“I can dance with 2 hoops”…that was our mantra for our workshop weekend with Jenn. It was the first thing she asked us to say in our first class and the last thing we said before we left.
And boy can we dance with 2 hoops! Most of us came to the workshop still struggling with one hoop, let alone 2 hoops! But Jenn’s amazing teaching skills, clear explanations, demonstrations and catering to our different needs did in fact get us circus level good!
8 hours later, each of us did a quick performance demonstrating the things we’ve learnt with Jenn. And it was unbelievable how much we’ve picked up in such a short time!
Geometric shapes, epic reveals, on-body splits, 2-beat and 3-beats weaves, making up our own moves…that weekend was rife with new discoveries…and oh so exhilarating!
On day 1, we went for our traditional post-workshop dinner at Karma Kitchen at The Pantry Cafe in Al Wasl Square. A very welcome meal after 4 hours of non-stop double hooping!
Dinner at Karma Kitchen
Day 2 of post-workshop activities involved some epic group hooping at Piknik Electronik. Earth hour was hosted that day and the hoopers lit up the floor with their pretty LED hoops and newly-learnt double hooping tricks!
Jennifer hails from Toronto, Canada. It’s difficult to describe Jenn in words. When I think of her, I think: clowns (click here to find out why!), rainbows, love, warmth and wisdom. You can catch a glimpse of her energy in this video where she gives a sneak peak of what was in store for us for the workshop.
To get to know Jenn even better, see what she had to say in our interview with her below!
1) Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Where are you from? Where you grew up? What is your profession?
I was born and raised in Canada, which means summers spent in the water and winters spent playing in the snow. I attended local public schools and then a University a few hours from home. After my psych degree I went to teachers college, and began working as a teacher soon after graduation. After ten years in the “system” I left public education and opened a private tutoring company. (2000) This occupied most of my life for 15 years. Last July, 2015, I sold the company and I’m now working to re-define myself, my goals, and my income earning options. The lessons I have learned have been invaluable, and this time in my life is exciting and full of unknowns.
2) How did you start hula hooping?
In August, 2010, I attended my first electronic music festival. I had NO idea what to expect at 42 years of age. I brought a few books, and planned on taking long walks. I didn’t even know what a “DJ set” really meant. After 6 days at Shambahala, I was a different person. It was there that I first saw a hooper in flow. It was the most beautiful example of movement to music, and I vowed at that moment to return to the festival one year later, with a hoop and my own dance of self expression. Soon after, with Google’s help, I discovered my hoop mama, Sadie Spins, literally a 5 min drive from my house. Within weeks I was registered in a beginner hula hoop class, and had purchased my first 42” hula hoop! The rest of the story is still unfolding…..
3) What does hooping mean to you? How does it influence your life? What positive changes did it bring about?
Hooping has changed my perspective about what I can accomplish. It has taught me the importance of movement and the celebration of uniqueness. It is a tool of ACTION, you must DO to hoop, it is a partner to learn with. It is my belief that life is about enjoyment in the participation of the learning process. Love, support, growth, beauty, dance, sharing…ect That is all about what hooping means to me.
4) How much time do you spend hooping daily/weekly?
When I first started hoop classes, I practiced diligently in my front room. I was the worst in my class, so I would practice all week, then return to class having mastered the new move. My classmates were always surprised, yet I wasn’t. I found out that they didn’t practice… they didn’t hoop between the classes. I was shocked. I couldn’t help but hoop.
Within a few years I felt part of the community and I hooped at jams and dance events and any place else that I could. These days I teach 4 hoop classes a week, and find that I’m missing personal flow time. I intend to change that.
5) What is your favourite music to hoop to?
Violet aka Purpelle always satisfies my hoop groove. Check her out on Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/
I also LOVE psytrance, but I don’t hoop much to it. A good tech house set makes me and my hoop VERY HAPPY. Sometimes I also love hooping to the soundscapes of Stereo Hypnosis
6) How many hoops do you own?
TOO many. About 16
7) What is your favourite hula hoop to hoop with and why?
My ol’ reliable is my 38” polypro. It’s big enough to go slow, yet light enough to be responsive. I have tons of 36’s and 34’s that I use, but ol’ reliable would be the one I’d pick to take to a desert island if I could only pick one.
8) Who is your biggest hoop inspiration?
I have 4 that deserve mention here. Mo Bot is the most beautiful hooper I know, and I aspire to command my hoop dance as she does. Sadie was the most important influence as she was my sensi. Hoopath (Baxter) speaks to me in terms of purpose and narrative with my hoop, and finally Teeba, who is my current jouneywoman and personal growth hoop-partner.
9) Have you gone to any hoop retreats? If yes- can you share your experiences with us? Do you have a favourite retreat and why?
Countless wonderful teachers have come to Toronto and I’ve gained valuable knowledge from them all. The only two “retreats” I’ve attended are INFLOW, the Canadian retreat, and last year’s Swan Song of the Hooppath National Retreat. Each retreat experience is significant in its own way. As a result of the immersion, my hooping becomes richer in flavour. They are important to the community because they are projects of love and dedication.
10) What is your most memorable hoop memory? Tell us the story.
I have a few hoop memories of movement breakthroughs, like years ago at a fire jam when I nailed my first lift, from leg hooping. I had tried it for weeks at jam but couldn’t do it. The fire and my adrenaline and the focus… everything clicked. There’s also the “ah-ha” moments of finally mastering a 3-beat weave and realizing it’s potential.
My other most memorable hoop experience spans the 5 month period of the1st year of east side hoop jam – the true spirit of freedom, sharing space with nature, love, learning, friendship. That’s where I defined myself as a hooper and felt renewed.
11) Have you faced any challenges hula hooping? If yes please elaborate.
When I first started hooping I was 40 lbs heavier. My knees were sore, my neck and shoulders were tight and inflexible, and I was suffereing from chronic stress. It was a challenge to accept my body for what it was, and to believe in the possibility of me becoming the ‘image of myself as a hooper’ that was in my imagination.
As new friendships were becoming deeper, old friendships suffered. Hooping filled the rest of my very limited time, and it was sometimes a challenge to manage (can be still) the addition of “the hoop” as a relationship in my life.
It’s a challenge to find affordable LED hoops that I can travel with and are beautiful!!!
It’s a challenge to perform. PERIOD.
12) Have you tried any other flow arts? If yes- which one(s) and how was your experience?
POI has been helpful to integrate moves for doubles and I’m just learning fire fans right now (it will help me get gigs – if I actually decide I want gigs – lol)
13) Finally- what advice would you give someone who is new to hooping and just starting out?
– let this experience be a joyful celebration of the leaning process – let it extend out and make applications in your life. Connect with other hoopers and communicate to the world you are a hooper by smiling at humans (and cute animals) when they see you walking with a hoop. It is important to be a hoop ambassador
– hoop dance to your favourite music
– watch other hoopers
Thank you Jenn. Because of you, we can dance with two hoops.
Hoops of love,
For more information on future workshops provided by Flowground, click here. There are some exciting promotions and teachers coming our way!