Skip Navigation LinksJanuaryNovember2009


Welcome to January - November 2009

Highlights of the year

  • Arts Gateway MK Funding
    Performing Polly, Pepper & The Hoop People
    Hoopgirl Training
  • Bodyhoops Training
  • Hoop Dance Discos
  • Being able to do the full shoulder duck out!
  • Selling over 130
    hoops locally.

Well, I think I give myself the thumbs down with keeping my hooping journal up to date!  :o)  This year has run away with me somewhat as I’ve delved more into progressing my hooping business, so the time to write never seemed to present itself.


This year has been lots of fun!


At the start of the year I had created a piece of storytelling theatre which was written for key stage one pupils, the text was written by me and I spent quite some time editing it down, getting feedback from my peers, revising all over again.  I then thought about taking it to the next stage and started to research how to get my story into schools.  It was at this point that I got in contact with the Arts Education Forum in Milton Keynes and came in to contact with two pivotal people.  I received the most amazing support from MK Arts Education Forum and with their support was able to be supported into going into 8 schools in my area.  MKAEF contacted the schools to notify them of what I was offering and all schools took up the offer!  I was overjoyed to say the least.  The schedule had filled so then rehearsals had to be organised.  I’m the kind of actor that believes self directing can potentially be problematic, I feared being too close to the material and really wanted some perspective and a fresh pair of eyes.  I remembered a colleague I worked with on an acting job and new she was the person to contact to direct me.  I worked with professional actress, director and voice coach Jules Craig and as I suspected she proved to be a perfect choice!  The scripts went through one more change and then voila, the show was ready for performance, except I had yet to choreograph the dance routine with the hoops!  I actually really enjoyed the choreography despite being a bit un-schooled in how to approach it!  I was very happy about what I came up with. 


I was very prepared for my first show and was very keen to see how the children responded to it, at the end of the show the pupils were very happy, they bundled me with hugs and the teacher and teaching assistants had a great time to!  I went home feeling very happy and pleased with the impact of the work!  The next 3 weeks were going to be fun!  I have to proudly say that all 8 schools had an amazing time, pupils, teachers and other educational staff thoroughly enjoyed it, some teachers signed up for my courses! 


I had hosted a hoop dance disco in March and although it was poorly attended it was great fun to organise and host.  I loved decorating the space, choosing the music, setting up the equipment, I had most attendees coming from out of the area.  It wasn’t until October that I did another disco, thankfully the turn out had improved, still room for improvement though!


I was also very dedicated to raising the profile of hoop dance in Milton Keynes and the word of mouth aspect was proving fruitless, one of the best things that I did was an advertorial for MK Pulse, it was great to write an article to promote hoop dance!  I also wanted to branch out to areas outside of Milton Keynes and it was suggested that Olney was a good place so I found a place to hire, organised a taster session and sadly no-one turned up, I was alerted to the Olney Phonebox and placed an advertorial with them too!  I had an overwhelming response!  More hoopers than I could accommodate so I had to run 2 courses!  It felt fantastic and the students there are amazing!  I have a core group of hoopers who return to all courses I run, it makes me very pleased to know that they are genuinely enjoying themselves and wanting to gain more mastery of their skills!  They look absolutely amazing! 


MK Pulse have been very kind since that first article allowing me to do another advertorial, again it was great to be in print again and keeping the voice of hoop dance active.  After a lot of work I managed to get an article in the main paper in the area, I was expecting a smallish interview but found my little face on the front cover of the entertainment section, it was quite overwhelming to see that and I couldn’t take it in!  The article itself was amazing but again overwhelming, I wasn’t able to read it for a few days but when I did I felt very proud indeed!


I have also had the amazing experience of appearing on BBC Three Counties Radio on a live show, so exciting, telling the listeners all about hooping, a random and much enjoyed experience! 


I was able to attend HoopGirl Training and had the great pleasure of meeting and learning from one of my favourite hoop dancers that I’d gotten to know via youtube and instructional dvds.  I had been a little bit stressed before I got to my first lesson but the moment I met Christabel I felt very relaxed!  I had intended to do level 1 & 2 but the trainings were so good and I was so intoxicated by the learnings taking place that the thought of missing out on level 3 filled me with great sadness.  Thankfully Christabel made it possible for me to train, so I’m delighted to have got all 3 levels of hoop girl teacher training!  The whole experience was a real pleasure and was one of the most happiest times I’ve had this year, I did plenty of emotional blubbing and most of my pics were teary tears of hoopy happiness and bliss!  Oh the shame of blubbing in front of hooping idols!  Ah well!  I’m only human!


My courses are developing very well indeed.  I remember this time last year I had 3 – 4 students per class and now I have anywhere between 6 – 14 students per course.  I have 3 venues that I use and enjoyed a flow of 7 sell out courses in Bradwell Common, Olney and Wolverton!  I never thought my classes would fill up or that I’d be doing more than one course so I’m delighted that the courses are improving in term of attendance.


The most pleasurable aspect of teaching is seeing students smile and laugh while they enjoy learning.  I love to see that although some students never imagined they would hoop on the waist completely do a u-turn in there thinking as the majority of students succeed with their waist hooping on the first session, they then can progress onto other things that perhaps they thought they’d never do, the look of surpassing their expectations is what makes me love to teach.  When they smile, I smile!  I love to see students before class has started practicing their moves and sometimes I don’t want to teach at all and sit back and watch the students enjoying themselves!  I love that I run courses because everyone starts from the same place and hopefully feel connected to each other and can share where they are in their learning!  Ah, teaching hoop dance for me is bliss.


I was also extremely lucky at the beginning of the year to gain funding by the MK Arts Gateway, if it wasn’t for them I would never have been able to take my business to the next level.  I find filling out form etc a little intimidating, getting figures and quotes was new to me, thankfully support was available and the process was made approachable.  I have to thank Nicky Prince for her help and to the lady who interviewed me, terrible I forgot her name, but she was great to speak to and it was a real pleasure to talk about hoop dance to her and my aspirations locally.


I’m very keen to promote the benefits to the community hoop dance can offer and was very happy to organise an event called hoop for willen to help raise money for a local hospice.  Despite notifying the students I had at the time I only managed to get one other person to come and do it with me.  In my mind I imagine at least 15 of us!  Optimism is good though!  Never the less I was able to raise a small amount of money to contribute which is better than nothing at all, perhaps next year I will do better in getting people involved!  I also donated some money from Spirit Hoop Cake to another charity.  Supporting charities is important to me as for some it is all to easy to forget about or dismiss those around us who made need assistance or help, and these people or organisations benefit greatly from anyone able to contribute. 


The only things that have disappointed me this year is the lack of time I’ve had to spend time hooping for leisure.  My focus is so much on teaching that I have neglected to make time for my own hooping practice and style.  The abundant training I’ve had over the year has improved my style but gone seem the days when I could hoop the night away in my kitchen!  I’ve also been a bit out of the loop with some hooping events in London.  I really enjoy the Hoopswhirled Hoop Clubs and haven’t been able to go all year – gutted!  There is also a group in Leamington Spa which I haven’t had a chance to go to yet!  I wish the attendance at the discos improve enough for me to make a regular event, those occasions I can listen to loud yummy hoop friendly tunes and just do my own thing!  I noticed that I don’t seem that aware of those around me and loose myself jamming away in my own way!  I love dancing with others with the hoop, it’s so much fun!


I am so happy to have seen Diana Lopez again this year too!  She looks amazing!  So good to touch base with her and learn more things!


My interviews have been very thin on the ground towards the mid to late parts of the year, I have sent out interviews but hoopers are very busy and some have had such busy schedules they’ve been unable to send back responses as soon as I get them you will read them!  I have some interesting interviews coming up soon so watch this space!


I have been performing hoop dance but definitely want to do more of that!  I’ve been to many events to hoop from private parties, music & dance festivals, club nights and launch nights!  All fantastic but my urge to perform more is colossal!


A hidden surprise that hoop dance has bought me is friendship!  Since I’ve started I have managed to widen my group of friends.  I have cemented a friendship with someone I met at Hoop Club last year, and several other friends and re-iterate the friendly nature of the majority of hoop dancers.  The presence of hooping in my life has given me many hidden delights and I only hope that the hoop has made a great impact in a positive way for those who are new to it!


So as 2009 begins to draw it’s curtains I look back over the year and am more than grateful for what I’ve learnt, the achievements I’ve made and for having shared hoop dance with as many people as possible.  2010 I hope to continue building on the foundations I’m laying, definitely will keep my journal up to date even if I only write a few words!  I promise I will!