I was first introduced to flow arts when I saw a girl hooping with an LED at a concert. The way she & the hoop moved seemingly effortlessly together was so entrancing to me, and I thought to myself, “That’s so cool, but it could never be me.” I thought of myself as too uncoordinated and awkward to dance like that, and you can forget it if other people are watching! Plus, I could never hula hoop as a kid…so there’s not a chance that I could learn as an adult, right?
Wrong, of course. I bought a hula hoop the next day. I don’t know what made me do it, but I’m grateful for whatever it was. It didn’t take long until I began to crave these moments with my hoop. I learned to love the weight of it, it’s shine, it’s perfect shape. I found tiny accomplishments in learning how to control the speed of the hoop around my waist, neck, or hands, and how to use gravity to my advantage. I followed some hula hoopers on Instagram and would watch in awe, then try to mimic what they were doing. One of those accounts I began following was the Philadelphia Spin Coalition (SpinCo).
After a year or so, I started taking hooping more seriously and created a separate Instagram account for hooping videos. I immediately felt welcomed into the online hooping community, and in the real world as well. By using the hashtag #PhillyHoopers, I was able to meet other hoopers and we’d learn from one another. I attended some SpinCo workshops as well, and when their volunteer applications opened, I applied. I have now been volunteering with The Philadelphia Spin Coalition for a little over 2 years.
There are many benefits of being a SpinCo volunteer, including workshops where you can learn from the best flow artists in the country, social events, custom props, camaraderie, and performance opportunities. However, my favorite part of being a SpinCo volunteer is working the community events. There is no better feeling in the world, to me, than when a wide-eyed child sees what we are doing and jumps right into that hoop and throws it around their body, grinning! I love to encourage adults to try as well. Almost always, they are surprised at themselves – at the kid inside of themselves, and they certainly always leave smiling.
It is through hooping that I have changed my entire lifestyle and outlook on life. It is continually humbling to me, to realize that to some people maybe I am that girl at the concert. Maybe you will see SpinCo volunteers at the next community event, and we will inspire YOU to pick up a hula hoop and practice in your living room… and maybe you’ll be joining our team next summer! Check out below for the volunteer video We Love Philly made for SpinCo ! You can also listen to the podcast with our Executive Director, Rebecca Johnson at the top of this blog post