In 2008, based on campaigning that rivaled the intensity with which terminally ill hospital patients would beg family and friends for a new liver, I felt that some great artists had slipped right through hooping.org’s “The Hoopies.” That’s not to discredit the 2008 winners. I wanted to celebrate them. I also wanted to acknowledge a bevy of talented hoopers who didn’t even break through the nomination round. And so I created The 2008 Revolvies.
Now, here we are, a year later. Hooping.org did a smashing job of weeding out suspicious ballots and discouraging campaigning. The 2009 Hoopies were so well-rounded that I hardly had a reason to create an alternative awards show. Except that I already bought this fabulous gown, a podium and some “wrap it up” music to help me know when it was time to start typing the next award. So without further ado, I present to you — with expanded categories (to address the many uses of hoops), male and female winners in many places, and no disqualification based on Hoopie nomination (if I thought you were the sh*t, you got an award) — the 2009 Revolvies: For Excellence in Revolution!
HOOP PERFORMER OF THE YEAR (SOLO) – FEMALE
Spiral – After pioneering sustained spinning and lightning fast moves with smaller hoops, Spiral spun off to circus school in 2008/2009. The result? A stronger bridge between the “hoopdance” world and the “circus-style” hoop world. (Oh, and some even stronger arm muscles on this woman. Facebook status update of the year: Rich Porter’s “Spiral just opened a jar for me.”) It’s refreshing to see a performer who’s not satisfied unless she’s constantly pushing beyond the edge of what she already knows. For excellence in everything from flow to flexibility on stage, a 2009 Revolvie goes to Spiral.
HOOP PERFORMER OF THE YEAR (SOLO) – MALE
Matt “Poki” McCorkle – If Michael Moschen and Buster Keaton had a baby, it would be Poki. This fancy lad has the rare ability to make audiences gasp (with his mind-boggling isolations) and the immediately burst into laughter (with the raise of an eyebrow). What most impressed me in 2009, however, was seeing Poki expand his emotional range into more experimental work. Props to a male hoop performer who spent this past year taking some chances.
FIRE HOOPER OF THE YEAR – FEMALE
Shakti Sunfire – Grace. That’s the word I think of when I imagine Shakti manipulating fire hoops. She has the ability to execute tight technical moves (pizza toss from the knees, super fast plane changes) – but all those moves are like stars in the constellation of her yoga, dance and aerial training. In the following video, I was equally impressed by what she was doing with the parts of her body that were touching the hoop – as I was by how engaged her fingertips were when the hoop was way down at her knees. Shakti rocked 2009 with full-body excellence.
FIRE HOOPER OF THE YEAR – MALE
Rich Porter – Has anyone ever rewound a youtube video of Rich a thousand times, trying to absorb the intricacies of his style? Well, break out your Kevlar sleeves and try to do that shit on fire. Rich channels some kind of ninja force that enables him to accomplish plane changes, tempo changes and all kinds of brilliance on FIRE with BARE NAKED ARMS. I still think this man is a robot because his moves are humanly impossible. But I’ll give him a Revolvie anyway.
HOOP PERFORMANCE GROUP OF THE YEAR
Code Red Circus Conspiracy – I have to admit that I am totally addicted to attending juggling clubs. Especially Portland’s. And I cannot tell you how many times this year that I heard the master PDX jugglers, people who have spent years performing all over the world, gushing about these “two new, young guys.” Poki and Brian Thompson are those two new, young guys. Their work as Code Red Circus Conspiracy apparently wows even old-school object manipulators who have seen it all. Props on appealing not just to the masses, but to the elite, CRCC.
ALL-AROUND BADASS OF THE YEAR – FEMALE
Brecken Rivara – I have noticed, in 2009, a rapid increase in exploration of space between planes. That’s because everyone’s trying to be Brecken Rivara. It just kind of goes without saying that this woman is a hoop wizard. But I also respect her no-nonsense tank top and shorts. If I ever see Brecken in hair extensions and furry boots, I will know the world is ending. She lets the precision of her movement speak for itself, and she’s so comfortably her own person, I don’t really know whether to hug her, high five her, build a statue in her honor – or just award her the All-Around Female Badass of the Year.
ALL-AROUND BADASS OF THE YEAR – MALE
Malcolm Stuart– Back before there was youtube (when I had to ride my hoop to school 100 miles in the snow), Kara Spencer and Rob Singer hosted the very first “Hooping.org Film Festival.” The paltry online collection of the five hoop videos on earth included Groove Hoops old demo reel – and there was Malcolm Stuart, boggling my mind with his fantastic moves and eye-popping outfits. He seemed so far beyond our simple world. After that initial “wow!” I never had the opportunity to meet Malcolm in person until 2009. What a treat! From his shoulder/breakdance fire hooping, to his straight-man-rocking-plastic-barrettes-confidence, he still somehow exists in the now while simultaneously heralding the future.
NEWBIE HOOPER OF THE YEAR – FEMALE:
Jaguar Mary – Who is this incredible woman traveling to hoop conferences and becoming so ignited that she launches a website coupling the best of hip design with insightful thoughts on hoop spirituality? She is Jaguar Mary. Filmer extraordinaire. Putter-onner of a hoop retreat in Bali. Mover and shaker for just having started hooping this year. (Catch her at the end of this video she filmed, featuring Baxter).
NEWBIE HOOPER OF THE YEAR – MALE:
Michael Boyer – Hoop men of the world. I throw a challenge your way: Let us see you DANCE!!!!! You have strong arms. You do impressive moves with your strong arms. Now what can the rest of your body can do? This is Michael Boyer, of Eugene, OR, who was already a talented dancer when he threw a hoop into his fabulous footwork. I dig his liquid style, and I think he got off to a unique start on a hoop journey in 2009. Looking forward to seeing what he cooks up as he continues to DANCE with the circle in 2010.
ADVANCEMENT IN HOOPING AS A HEALING ART / SPIRITUAL PRACTICE – FEMALE
Kara Spencer – Kara has been a licensed massage therapist, birth doula, postpartum doula, childbirth educator, doula trainer, and bodywork teacher for 12 years, and it really informs her work with the circle. From workshops incorporating sacred geometry and yoga to articles on the hoop’s benefit to the lymphatic system, this woman’s on the forefront of hoop healing/spirituality. The national hoop world certainly benefited form her workshops at Hoop Convergence and Hoop Camp in 2009.
ADVANCEMENT IN HOOPING AS A HEALING ART / SPIRITUAL PRACTICE – MALE
Rainbow Michael Haynes – In his tight turquoise shorts, with his beautiful smile, Rainbow Michael brings joy to the world just by existing. But beyond that, it has been incredible to see him delve into the world of sacred geometry and come out manipulating hoops in complex, holy patterns. The male “Performer of the Year” category was so hard for me to decide this year, but Rainbow is right up there, whipping out 4-hoop isolation moves that I never see anyone else do. I absolutely believe he is opening a door into a higher realm – for us all – through his work with the hoop, with yoga and with sacred geometry.
HOOP INSTRUCTOR OF THE YEAR
Malcolm Stuart – Please know how hard it is to come up with a hoop class that is beneficial to everyone from an absolute beginner to a Zen master. And then imagine that Malcolm has worked his way around that by explaining how to open up a doorway, inside yourself, where you will be surprised to find your very own, personal jar of awesome sauce. If you took his class at Hoop Convergence this year, then you already earned your “License to Flail.” If you haven’t taken his class, buy a ticket to New York and get on that.
OUTSTANDING HOOP COMMUNITY
DC Hoop Collective – Some of the most down-to-earth hoopers I met this year turned out to be from DC (Jaguar Mary, Jocelyn Gordon, Noelle Powers, etc). My non-hooper friend also recently got back from the capitol and said, “I saw a flyer about hooping when I was there!” It made me confident that the hoop crew was holding it down, in close proximity to the White House. Keep inciting a revolution, DC Hoop Collective! I know I’m gonna’ see y’all on the lawn with Michelle in 2010.
OUTSTANDING EVENT THAT PROMOTED HOOPING TO A WIDER AUDIENCE
Michelle Obama hoops at the White House. – And I fully expect Barack to be rocking some fuzzy legwarmers and a blindfold by the end of 2010. Get on that, DC hoopers. Check it out.
OUTSTANDING HOOP TRACK OF THE YEAR
In For the Kill (Skream’s Let’s Get Ravey Mix), La Roux – This fall, I was awake at some ungodly hour, crying, because my newly broken foot (see “Extreme Hooper of the Year”) hurt so badly. I opened my laptop and realized that Rich Porter was also up ass-early and had sent me an email. The message contained this song. I don’t know if it’s THE ENTIRE HOOP COMMUNITY’S track of the year, but I can say that it was a song that I also listened over and over and over, while I was kneeling on a chair, trying to find a way to hoop through physical and emotional pain. There’s something about this song that’s so cathartic, and it offers the opportunity to do both ballet-like, liquid moves (to the vocals) and punctuated breaks (to the constantly increasing tempo). Big thanks to Rich for giving me a musical raft on which to float away.
HOOP THEORY VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Pacman Style – Nicolas Longuechaud, will you please come to America immediately and father my children? Thanks.
HOOP PERFORMANCE VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Vessica Sister at Rothbury – If a hoop video is more than 3 minutes long, I nod off. If it’s more than 4 minutes long, seriously – my face is on the keyboard. This video is 8 friggin’ minutes long, and I COULD NOT LOOK AWAY. Shakti Sunfire and Luna Breeze did one of the most otherworldly, creative performances of 2009, so very nearly capturing my performance group of the year. Because I felt that Code Red Circus Conspiracy was more constantly committed to performing together in 2009, they slightly won out – but Vessica Sister gets mad, mad, mad applause for this routine.
HOOP HEALING VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Lissa Angeline – I’m so glad this video exists. Lissa, thank you for putting yourself out there and telling your story in such an honest and beautiful way.
ONLINE HOOP TUTORIAL OF THE YEAR
Sharna Rose – I am constantly blown away by everything that Sharna does – and also by her willingness to post videos, breaking down her hard-won skills. To be honest, though, I don’t know how to narrow down which tutorial is “best.” Depends on where you’re at with your practice. So I direct you to Sharna’s youtube channel, where you can pick your own favorites of 2009. Check out Sharna’s vids. (Example below.)
HOOP PHOTO OF THE YEAR (tie)
* NOTE 2/10: I hate to tweak this post after the fact. Voting closed inside my head back in January. But I have to admit that I feel remiss in saying, “brilliant hoopers” and “2009 was the year of the gold bikini” and not including this effing video! I must have been drinking behind my podium, as I neared the end of the awards. Anyway, I met Michele at Hoop Convergence 2008. I could not *believe* how BADASS her double fire hoop, regular off-body doubles and acro hoop skillz had become by 2009. Like she found a door into a better universe and left us all behind. Beka only just entered my radar in 2009. She quickly became a fave with her flipping, foot hooping, headstand, acrobatic, “I majored in choroegraphy and it shows” style. And good lord: The gold bikinis! This is just such an unapologetically beautiful video. So, ahem — and this is the last thing that will ever be added to the 2009 Revolvies, even if you buy me that new car I requested — please hold onto your eyeballs, as I present “The Goddess Award” to Michele Clark and Beka Halls.
Okay. Back to the pictures.
Rich and Spiral by Barry J. Holmes – It’s everywhere. It’s on Facebook. It’s at Hoop Camp. It’s featured on hooping.org. You pull back your covers at night, and it’s there – in your bed! Ahhhhhh! Still, no matter how many times you see this photo, it never quite loses its wow.
HOOP CONFERENCE OF THE YEAR – HOOP CONVERGENCE
I just recently had a performer (badass at other forms of object manipulation and launching an interesting hoop duo project) call me up to ask me questions about the various available hoop conferences. And now that we have more than one (can you believe it? Remember 2007, when we didn’t have ANY?), I was starting to think about which one might have been my top experience of the year. In 2009, I attended the NW Flow Gathering, Hoop Convergence, Hoop Camp and also camped at Spin Cycle at Burning Man (a defacto conference). I’d say out of all of them, based on homey vibe, hilariousness in the Falcoln Lodge, comfort – but not too many unnecessary frills, good meals and just downright fun and charm, I had the best time at Hoop Convergence. Thanks Julia Hartsell, Scott Crews and all the Carrboro hoopers for putting on such a fun event.
… and finally,
EXTREME HOOPER OF THE YEAR
Revolva – Okay, I created a category for myself. Only because I did my part to make hooping an extreme sport this year. On October 2, while rehearsing for an all-women’s circus project in Portland, I landed a jump … in the hospital. I snapped the fifth metatarsal on my right foot. For two months, while hobbling around on crutches, in my hot pink cast, I got to answer the question, “How’d you break your foot?” with the reply “Hula hooping.” And so I leave you with two words, my friends: X-GAMES 2010!