danielle Odette headed off to try to teach classes and find spaces under cover. As for myself, having been up all night, I managed to last through lunch and before finding a dry place to nap for most of the afternoon. Occasionally I caught ear shot of Caroleeena or Nicole Wong teaching a class, but the highlight of my afternoon was some much needed sleep.

I awoke later to the sounds of DJ Eartha Harris and her music soothed my soul and called me to life. I’m glad that it did too, or I might have missed something truly incredible – The Great Unicorn Hula Hoop Twerk Race. Hosted by Hoopalicious of GroovinMeGzz, Katie Holt McClain and Tiana Zoumer in the finals, but it was the only male unicorn, Van Maffei, who spun away with it all.

BeastWares.com Supermodels Phoenix McNamara, Samuel J. Granillo, and Amanda Shumack.

BeastWares.com super models Phoenix McNamara, Samuel J. Granillo, and Amanda Shumack. Photo by Philo Hagen.

Thursday evening there were hors d’oeuvres by Chef Mazi, another delicious Pema Osel Ling dinner and dessert (some amazingly delicious berry cobbler), and a fashion show where all of the amazing vendors from Hoopcamp strutted their stuff on the catwalk. Yes, another great reason to go to Hoopcamp is for the shopping.

Our night time featured a great big community trick share with everybody swapping notes on their moves, more cocktails, more conversation and more hooping galore. Sleeping bags made their way to the dryer, a few other hoops who needed to be relocated found new homes, and as we went to sleep on Thursday I think we all had the feeling everything was gonna be all right.


Mornings at Hoopcamp begin with a yoga class at 7:00 am, followed by breakfast. There are hoopers that tend to be morning larks, who are naturally up at that hour and ready to stretch and greet the dawn. I’m personally of the be the last one to bed so I don’t miss anything night owl variety, and while I can’t really tell you about the mornings on campus, I can tell you that there is action from dawn to dusk. There were class offerings from Baxter and Luna Breeze on Friday morning, a tasty lunch break, and more classes taught by Mary Gargett, Aya Papaya and Matt Porretta. Earlene taught people how to hoop on stand up paddle boards in the swimming pool. There were aerial classes and cyr wheel classes and acroyoga classes too. Oh, and there was more rain. And thunder. And lightning. The hoop dance weather theory began making even more sense as millions of droplets of water fell from the sky. It didn’t last as long though, and most of us were well prepared the second time around.

Friday night, following a delicious dinner, came one of the true highlights of 2014 for me – the Community Performance Showcase. While many Hoopcamp attendees who are likely to be some of the most badass hoopers in their own local communities, at Hoopcamp everything is different. There are hundreds of hoopers and everyone knows about hooping and loves to spin it up. Performing in front of your peers takes courage and those who were willing to grace the stage this year let me know and all of their names were entered into a lottery. The only person certain to appear in the showcase was Esmeralda Garcia, the winner of Hooping Idol 4. She’d not only won a ticket to Hoopcamp 2014, but also a spot on stage. 13 other names were drawn and as I assembled the order for the show I soon realized several had never performed anywhere before in their life. As each person took to the stage the love fest for each and every one of them and our community grew and grew too. I don’t think there was a single one of us that wasn’t touched by all the love that very night. Stay tuned to hooping.org for performance videos from that night.

Heather Troy takes the stage. Photo by Yeshe Lhadron ZT.

Heather Troy takes the stage. Photo by Yeshe Lhadron ZT.

Our finale was something of a surprise as well, even to the person performing. Heather Troy, the organizer of Hoopcamp, who has been so busy at previous Hoopcamps that she never even got a chance to hoop, had never performed at her very own event either. Having told me about a dream she had once where her and her hoop were on the Hoopcamp stage, she said there were hoopers encircling her on all sides. She told me that a certain song was playing, and little did she know I’d downloaded it just for her. Ensuring she’d find a little time to hoop at Hoopcamp 2014, something she hadn’t yet been able to do, hoopers were invited up onto the stage to encircle the performance area, and as Heather stepped on to the stage and “One Voice” by The Wailin’ Jennys (on iTunes) began to play, she stepped into her hoop and performed for the very first time at Hoopcamp, and I don’t think there was a dry eye left in the house.


The most beautiful day at Hoopcamp 2014 brought with it many delights and a few surprises. There were classes taught by Hoopalicious, Shakti Sunfire, Bex Burton, Caterina Suttin, The Hoop Hooligans, Tiana Zoumer, Shellie White Light and more. There was even a Samba Hoop Dance class taught by Davaryah Trugman with a live drum line that ended up parading through camp.

Down at the Temple Stage everyone gathered for our final evening hoopjam with live music. We all got together for a group photograph too, and then we made our way back up the hill to a Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings – turkey, tofurkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce – it was really something. A fun filled Saturday night was in store for all of us too and it kicked off with the very first Hoopcamp Hoop Tape Off where several hoopers battled it out to see who could tape their hoop the fastest. It was hilarious and congratulations to Danielle Odette, the fastest hoop taper on the planet.

The Renegade Show also took place on Saturday night. Known for silliness, heckling, absurdity and plenty of laughs, before we made our way to the Redwood Stage, we first assembled in front of the dining hall for the very first cyr wheel performances at Hoopcamp. Sam Tribble and Elijah Leone Cherweznik, both of whom have been teaching at Hoopcamp in years past, dazzled all of us even more when they were able to truly show off their talents. Elijah’s performance was actually so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes, so it wasn’t any wonder that the audience demanded more, and more is what we got. Renegade fever took over and Elijah spun up what is probably the world’s first little boylesque strip tease performance ever done in a cyr wheel. It was amazing.


As for the Renegade Show itself, Shellie White Light hosted the festivities and we all had a great time. There were redneck hooping boys singing country songs, stand up comedy about hooping that made us all literally laugh out loud, contortion, hhooping while playing the didgeridoo, incredible poetry, burlesque, even musical theater to the soundtrack from Grease. After the show there was an LED hooping class followed by a glow hoop walk through the woods, as well as DJs and dancing and visual art. I think everybody gave it their last night at Hoopcamp their all and I kept hearing from many that in spite of the rain, this had turned out to be the best Hoopcamp ever.


In case you thought that was enough, there were more classes on Sunday morning taught by Caroleeena, Jenna Nordgren, Jinju Dasalla and Michelle Nayeli. There was lunch. Then we packed up our stuff and came together for a closing circle with Kandice, grounding the energy of our time together so we could take it home with us, while letting it go to share it with the world and the universe. Hoopcamp 2014 was something truly special, a time of hoops giving for the magic of the circle and the wonder of the community that has come to each of us from simply stepping inside of one.


Philo Hagen Philo Hagen is the Co-founder and Managing Editor of Hooping.org. 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.

Your World Hoop Day 2014 Planning Guide

worldhoopday2014 by Hoopin’ Annie and Philo Hagen

With the celebration of World Hoop Day 2014 now less than a month away, if you haven’t already figured out your plans for how you and your area will be spending October 4th, 2014, then now is the time for making that happen. Perhaps there is already an event being organized in your city and you can help by sharing your support and enthusiasm in whatever ways are needed most? But what if there isn’t something on the calendar where you live. When hoopers all over the planet celebrate World Hoop Day this year, do you really want to be left out of the mix?

If you’re thinking you’re just one person and there isn’t enough time, think again. A few years ago Kevin O’Keefe stopped at a small coffee shop in New Orleans and started talking about World Hoop Day. The owner loved the idea and decided to send out press releases. A local hoop group heard the news and donated hoops. Musicians were inspired and came out to play. People ended up showing up to celebrate from all over and it made the evening news, all because one person stopped at a coffee shop a few days before World Hoop Day in 2010. If all that can transpire in less than a week, what can you do with three whole weeks still left to prepare? Here’s Ten Great Tips to help you rock World Hoop Day 2014 where you live.

1: Know Your WHD: Before you even begin it’s important to read up on World Hoop Day so that you can tell others in 10-30 seconds exactly what it is and what it means to you. The World Hoop Day website is chock full of info. In a nutshell, however, World Hoop Day is a non-profit charity that raises money to give away hoops to children around the world in need, and it is also an international holiday where people gather together to hoop for health, peace, love and joy.

2. Location, Location, Location: Most World Hoop Day events are held in public parks. Some people choose farmer’s markets, community centers, school gyms, beaches… Choosing the best venue for your World Hoop Day really depends on where you live, which hemisphere you’re in, and your anticipated number of hoopers. Given that World Hoop Day is a really great day for promoting hooper visibility with a great cause attached to it, you might want to consider a public place where you will be noticed. That way you can use the event to help spread the hoop love to anyone just passing by and maybe get them to donate a buck or two to gift a hoop to a kid in another part of the world. Flash Hoop mobs have also become a popular way to start in one spot and hoop parade through town spreading the word too. Other things to consider in choosing a great location include convenience to a public restroom and public transit access so nobody has to miss out on the fun.

3. Ask Permission: Does your desired location require a park permit, performance insurance or rental fee? Usually these answers are only a phone call away. If it’s possible, however, talking to the powers that be in your area in person has been known to sometimes help the cause exponentially. There are many WHD stories now where the personal approach resulted in fees being waived, even locations signing on as a co-sponsor, once they truly understood what the World Hoop Day mission was all about. Also, if you show up playing the part of a responsible looking adult, whether you actually are a responsible looking adult or not, it’s been our experience that anything can happen.

You might even be able to get the unofficial inside scoop on how to make such an event happen too. I remember a World Hoop Day story about a helpful city worker who told a group that if they wanted a permit for World Hoop Day it was going to cost them several hundred dollars, “but if you were to host a political rally of hooping for world peace, well, that would be free under the first amendment. You are planning to hula hoop in protest for World Peace on the property that day, right?” It’s unlikely you’ll ever get that kind of candor on the phone.

In the end, even if your location does end up having fees attached to using it, if you can’t cover these costs out of pocket, perhaps you can be reimbursed by holding a raffle, asking for donations or charging admission. Whatever the case, finding out the facts will help you make an informed location decision, and will help you avoid having your event unexpectedly shut down by the powers that be.

4. Plan The Day: World Hoop Day 2014 is happening on Saturday, October 4th. Before you go making a flyer or writing a press release you’ll need to decide on a time. When it comes to planning the rest of your itinerary, well, World Hoop Day plans can range from incredibly simple to very ambitious. A simple plan might be to schedule a hoopjam for an hour and have a donation box to benefit World Hoop Day. Ambitious plans might include a silent auction, a performance showcase, free classes, coordinating with local children’s organizations like Boys & Girls Clubs – for not only gifting hoops locally, but to have them there for the hooping celebration. Maybe people would like to perform. Maybe a favorite local DJ or band would want to be on hand for it too. Some cities even organize a full day of activities.

5. Support World Hoop Day Itself: It’s always great if you can include some support for World Hoop Day in your planning. The majority of the money WHD receives each year comes from us. That money then gets turned around to the WHD Ambassadors who literally travel with hand-made hoops, hand delivering them to children without toys around the world. Donations can be made directly to World Hoop Day, or its fiscal sponsor MarinLink. And yes, all your WHD contributions are tax deductible.

6. Recruit: Once you’ve got the plan figured out, ask for help from friends and friends of friends to make hoops, DJ, bring food, take photos, teach classes, create flyers, perform, write press releases and spread the word online. When approached with more of a clear idea and a schedule you’ll likely find there are lots of people who will be willing to help.

7. Promote World Hoop Day: In the all too grim world of the media, most news agencies won’t pass by a story opportunity like World Hoop Day. Hula hoops to help needy kids is a winner every time, but they have to know about it in order to report it. Writing a press release and sending it to the media in your area will not only help promote the event, you may very well discover hoopers in your area you didn’t even know about, as well as recruit new ones. Many people will happily jump on the band wagon to hula hoop for a specific day and cause that wouldn’t ordinarily be willing to do so. Take advantage of it, and don’t be surprised if the media turns up at the actual event with a camera crew, or invite you to do a guest spot hooping on the air before the event to help you get people to come on out.

8: Think Globally: Be sure to send your event information to World Hoop Day so others can find you and you can watch your event appear on the Google World Hoop Day map as soon as possible. You can also learn the World Hoop Day Dance for 2014 and teach it, film it and send your video in for inclusion in a final global edited World Hoop Day Dance video project. Whatever you do, when you’re talking about World Hoop Day, let people know this really is happening world wide. Last year events were held on all six major continents.

9. Hoops Hoops Hoops!: What’s World Hoop Day without hoops, right? Pre-World Hoop Day hoop-making parties are a great way to not only encourage community involvement, but at the end of the party you’ll have a whole bunch of hoops on hand for people to use at your event and to gift to local kids in need in your area. Some World Hoop Day events plan for having a hoop making station at the event as well. Those who have never made a hoop before are often quite excited to help with the process, even those who may not want to actually hoop themselves. Ask for donations to cover the cost of your materials. And if you just don’t have the energy or interest or live somewhere that hoop making just isn’t going to happen, remember that donations to World Hoop Day all will take care of doing that work for you.

10. Gratitude: While it is helpful to remember an attitude of gratitude throughout all of your event planning and organization, as manners and politeness go much further with a smile, keep a list of those who have contributed to your World Hoop Day event along the way too and be sure to thank everyone who gave of their materials, time, energy and donations. You can also keep a list of names and emails who are interested in carrying on the hoop fun all year round.

Whatever you end up doing for World Hoop Day 2014, we look forward to sharing the day hooping with you wherever you are, hearing all about it what happened, and seeing all of your photos and videos from your event – no matter how large or small. Here’s wishing everyone a very exciting World Hoop Day 2014 and if any local World Hoop Day organizers out there have gained any other tips they’ve found to be particularly valuable, please share them below.

Are You A Lonely Hooper?

Lonely Hooper by Rachel Conlisk

Are you a lonely hooper? There are lots of us. When I first started hooping I didn’t know any other hoopers, so it was just me, my hoop, hooping.org and YouTube. It was the start of an intense love affair and I wouldn’t have had it any other way, but I was so envious of those I saw across the Internet who were having hoop jams, taking classes, had hoopy friends to learn with and share the hoop love with. So I decided if I wanted to have other people to hoop with and talk obsessively about hoops to, I was going to have to make it happen!

To get people hooping, all you need to do in some cases is hand them a hoop. Show them how to get started and many will be hooked right then and there. Others, however, will be more of a challenge. Arm yourself with the knowledge of the benefits of hooping, and especially what fantastic exercise it is! In my experience, fun + getting fit = new hoopers galore! There are other tried and tested ways to aid you in finding and building a hooping community too. Let me tell you about them.

1. Let People Know You’re a Hooper. One of your best tools to use is your big sparkly hoop itself. Take your hoop everywhere with you – seriously, everywhere! Flashing the hoop signal will help you find out who the other hoopers are in your area and recruit new ones to join you as well. I took mine to work, to the supermarket, the pet store. I found another local hooper at the hardware store who said she just couldn’t let me walk past without stopping me, as she too thought she was the only one! Friends and even strangers will want to know more as well. At work now most of the teaching staff have at least one hoop of their own and many of these new hoopers have been passing on the hoop love to their friends. This approach has a surprisingly good success rate and it is also lots of fun! You may feel self-conscious carrying a hoop around at first, but it soon wears off and becomes normal. You may even begin to feel lost without it!

2. The Power of the Internet. There is a huge online hooping community out there. If you’re reading this, you may already be a part of it, or maybe, if you’re like I was, you’re possibly just starting out and/or not really sure of where to even look. If you search for the names of your local area + hooping or hoop dance or hula hoop on Facebook, you might be lucky enough to find a hoop group near you or not too far away. You can also do a search right here on hooping.org for your city, state, province, or country and see if we’ve shared anything from a hooper in your area in the past. If you track someone down send them a hello. Most hoopers will be delighted to find there is someone else near them and tell you what is going on locally.

3. If You Build It, They Will Come. What if it turns out there really isn’t anyone in your area? Then you’re going to need to be the one to start the hoop group where you live. You’re going to be ready for the next person to find when they come looking for hoopers. Every local hoop community started with one or two people and one of the best ways to make new hoop friends in park life. Try taking your hoop and a few spares to your local park. Be visible and accessible to those who wander by. Yes, it’s scary at first. Sure, you might be worried that “people will be looking at me” or “what if so and so sees me?” What you may not realize, however, is just how many people will stop to ask you about it, especially if there are two of you. When someone is looking at you roll them a hoop and give them the opportunity to try it. Some of those people may end up becoming valued and treasured hoop friends. You really never know.

4. Get Even More Clever About It. Next up, I present to you Volunteering for Charity – with your own secret agenda. If you make your own hoops or care to learn how, a great way of introducing people to hooping for the first time is to offer to take hoops for people to use at local charity events or fairs. Once someone has hooped for first time and gotten a serious case of new hooper smile, that’s all it takes. Think outside the box. Where can you take hoops in your area to help you build your local community?

No matter how shy you are, it’s impossible to fade into the background carrying a hoop – so you might as well hold your head high, give people a smile and enjoy it.
Just think, if no one ever got over that initial fear of hooping where someone might see them …… we wouldn’t be hooping now! We wouldn’t even know about it. So go for it!


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 HoopsRock.com and take her class in Birmingham, England, UK.

A Hooping Community Heart to Heart

Hooping Community by Ingrid White

Hey, we need to talk. I’ve been thinking about this for a while and it’s been bothering me. It all started last year when I read a piece right here on hooping.org about a hooper with Down’s Syndrome who rocked a half-time performance at a game for her school. I watched the video of her wowing the crowd. Was she as polished as our hooping luminaries? No, but that wasn’t the point. The point was we were celebrating her personal achievement and love for the hoop. I thought she was wonderful, but as I read the comments posted one stuck out to me. It was by another teenager who said:

“I can do better HONESTLY!!!!she just did the same tricks over and over again like me if u want me 2 prove it!:D”

The comment wasn’t vicious, but my first reaction to it was that it made me really mad. It upset other hoopers too, who rushed to Kaitlyn’s defense. After a good think about it, however, I began to feel something very different.

A thoughtless teenager was just being like a million other teenagers around the world, promoting herself and trying to tear down someone else to do it. We see it on FaceBook and YouTube everyday. I actually did as she asked too. I checked out her FaceBook page and saw a young girl who played the sousaphone, a girl who seemed like she was trying too hard to be cool. Was that the end of it for me? Honestly, no, not at all. The feelings this episode aroused stayed with me as I began realizing that it was a wider problem than just one thoughtless comment.

When I discovered the hoop it was a life-changing moment; not just in and of itself, but there was a community of hoopers that it brought to me, from all over the world – that is YOU, everyone reading this! Together we’ve encouraged, supported and cheered on ALL hoopers, young, old, beginners, professionals, everyone!

Outside of our hooping bubble, the word has gotten out that hooping is cool, and sexy. That is bringing out the gawkers and hecklers who know nothing about the joy hooping brings us or the effort and time we put into it. Individually on any given day we may find ourselves dealing with any level of misguided nonsense from beyond our walls. It’s something we can’t really control, but within our walls, within our garden, we can try to be as loving and supportive as possible, even if a new arrival isn’t feeling that yet.

It’s like we are a wonderful colorful garden. All of us are hooping flowers growing and entwining around each other. We can be circus folk, stay at home hooping Moms, hoop instructors, hoop dance performers, anything! The more variety, the more we enrich our little garden. So when a weed or two springs up, what should our cosmic gardener do?

Well, he could reach down and tear the weed out by the roots, or grab his herbicide bottle and spray-spray-spray. But what happens then? The weed dies, yes, but what is left is a big hole, and probably some of the beautiful flowers near it leave us too. More weeds can move in if we’re not careful, and pretty soon a whole garden can be taken over.

I believe there is a better way. If I could talk to the cosmic gardener I would tell her to forget about trying to pull out the weed, after all the weeds will always be with us. Don’t spray our lovely garden with poison either, at anyone, for any reason. Please oh cosmic gardener, feed us flowers with love, and friendship so that we grow strong and vibrant. Together we can overshadow a weed with beauty till it withers. Or maybe, just maybe, that little plant we thought a weed may turn out to be a flower after all.

As members of this circle we all must take part in guarding our hooping community, keeping it strong by supporting hoopers everywhere and trying hard to ignore any misguided or hurtful comments tossed out along the way. Let’s keep our hooping world a place where we are not afraid, where we don’t have to be perfect to belong, and together we will bloom bigger and brighter than we ever could alone.


Ingrid White Contributor Ingrid White was half-way through life when she was smacked in the heart by a large round plastic circle in 2011. Now she views the world through her hoop and her life goals are to still be hooping at 100 years of age and to infect as many people with the hoop bug as possible. Ingrid hoops for an hour daily & regularly joins other Australian hoopers to celebrate all things hoopy. She lives in Appin, New South Wales, Australia. She’s on FaceBook.

Navigating Circles, Creating Hoop Community

Hooping Community by Heather Hughes

A pagan proverb reminds us, “We are a circle within a circle.”

Similarly in the hooping community, the circle is both personal and social. Inside our hoops we stand in a circle where the axis is our body and we can forget about the outside world as we explore that personal space. We can focus inward as we hone new movements, celebrate the sensation of dancing without inhibition, and experience unique meditative moments. We are little worlds revolving in solitude.

However, inside the wider hooping community, our little worlds join countless other worlds and constellations. Some of us are still primarily solitary spinners, but others are part of local communities, performance groups, or tribes that connect across digital space. We are each one of the many dancers who gather to enjoy the same music or share the same park at a hoop-jam.

As our community grows, navigating those spaces becomes more of a challenge. When I began hooping 6 years ago, I was the only hooper in my home town. If I met other hoopers in my travels, I felt like a castaway flagging down a distant ship. I networked the hell out of my first hooping events because those connections were my only connections to people who understood my passion. However, now that I travel to events with my own circle of hoopers, there’s less of a need to make those connections. It’s easier and often less awkward to stick with the folks I know. The irony of the situation is that as the number of hoopers increases, it becomes even more important to nurture the subtle interpersonal connections that form our community.

It is tempting to say things like, “All hoopers are (insert positive descriptor of your choice)” or “We’re all sisters/friends/one circle.” Sometimes those statements are even true. However, as the popularity of hooping has increased, we are drawing in larger and more diverse groups of people. There are more tribes with their own affiliations, interests, and ways of connecting. It is foolish to assume we all share a common outlook and are all ready to share space with a complete stranger. Undoubtedly many of us enter hoop jams or festivals with a more welcoming attitude than we carry to the supermarket or the office. Yet that doesn’t mean we can overlook the basics of polite behavior and group dynamics.

Often I read threads on hooping forums where hoopers lament being rejected or ignored. In fact, the spark for this meditation came from a gal who was upset that less experienced hoopers said things like, “I’m not that good” and wouldn’t hoop with her. The resulting discussion ranged from nervous hoopers apologizing for their social anxiety to performers struggling with perceived jealousy. These comments made me think that despite our claims of inclusiveness and non-competitiveness, these dynamics have a profound impact on the relationships we create.

We live in a weird world where we’re made nervous about both not being good enough and being too good. On one hand we’re told that making mistakes and making our learning process visible is embarrassing. On the other hand, we have to be wary of “showing off.” We may experience transcendental moments in our personal circle, but we are all at times keenly aware of how we fit into the community circle. We ask ourselves if we are good enough or cool enough to be included. Sometimes we dive right in to a spinner’s circle on blind faith. Sometimes we linger at the edges. Sometimes we retreat to more familiar ground.

As we navigate these responses and these interlocking circles, we must remember that we have “permission” to succeed and to struggle in a supportive community–but only if we CREATE that community. An idealized hooping community exists in our mantras and ideology, but the challenge lies in manifesting it. We can all be awesome in the circle: awesome hoopers and awesome friends who take the extra step to say hello and get to know each other when we share hoop-space.

When we take the time to introduce ourselves and greet one another, we make ourselves truly human to one another. That “beginner with a $400 hoop” becomes a person with a story and a personality. That “snob who won’t take time to show me a trick” becomes a woman with a name and a home town. When we have that information about one another it’s less tempting to write our own social narratives onto them. It’s easier to be welcoming and supportive. At the same time, making sincere (if brief) personal connections takes the pressure off everyone. We are forced to neither draw tribal lines in the sand nor mime a manic, perpetual camaraderie. We can make more informed decisions about how we interact and what we’re willing to share.

Our community shares a common interest in hooping. However, we are still people: introverts, extraverts, hug-loving hippies, and solitary observers.
For any community to thrive, it must recognize both the similarities and differences of individual members. I believe the best way to achieve that is by taking the time to make solid interpersonal connections rather than relying on idealistic principles of unity and inclusiveness. We must continually strive to walk our talk both inside and outside the circle.


Heather Hughes Heather Hughes of Carnival Lights & Rhythm is a mild-mannered English major by day and a cosmic dancer by night, provided her children go to bed on time. We love her way with words and we’re sure you do too. She lives in Sedalia, Missouri, USA.

Hoop Jam Summer with Hoopdance Stammtisch

hoopdance stammtisch Who doesn’t love a good hoop jam?! It’s a pretty wonderful thing for most of us, especially as the weather gets warm and we can gather outside with our friends, crank up the tunes, and hoop our little hearts out! Here’s some footage from the first hoop jam of the season in Linz-Land, a district of the upper region of Austria. They’re calling it Hoopdance Stammtisch and a Stammtisch is an informal group meeting held on a regular basis, just in case you were curious. Featuring Isabella Maria of Hoop Dance Austria and several of her hoop friends, watch as they hoop by day and fire hoop once the sun sets too. The soundtrack is “You and I” by the Crystal Fighters and you should get a copy of it for your own collection on iTunes.

How To Plan Your Next Hooping Adventure

Hoopy Travels by Shea Brock

Unless you’re one of the lucky few who live in a big hooping hotspot or major city, odds are you are eventually going to have to travel to hone your craft. And who wouldn’t want to learn from some of the best hoopers in the world, immerse themselves in workshop after workshop, and surround themselves with like minded people just like you – your brothers and sisters in the circle? On the surface it can seem daunting when trying to navigate the world of travel arrangements, ticket prices and all that goes into planning a road trip, but let’s spin it in a different direction. After all, when I went to my first hoop gatherings I went with an open mind and the only regret I had was that I didn’t do it sooner. So here are my tips, otherwise known as the three “R’s”, for making your hoopy excursions happy ones. Oh, and there is going to be a small amount of math involved, so bear with me. You can do it!

1. Research. It pays to do your research. Do your homework people and it makes taming those anxieties so much easier. Some people simply look at the cost and immediately think they can’t go. This is when really breaking it down comes into play and here are a few questions to consider. A) How much does it cost? B) What is included? C) How will I get there? D) Who is going to be teaching? E) What are other people saying about it?

Let’s say the hooping event or retreat that you want to go to costs $600 to register, but it includes most of your food, lodging and all the workshops taught by five favorite hoopers. Considering the average workshop taught by a big name hooper costs around $100 a piece, to me this is a steal. If you have a year to save and you need $600, it averages out to only $11 a week that you need to stick in the cookie jar. So pack a lunch instead of going out, quit smoking, or come up with another creative way to save your change. When you start making the calculations, don’t forget any extras you will need too, like airfare if you decide to fly, taxis, airport meals.

2. Recruit. It’s a lot more fun if you’re not going alone and if flying isn’t your thing, consider a rideshare with friends. Ask local hoopers you know in your greater community or friends if they want to share the experience with you. First, you will need to decide who is driving and how far you are traveling. Determine how much gas you will be using and how you will split the cost. Are there tolls involved? Are you going to share snacks or should everyone bring their own? Is your car small? Does everyone need to coil the big body rocking hoops down or are you tying those puppies to the roof?

And what if you don’t have a local hoop community or friends interested in joining you on an adventure? Do like Kimberly Spivey of Cincinnati, Ohio, did once and turn to social media for help. She told me, “Someone posted something on the Facebook page I admin and from there I was hooked up with another girl looking for someone to ride with. The other girl riding with us needed a hotel roommate, so we turned to Facebook and found 2 more girls who needed to share a room. We didn’t meet in person till the morning we left.” Use that social media to your advantage! Is there an event page on Facebook? Contact the host and see if they know of anyone that could be looking for a rideshare or roommates or might be coming from your greater area.

3. Release. Finally, the last and most important thing in all of this in my opinion, is releasing any preconceived notions you have about leaving home and traveling somewhere you have maybe never been and doing things you have never done with people you have only seen on Youtube. Yes, it can be terribly scary to step out of your comfort zone, but most of the time, that’s where the magic happens.

Case in point. The night before my first big hoop gathering I could not sleep. I lay there wide awake thinking about a hundred different things that could go wrong. That’s just me, that’s how I roll. So, I got to the lovely rolling hills of North Carolina and made my way to the check in table and everywhere I turned I saw one amazing hooper after another. Faces I had only ever seen on my computer screen, having watched their tutorials over and over from the anonymity and safety of my own couch, were there in the flesh. Suddenly there I was standing shoulder to shoulder with some of my favorite hoopers in the world, lil ole me from small town Tennessee!

And then the craziest thing happened. Maybe it was the smell of the burning sage or maybe it was Julia looking deep into my eyes and welcoming me into the circle, but sitting there, listening as each participant gave their reasons for coming out and what they were looking forward to that weekend, I began to feel something I haven’t really felt in the hoop before. I was no longer a solitary hooper hiding out in my backyard, or just a member of my small town tribe. I felt like I belonged, really belonged to this big extended crazy bunch of people. I belonged to this hooping community.

So get out there and rub some shoulders with your family, plan your perfect hoop trip and hit the road. And most importantly, send us pictures. Hoopy Traveling!


Shea Brock Shea Brock loves hooping and sharing the joy of it with everyone she meets. She has a hooping business of her own where she makes and sells hoops and teaches as well – Boro Hoops – and she lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA, where she’s slowly building a whole army of hoopers so she doesn’t have to hoop alone.