I attempted my first street performance last night. Sure, I've done impromptu "performances" everywhere...anytime I'm hooping in public it could be considered a performance. But yesterday was different. I put together a costume, did up some funky make up and even stuck false eyelashes on! I grabbed 2 of my favorite hoops and headed downtown to the square where I knew there was some live music and a large crowd.
First of all, I was super nervous. Luckily the beard was cheering my on and encouraged me to just do it. I don't know why I was so nervous. I've hooped in public a zillion times. Maybe the fact that I was trying to be "showy" about that was throwing me off.
The second I started hooping I could hear and see the crowd's enjoyment and positive reactions. But a few short seconds after that a small child grabbed a hold of my hoop and demanded to take a turn. At first, I felt the pressure of an entire crowd watching how I would handle this situation. So I danced around him for a little bit with the hoop, and realized he wasn't going to let go. I allowed him a quick try. He gave it a whirl a few times and his determination was really cute...but I wanted my hoop back. So I told him I would show him how I do it and peeled his little fingers off the hoop...only to have him chase me around, almost getting whacked a few times.
I looked around but to no avail, his parents never came to my rescue. So I decided to take a break and step off to the side and grab my camera to snap a few pictures of the musicians and the great crowd. The little boy follows me and grabs my poly-pro hoop and starts putting all of his weight onto it and is trying to snap it in half!
Luckily, someone related to this little guy finally came over to assist me. I kindly explained that I didn't have any hoops for kids to play with at this particular event and I was just spinning for the crowd. I decided to check out some of the vendors and hoop a bit more off on my own...drawing in a smaller crowd, but it was actually kind of a bust for me. My excitement diminished quickly with fear and even some anxiety.
The night wasn't a total waste though. I chilled out for a little bit, ate some dinner and had a beer and decided to head back into town with my L.E.D. when the sun went down and got to hoop outside of the gates for the Sting concert. I met a few people that were really blown away by the hoop and the tricks, and posed in a few pictures for people. All in all, that totally helped to restore my faith in the hoop gods.
After the experience with the little boy that was interfering with my performance, I decided to call on some of my Maine Hoopers for advice. I've compiled a list of tips and tricks for hoop gatherings, how to share, and how to CARE for your hoops -- after all, they can be our livelihood and not just toys! Take it from the words of some hard working hoopers here in Maine....
Sennyo Sen ~ You do have to just stop and take control and save your props. It's unfortunate but a clear and simple explanation (in a very nice way, of course) that these are expensive and you have to take care of them usually works. I know it doesn't work to try and predict every situation. I usually try to find all kinds of ways to prevent or make sure these kind of situations don't happen. That way you have a peace of mind and everyone is happy.
Elizabeth Haskins Marx ~ I think bringing some homemade "fun" hoops for others to use is always a good idea. When we are at festivals and she sees a sweet hooper with a polypro that she wants to try (or the metal circus ones), my 10 year old daughter may approach and ask if she can show the lady (or guy) a new trick with their hoop. They can be skeptical, but then she busts out a shoulder pop out or barrel roll and they feel more assured she won't damage the hoop. I would never use age as a criteria for using hoops, but ability and experience. My daughter has 2 LEDs, a fire hoop, and her "special" regular 28" hoop. She also has a dozen or so play hoops in all sizes for friends to use. She will let peers use her LEDs at night but she reviews the rules with them ~
*no warping them
*no throwing them
*no banging into others
*return them to her when done
Amanda Heath Walden ~ I think I think hoop scrunchies work well too to designate which ones you're willing to share and not share.
|Cute Hoop Bag by Beth H|
Judith Bell Tingley ~ After redecorating MANY hoops because of kids and adults abuse, I have made a bunch of different size just plain black hoops with cloth tape around the inside in different colors and they are designated "play" hoops. That way they can do what they want with them and I don't worry. My special hoops are bungied together and unavailable unless there is an interested adult.
All in all I learned, as much as I love sharing...sometimes you just have to assert yourself and take charge of a situation. And don't let one bad experience scare you off from something you love. L.E.D. hooping to Sting was a great time and I'm glad I went out and gave it another shot. Here's to many more crazy days and nights of hooping......