Tag Archive for washington dc

Hoops Not Bombs: CODEPINK at the White House

HoopsNotBombs1 by Liz Frederiksen

How do you make protests fun, and get people’s spirits up during what is, to many, a dark time politically in America? This was the question faced by Alli McCracken, National Coordinator of CODEPINK. For the past four years, she has facilitated many important, and decidedly serious campaigns. “Our campaigns generally revolve around advocating for our government to spend less on wars and militarism, and more on things that are good for people and the planet, like healthcare, education, infrastructure, green jobs, and more,” she explained. “We have a lot of actions, like protests and vigils and that sort of thing, which are often times very depressing and related to very sad issues like war and death.”

Thanks to hooping, however, she’s putting a new spin on things. Alli, who has been hooping for a year, and a couple of other staffers who are also hoopers, decided what was needed most at such a sad time was a morale boost, and what better way to share some joy than with the hoop? “We thought it would be fun to host a hoop jam with a political twist in front of the White House,” she said. Hoops Not Bombs was born.


On August 21st 2014, Alli, CODEPINK, and their supporters began assembling on Pennsylvania Avenue, directly in front of the White House lawn where Michelle Obama had shown the world her own hooping skills. There was no trouble organizing, or getting permissions to hoop on the street. A press release for the unusual event ensured a healthy media attendance, and the jam itself drew a crowd. She said, “There’s tons of tourists that walk past the White House at all hours, and they were stoked to see dozens of people hooping to loud, fun music. Lots of them joined us and talked to us about CODEPINK and the work we do.”

HoopsNotBombs4 For several hours, CODEPINK jammed, the tourists took pictures and the media became mesmerized by Keely Madison, because she’s “a bad-ass hooper.” Sometimes they chanted, “Hoops not bombs” over the microphone. With all the laughter and joy, Alli told us “even the Secret Service police looked like they were having fun.”

I couldn’t help but wonder, though, if a hooping protest would somehow disrupt the free-form, often peaceful vibe, that comes with hoop jams. But Alli assured me that not only is it not a problem, but that we should be careful about limiting what hooping is about. “If anything, the amazing hoop community has taught me a lot about love, community, and support–– all things we need more of in the world that can’t be achieved with war.” This is very true, and really, the beauty of hooping is it can mean whatever we want it to mean, and be a form of expression in whatever way is meaningful and important.


While it’s too cold to plan an outdoor event in DC in February, they have plans for more Hoops Not Bombs events this Spring. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for hooping demo news and updates!


lizfrederiksen Contributor Liz Frederiksen was a rhythmic gymnastics performer with Ritmika in the ‘80s/‘90s and participated in the SkyDome (Roger’s Centre) opening ceremonies and Argos football halftime shows in Toronto. After two decades away from rhythmics, she discovered hoop dance and is having fun learning the on-body skills to go with her off-body tricks. She’s a social media consultant and lives in the GTA with her husband, cat and growing collection of hoops! She’s on Twitter and Pinterest.

Shannon Shapeshifter at the National Cathedral

nationalcathedraldrumcircle Many a hooper over the years has made their way to a drum circle somewhere, but how many have made their way to a very special drum circle at the National Cathedral in Washington DC, USA? Shannon Shapeshifter of Shapeshifter Hoop Dance finds herself spinning it up in the center of it all and it’s a pretty magical experience to watch. The drum circle was led by Katy Gaughan. The video was made by Sam Janesko. They live in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA, and the soundtrack for this is live drumming.

Hooping in Puerto Rico with Anna Pineapple

annapineapplepuertorico Watching this fun travel video of Anna Pineapple of Pineapple Photos makes you want to take a trip to beautiful and sunny Puerto Rico. She demonstrates her skills with a LED hoop surrounded by trees lit with twinkle lights on the beach at dusk, and she even throws in some snorkeling footage for good fun. This was filmed by Andy Shevitz who can be seen handling her hoop in one scene. They live in Washington, DC, USA, and the excellent soundtrack to this video is “Sway (The Chainsmokers Remix)” by Anna of the North and it is available for you to download over on iTunes.

Hoop Dreams with Lisa DeLuca and Friends

LisaDeLuca Don’t miss this fun hooping video! Lisa DeLuca of Hoopafly spins up something sensational with her friends in this beautiful and visual story of a girl who has fallen down the rabbit hole into a dream world where she is surrounded by hoops and friends. Filmed by Karla Espino, Lisa currently lives in Washington, DC, USA, and the soundtrack here is called “Steve McQueen” by M83 and you can download a copy of it for your very own over music collection on iTunes.

Cirque du Soleil’s Veera Kaijanen

Veera Veera Kaijanen demonstrates true discipline and passion in her show reel from “Amaluna” for Cirque du Soleil. The mystic wonder and magic of her Cirque performance inspires, all of her hula hoop moves executed with sleek precision and flawless technique. Once you catch a glimpse of the choreography constructed here by Veera herself, we’re pretty sure you’ll be melting in your seat. Originally from Finland, she’s currently living in Washington, DC, USA, and the soundtrack for her performance is a composition by Kimmo Olavi.

Summer Beach Hooping with Violet Ponderosa

Violet Ponderosa Hooping Violet Ponderosa from Hooping Idol 4, otherwise known as Sara Violette Harrison, spins up some summer with her hoops at the beach. Yay! She says, “I had so much fun being able to hoop on the beach this summer. Although hooping in the sand was a challenge.” It really is if you haven’t tried it, and she still looks brilliant. Filmed in Cape May, New Jersey, she lives in Washington, DC, USA, and the soundtrack for this is called “The Sound of Sunshine” by Michael Franti & Spearhead, a hooping favorite of many, and you can get a copy of it for your very own over on iTunes.