Traveling Performer and Teacher, Hoopsmith and Talent Coordinator at hoop dance talent agency, nominated as *Fire Hooper of the Year*, Nick Minton is an inspiration for many. 16 months on the road, 33 states, more than 100 workshops and performed gigs, 350+ provided hoops, climbing, partying, and playing, he experiencing a hooper’s dream. Aside from his success in the hooping community, Nick has incredible skills in slackline, poi, contact staff, juggling, and rope dart.
With high energy and enthusiasm, permeated with true passion, he provides happiness to others.
I’m honored for the opportunity to look inside the flow life of Nick Minton.
Who was your first hoop crush?
I remember watching Babz Robinson with her cat eyes tutorial on a mountain, and realized there are girls that hoop AND rock climb, and then I started daydreaming of the potential perfect girl for me who might hoop, climb, slackline, skydive, travel, and live life on the edge of adventure, always!
What influenced you to start hooping?
My influence to start hooping stemmed from 2 things, working at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, and attending music festivals. I started going to more music festivals once I graduated college and moved to Colorado in 2011. After a year of living in Colorado, I moved to Florida to pursue water sports such as water skiing and wake boarding, where I obtained a job at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Universal Studios City Walk. They have hula hoops, jump ropes, sidewalk chalk, etc. to attract guests over to the restaurant or to distract guests from the “wait list”. I was a server, so whenever it was slow and I was bored with no work to do, I would go outside and play with hoops!! After about a year of randomly hooping at work and at random music festivals, I saw the potential in myself and in the activity of hooping in general, and decided to pursue it more seriously. Through much time, practice, progression, networking, and planning, I have slowly transformed into a traveling hoop instructor and performer.
Do you think that the culture of flow arts helps create a connection between individuals who may not have other interests in common?
Absolutely. Just about everyone who picks up a flow prop starts out as a beginner (except those prodigy kids, or athletic individuals who have developed coordination in other physical activities). We go through many phases during our practice, physically, mentally, emotionally, as we spend countless hours of time progressing through our props and movement. This gives us a common struggle, hobby, and even passion for some people, that we can relate to with one another about. I have learned in life that being able to relate to someone is one of the best ways to gain their acceptance and trust initially. If you truly get to know someone, you might find you have more than just flow arts in common.
Hula hooping is very strongly associated with music festivals – what is your favorite music festival you’ve been to?
My favorite music festival would be a toss up between Electric Forest and Hulaween, but I likely would have to go with Hulaween. The atmosphere of the venue, Spirit of Suwannee Music Park is so magical. The music, the people, the land, the energy, the weather. Everything seems perfect. Plus, it’s HULAween.. so many hoopers!
What festivals are you planning on attending this summer?
So many festivals, and they are still coming in as acceptance letters are still flowing in. Here is a list of festivals I am performing for, and then another list I am just attending as a General Admission attendee.
Performing/Instructing: Infrasound (Spring), Sonic Bloom, F.A.R.M. Fest, Wild Woods, Nights of Fire, maybe Imagine, maybe Hulaween again, maybe Florida Flow Fest again.
Attending/Volunteering/Working/Vending: Electric Forest, Breathe: A Slackline & Discovery Festival, New England Flow Fest, Imagine, Hulaween, Zen Awakening, Florida Flow Fest, Flow Cruise
I heard that you are an awesome instructor. So how did you end up starting to teach? What is the most rewarding part of teaching? What is most challenging?
I started teaching slowly with random people and friends at festivals. They would see me jamming out and eventually ask questions. I realized how difficult it can be to tell 2 different people the same instructions and expect them to both understand equally. I then got certified as a hoop instructor with HOOLA Fit by Abby Albaum out of St. Pete, FL. I started noticing the “cues” so to speak that seem to be the main factors to focus on when attempting to manipulate props. These are little things, like recognizing body positioning (which way are your thumbs pointing, your pinky finger, your elbows, palms, shoulders, hips, feet, etc. The more body awareness you are able to have, the quicker you will learn muscle memory). Being able to tell people what a movement feels like and re-describing the movement in a way that is more familiar and relatable to them is another great way to reiterate instructions.
“Went to a workshop with Nick Minton and Cristina Holt this past Saturday and I have been drilling the moves and some of the concepts we learned! I struggle with tech and chest rolls and Nick’s concepts and tips are in the forefront of my mind!
Thank youuu! I do recommend his workshop!” – Heather Marie
The most rewarding part is watching people successfully do something they thought they couldn’t do or was really difficult. Tricks and movements they have been working on for a long time and it finally clicks and they just light up like a light bulb! Those are fantastic moments, as they typically can’t control their joyful outbursts. This usually results in happiness and confidence for them as well!
The most challenging aspect of teaching for me is trying to refrain from delivering TOO MUCH information. I tend to overwhelm people with information and tricks. I feel like every detail is important and talk a LOT, and then spend forever showing everyone all the cool variations I know and trying to explain it in all the ways I know possible. Ultimately, it can become overwhelming to the students. But, that is sort of my goal, as I want people to understand concepts mentally and be able to apply the ideas to other genres of tricks to come up with their own tricks.
Great news reached us recently: the foundation of Hoopernova – the first professional hoop dance talent agency! Tell us more about this project and your role in it.
Yes, Hoopernova is the first hoop dance talent agency, as well as so much more. I have been selected as the Talent Coordinator, as the owners Matt Tyrrell and Stephanie Baxter recognized my strides in the community. This is a result of my 50 state tour and all the relative contacts I have made amongst students and flow professionals, and decided to pull me into their conversations about establishing a true professional hooping, and flow arts, industry that is perceived and recognized by festivals and events to have substantial value as artists and performers to be compensated appropriately.
Hoopernova is designed to offer valuable resources and opportunities to the professional hoopers we represent, our clients we work with for gigs, and also the outside flow community as whole. Our # 1 goal is to help bring (professional) hula hooping into the general public a little more, if you can imagine what happened with skateboarding and it’s climb into the mainstream eye of society.
How we are doing that is giving talented performers help with their PR and content creation, as well as direct bookings, sponsorship applications, mentorships, etc.
With a group of flow pros helping each other to get gigs, advertise their workshops & videos, etc. the community can lean on itself to grow. We are working on sponsorships with large companies such as Adidas and Under Armour, and have some National TV commercials that will air soon. We already landed 2 large gigs in the first month of launching – High Times Cannabis Cup and Disco Donnie’s Something Wonderful with EDMbiz coming up as well. Much more to come!
Do you make your own hoops? Which one is your favorite?
I do make my own hoops. My favorite hoop would be the Molten Collection of tubing that I carry under Minty Fresh Hoops. This slightly textured tubing from HoopSupplies.com adds just just a little extra grip, but still with a smooth finish. I prefer any sizes 33” and under, typically no less than 28” unless I’m working with doubles. I also use 3/4” tubing primarily, but occasionally dabble in 5/8”, especially for doubles.
You have a background of extreme sports. I’m curious which ones they are and how that reflects on your hooping?
Skiing, Rock Climbing, and Slacklining are my 3 extreme sports I partake in regularly.
Skiing taught me I could be an individual with talent and I could be as good as I wanted to be with hard, structured practice. I learned how to be on my own during this time and became very comfortable with myself and my faults, and had a lot of time to myself to tear myself down, and build myself back up again and analyze how I could get better and push myself over my insecurities to do so.
Rock climbing taught me the most out of anything in life – how to push myself through scary moments and get out of my head and stop over thinking as well as how to approach obstacles safely, by breaking them down into smaller components and drilling. In climbing, if you grab on too tight because you are scared (overthinking), you use more energy than necessary and wear out early and fall, but not holding on tight enough causes you to peel off the wall. Finding the balance and the composure to continue the climb is as much of a mental task as it is physical. I also learned HOW to fall/fail – if you fall unsuccessfully from the wall and break your ankle or leg, you won’t be getting back on the wall anytime soon. In life, if you can successfully fail a million times, your “fails” just turn into comfortable transitions, and not really fail at all. I apply this idea to hooping – with CONFIDENCE and VARIED EXPERIENCE in countless moments of “failing” or dropping the hoop, you can disguise these moments into flowing transitions. In order to do the hard section of a climbing route that is 80% into the route, you might need to start it at that point, 80%, with full energy to complete the move, and fully understand how your body must physically move in order to grab the next hold and stay on the wall. This is creating MUSCLE MEMORY, allowing for less energy and thought in future attempts. In hooping, I will break tricks down into SECTIONS, and practice each section, isolating ONLY that section, and then explore how to enter and exit that section of the trick with the adjacent sections. I then repeat this for each individual section, both directions, reinforcing all the muscle memory forwards and backwards. This will create comfortable, familiar muscle memory as you drill, causing tricks to feel like 2nd nature.
Slacklining has taught me how to be fully engaged and in the moment, as well as using the “failing safely” principle I learned in rock climbing. If you fall off of a slackline unsuccessfully, you will most likely be physically, and/or emotionally injured, and then physically unable and/or too afraid to get back on the line. Being able to recognize when you are safe and not safe, and when you should be persistent and fight to stay on the line or take a step off and restart. With hooping, I will address tricks with full engagement and listen to the individual body parts ONE AT A TIME, each time I do the trick (the elbow, the thumbs, the shoulder, which way are the palms of my hands facing, etc.) and become FULLY aware of what all of my body is doing. This means doing the trick 20 times, and each time focusing on a different body part. It’s impossible to take on all the information of what the entire body is doing while learning how to actually do it. If you don’t listen to each body part to find awareness and ability to control these components of the trick, you will reinforce muscle memory of only one variation, potentially reinforcing bad habits as well. Then, adding a mirror or a camera to watch your practice will give absolute awareness to what you are REALLY doing compared to what your mind THINKS you are doing.
These are the extreme sports, and the different things I have taken from each one and how I have applied them to my life and my hooping practice. I find it these activities to be my greatest teacher in my life, humbling me over and over again, but yet building my confidence, abilities, and skills to approach and overcome nearly any obstacle, physical and mental, and conquer them with more experience and wisdom for future struggles in life.
Any final thoughts or anything you would like to promote and let us know?
I am pleased to announce I just got on board as a sponsored performer with The Spinsterz. I have an affiliate code (“mintyfresh” for 10% off) that you can apply at checkout for anything on the site!! I am also selling hoops and pele wicks myself through Minty Fresh Hoops . I have also decided to sponsor a few hoopers myself from Minty Fresh Hoops! The first wave of many people are: Christina Schmidt, Jayme Leigh, Bethany White, and Paulina Milligan!
Featuring: Nick Minton