Hoop Crush is a regular series on my Youtube channel “Hula Hooping Hannah”, where I explore hula hoop artists who are pushing hoop dance to the next level of movement innovation. From circus style to flow, from tech moves to anything else that catches my eye, I want to share with you who is inspiring me and making me think differently about hooping each month. If you know a hooper who should be on my radar, tag me in their videos on Instagram @hulahoopinghannah so I can see too!
Today’s “Hoop Crush”, presented by me & Hoop Portal, is Katherine Zhu-Tsang known as @spin_me_dizzy.
Kat’s hooping style is a breath of fresh air in a hooping world where the current climate is full of fast transitions, high energy, and tiny hoops. Her smooth and controlled approach to hooping brings back a soft, fluid style that I absolutely adore. Watching Kat move through classic hoop tricks and inventive new moves (I love that jump through straight to a toss that she’s perfected) makes me want to put on some Frank Sinatra and spin with my hoops. Her music choice is often delightfully unexpected and fits her approach (she always tags the artist below her videos so you can check out her soundtrack of the day). Kat is particularly skilled at breaks and paddles and will often move towards the camera when doing these tricks, giving the viewer a close up of her swift ability. You can see the concentration and focus in her face in these moments and you know she’s tapping into a meditative level of flow. While Kat hasn’t been hooping for very long, her progress is evident through her daily practice in the beautiful vine covered courtyard where she spins. I look to Kat for a fresh take on old moves and she inspires me to be consistent in my own practice. She continues to improve and tackles new tricks, sharing her courtyard progress with us in rain, snow, or sun. Check out her Instagram @spin_me_dizzy for a visually compelling look into a dedicated and talented movement artist!
To know Kat better, we asked her a few questions:
I was visiting my parents who live at Pema Osel Ling and Hoop Camp 2014 was going on there. At the time I was super shy and so I ended up going to a hoop class with my dad. In the evening, I was absolutely blown away by the showcase and so as soon as I got back to NYC I bought my first giant beginner hoop and have always had a hoop in hand since then.
Who was your first hoop crush?
I have so many hoop crushes now but I would have to say that my first hoop crushes (I can’t possibly choose only one!) were definitely Rachael Lust and Tiana Zoumer. Rachel Lust was the very first hooper I had ever seen when her Groove video went viral. At the time I didn’t even own a hoop and would never have even dreamt of being able to do anything she did, but she made breaks and paddles the coolest thing ever! As for Tiana Zoumer, she was one of the performers at the showcase and her movement was incredibly free, so alive and peaceful at the same time, and so mesmerizing.
Besides your backyard, where else do you get a chance to hula hoop to music?
I always try to get cool videos hooping whenever I travel outside of the city. As for hooping in the city, my flowmie Shelby Wolf and I will sometimes grab our hoops and speakers and find cool street art to hoop in front of.
What is the hooping community like in New York?
I absolutely love the hooping community of NYC. There are so many hoopers! I’m always meeting hoopers I’ve never met before with so many different styles. And of course, there is always activity! Everyone I’ve met has been so helpful in my hooping journey, between teaching me tricks, referring me for gigs and every get together is truly a fun learning experience.
How does hooping make you feel?
Ahhh!! I don’t even know where to begin. It takes me to a place where there are no thoughts and I just feel so alive and lost in the music and movement. After hooping, I’m always full of energy and just so much happiness. There are no words to describe what hooping does to me!
What is the most challenging aspect of hula hooping for someone who is just starting out?
I would definitely say that it can be discouraging. There are so many tricks you want to learn and they look so easy but no matter how hard you try, either it doesn’t click in your head or you just can’t do it. I was pretty awful when I started out. I’m not a fast learner and I wasn’t natural with the hoop and so I really had to be patient. Everyday I would pick up my hoop and practice the same thing over and over and over until it clicked. And then even when I had a few tricks down, I wasn’t a natural dancer and I was shy and so it took me almost a year to find my flow. I would say the most important thing is to never give up. Practice every day and if you aren’t getting a trick and it’s frustrating you too much, leave it alone and come back to it in a week or so. It will happen one day!
Written by Hannah Stanton-Gockel
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Featuring: Katherine Zhu-Tsang