Photo by Carlos Antonino
In the mid-December came out a video of a blonde girl with a little Yin and Yang top, who amazed us with crazy gymnastic style moves, set of impressive Hula Hoop manoeuvres and incredible body control. Beautifully charming and unbelievably flexible she performs some of the most creative and clean combos and transitions on some really remarkable moves.
Do you remember?
Meet Sky Ruiz Vazquez aka Sky Flow Artist!
Who was your first hoop crush? What influenced you to start hooping?
Growing up in a place like Brighton I would often see hoopers around town or dancing beautifully in the parks, but it wasn’t until I watched videos of Elena Lev’s hoop act in Cirque du Soleil’s Alegría and one of Lisa Lottie doing her street show that I said ‘oh my gosh, I need to do this’. I was amazed by the grace and skill of these two hoopers and was completely inspired to start hooping myself. When living in Mexico my partner introduced me to his hooper friends who lent me a hoop and taught me a few beginner tricks. From then on I was hooked.
How did you come up with your hoop name?
Everyone has called me Sky for years, and when I began to read about flow philosophy and flow arts, I realised that I was indeed a flow artist! So combining the two into ’Sky Flow Artist’ seemed right. Now that I live entirely from hooping I have to choreograph routines and acts in order to get bookings for shows that will appeal to a wide audience. The element of flow is obviously less present within this process, so I make sure that apart from my training, I find time to flow every single day. It’s an important meditation for me and I couldn’t imagine my life without it.
In your videos we see a lot of tricks with a high level of difficulty. From where did you learn them?
I’ve been dancing and performing since I was 3 years old, and for 10 years I was a dedicated rhythmic gymnast. I was in the British national team, competed for Great Britain at international competitions, spent my Summers training in Bulgaria, etc. Some of the difficulty in my tricks has a lot to do with that. Perhaps my flexibility, for example, comes from my rhythmic gymnastics and ballet background, but I stopped about 7 years ago, so I have to do a lot of training every day to keep it up! Other than that, I love to meet up with other hoopers and swap tricks, and I try to invent as much new stuff as possible.
What tricks are you currently working on?
Right now I’m working hard on multi-hooping, especially multi-hoop splits. I am also constantly experimenting and trying to create new things I haven’t seen done before. My aim is to show a complete mix of traditional circus hula hoop tricks and crazy new things I come up with myself!
You are from Brighton, UK and currently based in Spain. How has your hoop life changed since moving to Spain?
Yes, I’m from Brighton, but before we moved to Spain I was living in Mexico. The main effect the move had on my hoop life was that I was surrounded by other hoopers in Mexico, whereas here in Spain the hooping community is much smaller (although growing quickly)! Now that my husband George Ruby (an incredibly talented musician who makes all my hooping music for me) and I have decided to take our show on tour throughout Spain and Europe, we are meeting some incredible circus artists and musicians which we are able to collaborate with. Also, the freedom of living in a van is just amazing, and so perfect for what we do. I have all the time and space in the world to practice, and we can get easily from one city to another, depending on where we have gigs, shows and workshops. I’m loving it!
If you teach – which do you like better, teaching or performing?
That’s a difficult one! I really, really enjoy sharing the beautiful art of hooping. I had an incredible time teaching hooping to indigenous communities when I was living in Mexico, for example, which was such a rewarding experience, as teaching anything you love usually is. This is very different to that buzz you get when performing for a crowd of people cheering you on, showing off all those hours of hard work and drilling. While teaching and performing are so different, both enable me to share my biggest passion with others, and that is a real blessing. I couldn’t choose between the two!
What advice do you give those eager to start the art of hula hoop dancing?
I’d say go for it! You cannot be too young, too old, too big, too small, or too anything to start hooping! It’s for everyone, and the most beautiful thing about the hooping community is the huge variety of hoopers and styles out there. If you’re interested, I would say find yourself a hoop, try finding some other hoopers where you live, and enjoy every second of your hoop journey!
Ivelina Maystorova, Sky Ruiz Vazquez