Hi! It’s been a while since I’ve posted- sorry! With Ramadan and Eid (and a bunch of other things), I have been barely able to catch my breath! But I promise you the wait is worth it as in this post I present to you Sheila! A phenomenal woman, a federal worker, and a grandmother of five!
You MUST see the awesome collaboration videos she has been involved with, inspirational!
Thank you Sheila for sharing your experiences with us.
1) Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Where are you from? Where you grew up? What is your profession?- I am employed as a federal worker for the Dept. of Research and Development and have been there for 30 years. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, but reside in New Jersey where I have for almost 30 years. I have three beautiful adults., (I call them adults because they’re grown and on their own) lol!., and 5 beautiful grandchildren.
2) How did you start hula hooping? – As with most girls growing up, I used to play outside with my friends. We would jump rope, ride our bikes, play other street games and hula hoop as well. One day my boyfriend and I were walking through a park in New Jersey, and saw a woman with beautiful hoops all around her. We walked over to her and asked about the hoops and she told me that she gave classes on Monday evenings. I couldn’t wait to start taking classes with her and purchased my very first hoop that she made just for me which I still use from time to time. I had no idea that adult women were into hooping especially since I hadn’t really seen or paid any attention to hoops since I was a child., and so my journey began.
3) What does hooping mean to you? How does it influence your life? What positive changes did it bring about?
I came up with an idea to start a group of my own, entitled, “You Know You’re Addicted to Hooping When…?”. I had no idea that things would ex grow into where things are today. The group has grown to over 1,200 members from all walks of life from all around the world. I wanted to take this group and make it something unique and original and show the world exactly what this art form is all about. I had a vision, but no idea of where to start, so I decided to have the members submit video clips and I would compile a collaboration of the clips put to music to create a story. To date, the group and I have performed over 14 international hoop dance collaborations. My first video being “No More War”. With all that’s going on the world today I wanted to make a statement through dance and performance and to show and encourage unity.
7) What is your favorite hula hoop to hoop with and why?– I would have to say my 34″ 5/8 inch hot pink polypro from Kemmithoops. There’s just something about that hoop that I really love. For one its the color (hot pink) and secondly it just seems to move right with me and my off body movements.
8) Who is your biggest hoop inspiration?– All of the hoopers, in my group, and throughout the industry are extremely inspiring to me. I’m extremely fond of Paige LaWall and Ali Williams. They have a different flow than most, extremely graceful. The list goes on, and I would be writing for days about all the artists who I admire and respect: Caroleena Mabry, who gave me the inspiration and guidance to start producing group videos and who has been a real mentor to me; Jamie Torres, who has been a true friend and someone who always provides me with good advice and direction, but if I had to select one individual person hoop dance inspirer, I would have to say Deanne Love. Her tutorials were some of the first on Youtube that I started viewing and hooping with. It actually feels kind of cool to have Deanne right in my living room with me.
12) Have you tried any other flow arts? If yes- which one(s) and how was your experience? If not, which flow art would you be interested in trying? – Not yet, but Buugeng staff’s are definitely on my to do list. I’ve been looking on line and have had several conversations with members in the flow arts community on these., (where to purchase, etc.) I absolutely love the way they look and I’m completely mesmerized by them. I’m looking forward to trying them.
13) What advice would you give someone who is new to hooping and just starting out? – I would say “Never Quit”. Hooping isn’t easy, but if you want to become successful at this, you really do need to practice and have play time with your hoops as much as possible. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get the move the first time. Certain moves have to be embedded into your muscle memory in order to get it. Some moves come easier for others than most and some are really difficult, but don’t give up. Frustration is natural, just put them down, and go back to them the next day. I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve knocked myself in the head, eye and nose trying to get a move, and it hurts, but the persistency in me will stop for a minute and then tell myself out loud, “Ok, let’s try this again”.
14) What quality do you most admire in a hooper? – I would say, the ability to flow with the hoop and make each transition look perfectly flawless. I know that this is a difficult task which takes lots of practice, but once this is achieved, it looks so beautiful.
15) What hoop move are you currently struggling with/trying to perfect? – Paddles and breaks, and knee hooping and really dancing in the hoop. Tricks are beautiful, but when you can move inside of your hoop and just let it flow in either current fluently, that is such a beautiful thing to visualize.
16) Do you have any current or future projects you would like to share with us?