Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Hooping for dark times.

Two happy-making things.

I'm not in a good headspace right now; in fact I'm struggling to cope with a lot of day-to-day living.

I know exactly what this is about: one area of my life is unpleasant for me, and I feel like I'm unable to get out of the situation or do anything about it.

I'm feeling powerless.

I'm feeling anxious and disconnected. I'm struggling to find the joy that normally comes so easily to me.

I have, of course, been here before - more times than I wish. So I know the depression will pass; it always does; I just wish it would pass sooner!

I'm trying to keep my head above water by looking after myself physically - eating fruit, getting enough fresh air and sunshine, and going to bed early.

I've also put together a plan to make the unpleasant situation easier, and to [eventually] get away from it.

And each morning I honour my commitment to my hoop. I get up and, no matter how crap I feel, I hoop for 15 minutes. When I can, I hoop during my lunch break and after work.

When I hoop I feel better. My hoop gives me the space to be creative, to move, to free my mind from doubt and fear. I feel "normal" again - as though there is hope for me still.

This morning on Facebook my teacher, Christine [I consider her one of my teachers even though we've never met in person], wrote this:

That way that you feel when you're dancing and it's just you and the music and you've totally got this? That. That's the true you. No baggage. No garbage. Free. You.

Happy hooping,
Anne-Marie x

Wednesday, 16 April 2014


It’s hard for me to believe that once I suffered regularly from dizziness and nausea.
An apparently inherited condition – several female members of my family have it – it appeared to be brought on by stress and tiredness.
It was mild, but it was very unpleasant while it lasted.
When I began hoopdance two years ago I thought I may not be able to continue with it because of the nausea and dizziness. Turning and spinning with the hoop are essential skills, but they made me feel off-balance and sick. But my love for the hoop was so great that I couldn’t give it up. Not even for the sake of my balance. I kept pushing on through and tried to ride the unpleasant sensations rather than fighting them.
And then the day came when I realised I hadn’t had an attack of dizziness and nausea for weeks, then months. Not only that, I was enjoying the sensation making myself dizzy through spinning with my hoop. It’s a different sort of dizziness to the version I used to suffer from, although I can’t exactly explain how. But I do know that spinning in circles can be very focusing – your surroundings disappear and all that’s left are you and your hoop.
I’ve spun myself around for long enough now that I know my dizziness and my body’s reaction to it very well. I know where my edge is and when to stop, so I don’t cause myself harm. I know when the dizziness will kick in. I know what to do to ease the dizziness away.
One of my earliest and most dedicated students also had a problem with dizziness and nausea. She couldn’t do the slowest turn without her head spinning; but she loved to hoop. I shared with her my story. “I can’t guarantee the same thing will happen to you but you never know…”
At Monday night’s hoop jam I noticed this woman doing the most beautiful continuous vortex, which requires a lot of turning. Of course I had to remark on how far she’d come from the days when she was afraid to attempt that move.
She giggled like a girl. “It’s my favourite move. I love spinning in circles!”
Happy hooping,
Anne-Marie x

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Dancing with Tiana.

Tiana Zoumer [front] leads a workshop on chest rolls on the main lawn at NZ HoopFest. Photo by Natasha Halliday.

It’s been two weeks since HoopFest 2014 happened and I’m only just now getting around to writing about it!
I’d been looking forward to HoopFest for months. I love the opportunity to immerse myself in hooping for two whole days, with no distractions. In “real” life, hooping is something I have to fit in around my work and family life. At HoopFest [and Under The Spinfluence] I can forget about both of those responsibilities. HoopFest is held at Brookfield Scout Camp in the hills behind Wainuiomata, where there is no mobile coverage, no internet, no newspaper, no television, no outside world at all. I don’t have to worry about writing tomorrow’s front page lead, or cooking dinner. It’s just me, my hoop and my hoop tribe.
The big drawcard at HoopFest this year was Tiana Zoumer – oh yes, the Tiana Zoumer! For a small hoop community tucked away at the bottom of the world, it was quite something to have a hoop dancer and teacher like Tiana with us.
You know when you meet someone you’ve admired from afar and they turn out to be a disappointment? The opposite happened with Tiana. She is not only a beautiful hoopdancer and an inspiring teacher, she’s also great company and [something that doesn’t come across in her online presence], very funny. She did an hilarious strip tease performance to a Flight Of The Conchords song during HoopFest’s Renegade Show!
Tiana’s two workshops were different from anything else at HoopFest in that she didn’t teach “how to do this move, then this move”; rather she taught concepts that made you think about the way you move your hoop. Her Sunday morning workshop was perfect for those who were tired and hung-over after the Saturday night partying. She taught us how to move our hoops through the air like they were fish in the sea, and she also guided us in a body parts dance in which different parts of the body “led” the dance. It was a good warm-up, and also a great way to create awareness in the body. I’ve practised it several times since I’ve come home and I love it.
I also got the opportunity for a private lesson with Tiana. Oh yeah! We worked on some moves I'd been having trouble with; no quick fixes, but plenty for me to work on. Thanks to Tiana I now have an obsession with chest rolls and body stalls...
Other than that – it was just a brilliant weekend all round. Catching up with old hoop buddies and making new ones; delicious food; wonderful workshops and dazzling shows; hooping all day long and collapsing into bed at night. Bring on the next one!
Happy hooping,
Anne-Marie x