How I got started hooping

Seven years ago today, I was an unwilling participant in a hoop dance class. Tracey, the keitaigoddess and my dear friend, dragged me along. “It’s fun, you should try!”

I could not get behind that idea. At the time, I was doing freelance video editing, writing, and spending lots of time in front of a computer. I did not dance. And I definitely did not hula hoop.

But Tracey is persistent and was trying to help her friend, Deanne, who’d just started teaching classes in Tokyo. So after a few times saying no, I capitulated even though I didn’t want to. It was easier to say yes and get it over with.

I especially didn’t want to go to Deanne’s class because on 8/8/8 there was a World Hoop Day event at Yoyogi Park. Tracey encouraged me to attend – we’d meet there after work and it would be a fun evening together. Except that I got there before her and spied people moving and laughing through the trees. They looked much more graceful/energetic/cool/young/interesting than me. From a safe spot out of their sight, I called Tracey to see when she’d arrive and found out she was running an hour late. I left the park. My shy, low self-esteem persona could not approach the beautiful people alone.

Needless to say, I was terrified to take that first hoop dance class.

My fears were unfounded. Not only was Deanne encouraging and friendly, but I could hoop! It was such a surprise. So much fun; Tracey was right. I bought two hoops from Deanne the next day – her last two from Bunny Hoop Star in Sydney –  and regularly attended her classes and workshops. I spent a delightful half year of intensive learning and experimenting with fellow Hooplovers students, Amanda and Stina.

Hoop dance set off a cascade of new experiences. I took dance classes and started doing yoga. I performed, taught, & made hoop videos.  I tried my hand at hoop choreography with the WHD Dance. Deanne and I started Spin Matsuri Retreat as a Japan-based hoop camp experience in 2009. I attended overseas hoop & juggling events in the US, Australia, and Europe. I did a “world tour” with my own classes in 2012. Ran away with the circus in 2013 and now I am about to launch new projects in social circus.

So take it from me, if someone suggests you go to a hoop dance class your best answer is “yes!”

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