Ways of Knowing: Mysticism in Hoop Dance Flow (An Atmosphere Gathering Workshop)

I’ve been spending the past few days refining the elements of my upcoming workshop at Atmosphere Gathering, when, mind-mapping over coffee this morning, I had a sudden and powerful recollection.

It was at the Atmosphere festival (in its earlier incarnation as The Big Time Out) about 10 years ago when I really became inspired by hoop dance.  I had taken a hula hooping workshop before, but put the hoop away for a couple of years and forgot about it.  I had found one laying about at this festival: curious me picked it up.

My toddler son and his dad were amazingly preoccupied (napping?) at the time, so I indulged in this playful session with the hula hoop, with an abandon only a mom of a small child and an even smaller amount of free time could, to the beats of amazing live music coursing through my body.

After some time, a friend came up to me and said, “You are really good at that!”

Now, I’m not mentioning this compliment to toot my own horn, but to point out that what my friend was seeing was not my skill set (I could barely even waist hoop at the time) but myself captured in the beauty of flow.  Her kind words only reinforced the “goodness” of my feelings, and sent me on a hoop dance trajectory in pursuit of the flow experience.

Flow in others is a delight to watch, but flow in the self is blissful to feel.  It is a psychological phenomenon where the activity’s challenge meets the person’s skill set. Expertise is not required in order to reach flow.  Indeed, I was a very beginner hula hooper and I was in flow.  This is not to say there are not times now where I feel disappointed or frustrated with my hoop dance flow; yet, it always feels special and new when it does happen.

We can feel flow in any activity: from washing dishes to climbing a mountain.  I find myself trying to become more aware of those times when I am in flow throughout the normal course of my day because these moments can potentially lead to a more fulfilling life.

So now, I find it quite touching that I will be teaching a workshop on hoop dance flow at the same festival where I found it, around a decade ago.  My hoop and I have come full circle (ha ha).

Mysticism in Hoop Dance Flow: Sunday, August 20, 12pm Forest Stage

I love making connections between things I am passionate about, and the circle of the hula hoop is an apt symbol to integrate the oneness of all (mysticism), with the union of movement (flow), and the integration of our ways of knowing.

In the workshop we will:

  • Examine the connection between mysticism and flow

  • Use our four ways of knowing to learn skills and help integrate flow into our hoop dance.  We will be accessing our physical intelligence, our mental intelligence, our emotional intelligence and our imaginations in order to foster flow.

This workshop is suitable for all levels!  As well as learning basic hoop skills for newcomers, I invite the intermediate and the advanced hooper to come and explore their mastered moves in new and playful ways.  In fact, this workshop may benefit the flow artist who is feeling stuck or repetitive in their current flow.  The focus will be on joy and playfulness.  Many people relate to having mystical experiences as children: I invite you to bring the open and curious child in you to this workshop.

Hoops will be provided!

xo The Spin Jinny

 

 

 

 

Confessions Two: Exposure and Expression (Part 1)

About a year and a half ago, I joined Instagram.  My main motivation was the “Trump your Cat” movement where people were brushing their kitties then putting the loose fur on their heads in a haphazard toupee.

I have a ginger tabby, and as a result, I thought he would be a suitable candidate for presidency.  Orange-ish toupee?  Check!  Clearly, an unattractive hair piece is all it takes  to run a campaign?  Certainly, my cat would do a better job than Trump?

That’s when I thought Trump was some kind of weird joke.  I don’t think I would subject my cat to this humiliation now given the current reality of the situation.

Original Donald Trump Cat Toupee
Not my cat

Anyway, as I perused Instagram, I discovered not only was it populated by many, many cats, but many, many hula hoopers as well!  Cats and hoops! Well, I’ll be!  For me that was an addictive combo and I quickly became hooked.

Like everything in this rapidlychangingtechnologicalworld (yes, that phrase has now become a word in its own right), people feel strongly about social media exposure.  Some people–and not just older generations, but the younger ones as well–think people post too much, give out tmi, expose too much flesh, use too many filters–the list of criticisms go on and on.  Quite often I hear these comments directed at how women present themselves in social media.  Maybe men are criticized too, but because I am a woman perhaps I notice this more with women.

Awhile ago, one of the Kardashians posted a selfie of her naked body’s reflection in a mirror, her middle finger defiantly pricked up, with a comment along the lines as, “I love my body for all its imperfections so eff you world.”  I don’t follow the goings on of this family at all, but I reacted strongly (internally) to this image.

First,  I doubted the authenticity of her statement.  She seems pretty proud of her body, and it seems to be a beauty ideal most of us don’t share.  I mean, how extreme are those curves?!  I’m sure she spends a lot, a lot, of time and money on her body and has the luxury to rid herself of perceived imperfections and to cultivate a form that represents the epitome of physical female beauty.  Flat tummy, large breasts, perky bum, toned thighs:  she’s shaped like a babe from a Conan the Barbarian comic book.  I felt her statement to be false and grandoise.

And her vapid expression annoys me, to be honest.  Does she ever say anything worthwhile?  (I wouldn’t know, since I don’t follow her goings on).

You see, I originate from a school of feminism where I think women should be celebrated for their thoughts and not their bodies.  However, I also applaud burlesque dancing and how much of contemporary feminism involves a woman’s freedom to love and express her physicality and sexuality.  Yet, If burlesque is considered more of an art form that embraces all body types, conversely I have frequented and performed in strip clubs (not as a stripper, but as a hooper for a cancer research fundraiser) and I am not offended by them in the least.  Stripping, one might argue, is sex in its most base expression.  And yet, I had to add the caveat “not as a stripper but as a hooper” because although I support women in their occupational choices, I fear being morally judged, myself.  It was for cancer research, after all.

This Kardashian post, to me, seemed like an ego-driven attention seeking action… But, oh oh, double standard alert!!!  How is what she is doing any different than a burlesque dancer doing a strip tease for an audience, or me posting three hooping videos back to back on Instagram, wearing nothing but leggings and a sports bra?  Are we not all seeking some sort of attention?  Is it because she is a Kardashian that I automatically reject anything she does as worthwhile?  Is it her celebrity I find offensive, or her act?

If I had a daughter, I would want to raise her to be a combination of her intellect, her emotions, her passions, not as an expression of her body, but of her mind.  But then, where does her body come into it?

All of this really made me question how I felt about how women presented themselves in social media.  There are a lot of hoopers on Instagram who like to hoop in their underwear.  Bums are in style.  I enjoy a good bum, myself.  However, my initial reaction was to question why do these lovely young women feel the need to dance in their underwear?  Don’t they want to be appreciated for their skills rather than their skin?  Are they trying to garner some sort of extra attention, clicks, likes, followers?

My judgements were quickly challenged when I realized I had certain situations and contexts where being scantily clad while hooping were, for me, morally acceptable.

For example, hooping in your bikini on the beach=OK.

If that bikini went up your butt=cue mild outrage.

Hooping in your briefs and t-shirt although said hooper is actually more covered than in a bikini=mild outrage.

What was with these weird  and arbitrary compartments in which I placed my morality?

hula4
I’m okay with vintage boobies, but what about modern bum bums?

I am realizing I will need to do a part two on this discussion, but I will end it for the time being with the above image, which I love, of a Ziegfeld Girl holding a hoop.  I love the Ziegfeld dancer portraits by photographer Alfred Cheney Johnston.  How do I reconcile this image within my compartmentalized morality?

To be continued…

 

 

 

Performance

photo by Ron Pogue

 

ArtsWells “Festival of All Things Art,” August 1-4, 2014.

I loved this festival, village, and landscape so much I want to move there.  I still have to convince my family, though.

 

Atmosphere, Cumberland BC August 15-17, 2014

 

photo by Ron Pogue

PAST PERFORMANCES 2014

 

Canada Day Variety Show at the Sid Williams Theatre, Courtenay BC, July 1, 2014

Guest hoop dancer with Island Hula Hoopla

 

Elevate the Arts, Courtenay BC, June 4-7

Fire show with NOVA Firespun Arts

Solo bellyhoop dance at the Tribal Cafe, hosted by Cathy Stoyko and New Horizons Belly Dance

 

Taiwanese Lantern Festival, Cumberland BC, February 15

Fire show for sky lantern release (in the sleet and snow!)

 

Electroswing Speakeasy at The Waverly, Cumberland BC, January 17

Guest LED hoop performance for Speakeasy night with DJ Elizar: old-timey-techno-swing-belly-dance-hoop-fusion!

 

photo by Sarah Kerr

OTHER PAST PERFORMANCES

 

Tribal Cafe at Elevate the Arts 2013: Arcana Dea Dance troupe member and solo bellyhoop fusion

 

Tribal Cafe 2012: Blue Lotus (“Romany trail” dance fusion troupe member) and solo bellyhoop fusion

 

Balkan Brass Wedding, April 2013 as LED hoop dancing bride

 

Courtenay Winter Fest, 2012 and 2013: fire spinning guest with VestFire Entertainment

 

Comox Valley Art Gallery Masquerade Ball Fundraiser 2012: bellyhoop dance

 

Vancouver Island Musicfest, 2009 to 2011 with NOVA Firespun Arts: roaming flow artist aka “Magical Friend”

 

Vancouver Island Musicfest, 2012: guest roaming flow artist with VestaFire Entertainment

 

Comox Valley Nautical Days 2009 to 2012:  NOVA Firespun Arts Fire Show

 

Cumberland Village Works‘ Big Time Out Music Festival, 2008 to 2012: Blue Lotus troupe dancer, solo bellyhoop fusion, NOVA LED roaming

 

Cumberland Village Works’ Big Day Up, 2011 (on Mount Washington Alpine Resort): NOVA fire show

 

Island Hula Hoopla’s Happy Love Hoop Show, 2011

 

Cumberland Village Works’ Winter Solstice Event, 2008-2011: NOVA multi-media spin and glow show; Blue Lotus dancer

 

Campbell River Pirate Days 2011: NOVA Fire show

 

Campbell River Rain and Fire Arts Festival, 2011: NOVA Fire show

 

 

led
photo by Sarah Kerr