Skip Navigation LinksCraigHoopLaLa










I remember when I first got into hooping and my friends told me to check out Hoop La La, when I researched them I was more than amazed at how they fuse hooping with circus skills and comedy.  Vibrant, dynamic and quite frankly breathtakingly awesome I introduce to you Craig aka The Incredible Hula Boy from Hoop La La!  He’s amazing, read on to find out all he has to say about our favourite hoopy hobby! 

 

 

 

 

 

 








Craig thank you so much for being generous enough to give your time!  How are you?

I’m fine thank you very much, Ive been in Germany for the last few months working in a Variete theatre with my hula-hoop act and looking forward to getting back to the UK in the next few days.

 

I have so many questions, I have no idea where to start!  Before we go onto your amazing hoop skills I think it’s really important to start at the beginning with your circus training in Scotland.  How did that begin?  What was the first circus skill you acquired and what is it about circus skills that captured your attention and desire to learn more about it?

I started out doing competitive artistic gymnastics however we also created a performance for fun once a year. This included equipment work with gymnastic apparatus and choreography to music. I got more involved as I grow older and became the chorographer for the club. I decided if I wanted to take this further I would have to earn new skills and in 2005 I started the circus arts degree at the Circus space in London.

I have so many questions, I have no idea where to start!  Before we go onto your amazing hoop skills I think it’s really important to start at the beginning with your circus training in Scotland.  How did that begin?  What was the first circus skill you acquired and what is it about circus skills that captured your attention and desire to learn more about it?

I started out doing competitive artistic gymnastics however we also created a performance for fun once a year. This included equipment work with gymnastic apparatus and choreography to music. I got more involved as I grow older and became the chorographer for the club. I decided if I wanted to take this further I would have to earn new skills and in 2005 I started the circus arts degree at the Circus space in London.

 

I know that you trained at the Circus Space in London (you’re so lucky!), can you tell us about the skills and the teaching your received there?  Is there a defining moment you can share with us from your training there?

We did training in theatre, movement, juggling, acrobatics, yoga…the list goes on. Included in the course is our specialisation, mine been hula-hoop. I had lots of different teachers with lots of different techniques so it was really interesting for me to see the same move but done slightly differently. A defining moment? Well I think its when I first hula-hooped around the waist. Before I started to chose what my specialisation would be at the Circus space I borrowed a fellow students hula-hoop to play with but I really struggled for a long time  - I wasn’t a natural at hula-hooping. However with time it finally come to me.

 

At what point was it that you came into contact with hoops?  Tell me all about why you were taken in by the power of the hoop?  What attracted you to it?

My first point of contact with hoops is when I first started the degree and met my fellow student Tiina Tuomisto who had trained with hula-hoops for many years in Finland. We talked about what she did and I thought it sound ridiculous so I asked if I could watch her train. I was blown away with what I was shown. She is amazing with hula-hoops and a very talented hand balancer and contortionist with she blends all together in her act - I was very inspired.

 

So tell me about your learning process Craig.  Did you find it easier to acquire your hoop skills due to your already established body knowledge from your gymnastics and circus background?  Please share any golden nuggets of your approach to your practice?

There quite different skills so I don’t think they helped each other too much. But that made it very interesting for me as I was learning something very different. However my gymnastics background does come in handy when it comes to handstands and flips on stage.

 

A lot of people will know you from your appearance on Britains Got Talent, what was it that encouraged you to apply to perform there?  Can you share a little bit about the whole experience for you?  What gave you the urge to appear on the show?  How did it feel to get so much support from the public?  If you have the chance to do it all again would you?  I watched you and know that I speak on behalf of many people when I say your performance was bad ass good! 

Thank you for the compliments! We got asked to apply months before the audition but we didn’t say yes till the day before. The whole experience was something quite unique. Our acts were all made for the stage so when creating something for TV we had to think about how it would look on the screen. A lot of hula-hooping tricks just don’t look all that interesting on screen so we played about with characters, memorable images and hooping that looked effective on screen. Would I do it again? No, I feel we have achieved a lot from the show and don’t feel the need to do it again.

 

I read from your website that you have done a hoopy production of The Wizard of Oz!  That sounds like so much fun!  Unfortunately I never saw it, can you tell more about what I missed out on?  Do you have any plans to do anything similar in the future?  If so, spill the details Craig, I’d love to know what story to look forward to seeing!

‘Somewhere over the rainbow’ was an act I did years ago which told the story of the Wizard of Oz using hula-hoops. I wanted to take the audience on a journey and create different atmospheres. I going to be bringing it back this year so hopefully you will have a chance to see it.

 

When you’ve have stopped rehearsing and practicing your hooping skills for shows and private parties do you ever just jam it with your hoop and your favourite tune?  If so what music are you getting your hoop on to?

At the moment I haven’t a chance to stop performing or practicing new acts in a very long time so when I get a chance to stop I usually concentrate on something totally different like new moves or handstands. What do I listen to? I shuffle my ipod and let it decide for me.

 

You also teach hula hooping skills in London, tell us more about what to expect when we decide to come along?  Do you focus on your circus style approach or have you got something else in store for your students?

I personally teach on the Circus Space degree program when Im in London where I am one of four different teachers for hula-hoop. I guess you could say I teach the ‘Circus’ style of hula-hooping. I do teach workshops and classes but I haven’t really had the time recently to commit to regular class.

 

What is the most rewarding aspect of teaching for you?

Its great to see the students progress over time, I find it rewarding them improving and achieving new skills.

 

I your performance name, I’m really curious though, where did the name Hoop La La originate from? 

We had had loads of names to choose from that we thought up and this one was suggested by our friends Charlotte and Chris. We didn’t instantly pick it I think we spent a few months playing with different names but in the end this is the one that just felt right.

 

As far as I’m concerned there are too few UK male hoopers out there, what benefits can men gain from getting into the hoop?  Do you have any insights as to why some men seem reticent about exploring this movement practice?  Please help me encourage more men into hooping!  Men look fantastic in hoops!

People approach the hula-hoop with preconceived ideas. I don’t blame them really – we all remember it as a kids toy. I say don’t judge a book by its cover and give it ago and prepared to be hooked!

 

 

So what’s in store for The Incredible Hula Boy and Hoop La La in the future?  Any events coming up that we can all come watch and support you at?  We need and hunger for Hoop La La and Hula Boy treats!

Ive got a new acts to show and a some exciting projects coming up. Please take a look on my website or follow me on twitter (hulaboycraig) where I will try and keep you all up to date!

 

Thank you so much Craig for spending some time with Spirit Hoop Cake readers, we really appreciate all that you have to say!

I encourage you all to visit: www.hulaboy.co.uk as well as ww.hooplala.co.uk  

What are you waiting for?  Go there next and come back for another slice of Spirit Hoop Cake!

All Photography of Hula Boy credited to Bertil Nilsson 2008