Wednesday, 15 January 2014

This is my flow.

This is my flow
There are many like it
But this one is mine
It's revolutionary by design
-Tiana Zoumer
It's ironic that I begin this post with a quote from Tiana Zoumer, because this post is about how I discovered I didn't want to be Tiana Zoumer.
Recently, I've taken a few hoop lessons via Skype with the one and only Brecken Rivara. Brecken and Tiana are my two favourite hoopers, so to learn from Brecken is a dream come true. She is a great teacher and a thoroughly likeable person, so if you get the chance to take a lesson with her, do it!
In our first lesson we spent quite a lot of time talking. One of the things we discussed was hoop speed. I told Brecken I had got a shock when I first videoed myself and discovered I am actually a very slow hooper. I do not move fast in my hoop, even though I feel like I do! I shouldn't be surprised by this because I have never been fast at anything, but there you go.

During our discussion Brecken made three points on this topic:

1. a naturally slow hooper incorporates speeds easier than a fast hooper incorporates slowness;
2. a good hooper, whatever her natural speed, will learn how to vary her speed at times to provide texture;
3. if I'm a naturally slow hooper, it's my mission to make that my personal style.

I found myself thinking about the last point during my next session in the hoop. I realised that deep down part of me had wanted to be some kind of hooping composite of Tiana Zoumer and Brecken Rivara! If only I dedicated myself to the hoop enough, I would magically develop Tiana's speed and energy and Brecken's athleticism. Sigh.

Tiana and Brecken aren't much-loved members of the hoop tribe just because they are fast, energetic and athletic. They are admired for their unique flow and their creativity. So do I want to be a copy of Tiana or Brecken, or do I want to be myself? Do I want to force my body to do things it doesn't want to do, or do I want my body to feel gooooood?

The answers are pretty obvious.

I also realised that the times when I walk away from my hoop feeling dissatisfied are those times that I have been comparing myself to someone else [usually Tiana or Brecken] - which is never a path to happiness!

So my hoop mission for 2014 is to begin finding my own flow, my own personal style within the hoop. This totally makes sense to me, and I wish I had thought of it before.

This does not mean that I now believe I have nothing to learn from anyone. I'm still going to take lessons from Brecken, and you bet I'll be learning everything I can from Tiana when she comes to HoopFest in March [squeal!]. But I no longer want to be Brecken or Tiana - I want to be me.

Happy hooping,
Anne-Marie x


  1. I love that last line! It always feels like such a revelation when you realise this sort of thing (and indeed it is!). Love the new digs!

    1. Thanks, Brie! I can imagine it's the same for a ballet dancer - discovering their own voice, rather than dancing like someone else.