Suzy Spindoll takes us on her journey from dropping her hoop to leading her community to experience joy and freedom for themselves.
When I hold a hula hoop in my hands I feel light. The hoop feels like an extension of my body; a protective sacred circle around me; but also a challenging and agile partner in The Dance. Sounds perfect! Hah! It hasn’t always felt this way. And yes, I still drop my hoop.
I remember when I first tried using a hula hoop. I was enrolled in a basic circus skills course and sometimes my instructor would get us spinning a hoop on our waists as a warm-up. I say spinning but usually, there was more dropping and picking up involved on my part. I was thus convinced that I was destined never to be able to use a hoop and didn’t know ‘the secret’’ to hula hooping successfully.
I didn’t, however, mourn this fact but simply accepted that hula hooping wasn’t for me and moved on. Besides, there was plenty of other circus equipment that I did know how to use.
Eventually, after a couple of years in the air, I found myself drifting away from the aerial circus and I wanted to try something new and a bit more accessible and portable but just as fun. I’d always been envious of the hula hoop teacher at my circus and had fleetingly wished that I could do all the amazing tricks that she could. But by the time I had come to that decision she had left and I ended up trying some classes at a local community college instead.
I was taught the basic principles of hula hooping in a fun class one step at a time and made some new friends to boot. I had finally “got” hooping and then I did another class and then another until it was all too easy for me.
The next step was finding a community of hoopers and other flowmies and discovering a thing called a “flow jam”. Here I could be social and learn some cool tricks from some master hoopers at the same time. After a while, I even got to the stage of inventing some of my own moves.
And then I left it all behind to move away and become the only hooper in the village. Since then I have started a monthly flow and circus jam that’s now been running for over a year, taught my own kids workshops and teach adults how to hula hoop regularly and also run kids circus parties.
Through my flow jams, I’ve also created a bit of a flow community here in the Blue Mountains, made connections with a drumming circle and met a bunch of amazing locals.
Sometimes it’s just me in the gardens at my flow jams alone with my faithful dance partner tracing patterns in the air. I never know who’s going to show up.
I do have future hoop dreams and I also know that I have a very long way to go to achieve these but I have the time and space to do so and picking up this little plastic circle has given me the confidence and opportunity to heal some of my past scars through music, play and dance. I hope to be able to introduce others to this amazing gift. Sometimes I do find my hoop journey frustrating but when I give the gift of hooping to someone to see their face light up with joy it makes it worthwhile.
Follow Suzy Spindoll at School of Hooping