|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!