Many of you in the Maine hooping community are probably already familiar with the talented lady of the hoop. Maria first reached out to me via Facebook before I attended the Maine Hoop Day in 2011 on the Beach in Brunswick, Maine. Her constant support for the hoop community is something that keeps me personally motivated and active in my practice.
Maria has made a great effort to bring more of a presence to hoopers here in Maine. She has helped us to find one another and set aside time in our lives to connect. In the following interview, Maria explains how she came to be such a great networking leader in this quirky, lovely thing we call hoop dance.
Hippy Go Lucky Hoops: When did you first meet the hoop and fall in love?
Maria Randolph: I "met" the hoop in late May 2010 via Sara Jansen's blog The Happy Hoop. I was there to learn more about her family RV travels, and stumbled upon her hoop obsession. I fell in love with what I saw as creative movement and self expression. Hooping had a sense of childlike wonder attached to it that appealed to me.
HGLH: What were some of the first tricks you learned/mastered?
Maria: I'll never forget the first time I actually turned inside the hoop! It felt like a dance, and I was so proud and thrilled! I honestly don't have a strong memory of learning "tricks", but I distinctly remember when I learned to shoulder hoop with my arms held behind my back. The moment when I REALLY opened up my chest in shoulder hooping and felt that difference between what I WAS doing and opening...well, it was like learning to do a double back handed flip crotch duck out back weave break!
HGLH: When did you begin to start hoop networks?
Maria: It took me what felt like a very long time to connect with other hoopers here in Maine. I wanted, for myself and for Maine what I saw going on in other strong communities. Because Sara was in Boulder area, via her blog I would watch their community. I was also very aware of the longevity of communities like Carrboro, NYC, and Boston. I thought it would be nice to see that same thing going on here in Maine and throughout New England....that's how HoopFest New England was born.
HGLH: Tell us about some events that you attended that were worthwhile?
HoopFest! Does that count? Because it was not just a dream taking shape, but watching this beautiful community take shape that I had only ever READ about. And now here it was! There they were! And they were AMAZING!
Hoop Convergence was so beautiful too. It was wonderful to participate on a level of not being behind the scenes. What I got out of HoopCon was about interacting and conversing with some amazingly creative and artistic individuals. I enjoyed learning about their experiences, communities and stories and how that translated to their personal hoop practice. That was pretty special to carry away along with the great workshops, amazing food, awesome weather and HoopCon swag.
HGLH: Has there been any roadblocks that you have had to overcome?
Two come to mind:
After working on HoopFest for a year, I started to notice my shoulder and arm were really painful. I did NOT listen to the signs that I was over using my body. I was not taking breaks at the computer, stretching or relaxing my shoulder/arm. This led to a frozen shoulder which greatly effected my hooping for over 8 months. That having been said, I used Somatics to heal my shoulder and my practitioner encouraged me to use my shoulder hooping to rehab. Hooray!
The second roadblock was knowing that HoopFest New England 2012 was not going to happen in the same way as 2011. It was a combination of factors, but registration was very, very low with 8 weeks to go. I was very unwilling to see the reality, but was also loosing sleep because I was worried. I was at Hoop Convergence and trying to put a brave face on it when two long time hoop event planners really took the time to ask me the details of how it was going. They held the mirror of reality up to me, and I am forever grateful. I learned SO quickly about the support of the community as HoopFest evolved into something a bit different. This situation was a major lesson in loss of perceived control, reality, humility, and most of all: community.
HGLH: What advice do you have for people looking to get more involved in their hoop practice?
Get involved in the community. Locally. Regionally. Nationally. World-wide. No hooper is an island. You can stay home and watch videos and take classes online, and you can hoop with a friend or two, but NOTHING will catapult your practice like being with other people at jams, workshops, classes, and events. When I think of "getting involved" in a hoop practice, I don't just think of learning movements or tricks. I think of being aware of concepts and relationships surrounding the plastic circle. Nuances that are only found by being exposed to other hoop artists. Give your community some LOVE and you'll have an involved practice.
HGLH: What's in store for Maine Hoopers in 2013?
I hope that Maine hoopers will continue to be involved in their community by supporting their local jams and classes and spreading the word to new hoopers that these are available. The hoop world is a large one and continuing to grow, and there is so much room for all of us.
Personally, my goal is to support touring instructors through TourME!, which is an offshoot of my business, HoopME! We already have a number of incoming workshops that I am SO excited about!
&&& MORE...these are instructors that we'd usually only see at retreats so having them help build our community by stepping into our state is such a boost! I hope that Maine hoopers will do their best to support these instructors every chance they get....and of course, it supports their own hoop journey.
There are a number of amazing plans in the works from Maine hoopers. I'm hearing about fund raisers, state-wide jams, teacher trainings, promotions, non-profits, performances etc. A great way to keep up to date with all of these great opportunities our community has going on is through the Maine Hoopers group on Facebook. For those not on FB, I'm always happy to send my HoopME! newsletter out which tries to keep up to date on ALL the Maine hoop goodness going on, not just my own endeavors.
To stay connected with Maria and get a copy of her Newsletter, check out her website.
I'll end this post with a hilarious video that shows off how awesome Maine and Maria both truly are.
Thanks to Maria for taking part in the first Hooper of the Month post in my blog. I will be on the lookout for inspiring hoopers, new comers, instructors and everyone else in between for future posts. Do you know anyone that you would like to see featured? Nominate them today by sending me an email! peace and love - hippy go lucky hoops-