Sunday, 24 February 2013

HoopFest 2013.

It's been more than a week since I came back from New Zealand HoopFest 2013 but I'm still trying to process it ... so fun and inspirational.

HoopFest was different from Under The Spinfluence because it was solely about hooping. No workshops on poi, fans, acrobalancing, etc. It was smaller, more intimate. I loved that the entire weekend was about hooping and about community. It was held in the same place as Spinfluence - at a scout camp in the hills behind Wainuiomata, near Wellington.

I shared a cabin with my friends Richie, Nicky and Tony [the west coast crew] as well as two other guys. We had our own little shady lawn to hoop on, surrounded by native bush and with a little stream tinkling past just a few steps from our cabin door. Three delicious meals a day, amazing workshops by gifted teachers, a performance show by said gifted teachers, and dozens of other hoopers to spin with at any hour of the day or night. All this for just NZ$95. Phew! It doesn't get any better than that.

Another reason HoopFest was different for me was the teachers. Spinfluence was mostly about community – it was my first experience of hooping with other people, and I revelled in it. I only took a couple of workshops because I was so busy jamming with my new friends. While the community was just as wonderful at HoopFest, it was the workshops that blew me away. We had some great Kiwi hoop teachers and even a few from overseas – Emma Kerr from Kenna Hoops [Britain], Lisa Lu [Germany] and KaytiBunny [United States]. We had workshops on multiple hoops, performance, elbow folds, jumps, floorwork, and others. I loved them all, but the last workshop was my favourite: Lisa’s delightful instructions on “throwing the hoop away”. It must have been a sight to behold, 20 or 30 hoopers finding creative ways to twist, flick and pop their hoops away!

HoopFest was a humbling experience for me, too. Everyone I hoop with in Whanganui [students, family, friends] thinks I’m amazing at hooping. I know I'm not, but being constantly surrounded by people praising my hoop skills can give me the wrong idea. Yes, I'm almost certainly the best hooper in Whanganui ... but having a late-night jam session with Emma Kerr at HoopFest puts that into perspective! It doesn't discourage me - it just makes me more determined to learn, learn, learn.

Here's an article I wrote for about HoopFest 2013, along with some great video footage: New Zealand HoopFest spins it up.

Happy hooping,
Anne-Marie x 

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