Good evening, and welcome to the Revolvies, an awards show that is totally biased and based solely on the opinion of one ridiculous, unitard-loving woman. The Revolvies began in 2008, as a way to spread some honor beyond the Hoopies. At that time, it was hard to compete in the Hoopies without seven computers, 500 family members and a mailing list that stretched around the earth 46 times. In 2009 and 2010 the Revolvies provided comedy relief, as the Hoopies instituted technological and human-o-logical changes to make voting much more fair. Unfortunately, by that time, people already started to put “I won a Revolvie!” in their bio. So, here we are.
What is the difference between The Hoopies and The Revolvies? You can vote in the Hoopies (major props to Hooping.org for overseeing the complex process of producing the only community-driven hoop awards). If you asked to vote in the Revolvies, I’d say, “Step off, son, this is the Revolvies – not the YOUS.” So what’s the point? Chillaxing. In the Revolvies, you don’t have to worry about campaigning, endorsements, voting or thinking, “I’ll never win; I only have 156 Facebook friends!” and then drinking an entire bottle of scotch by yourself and passing out in the fetal position. It’s a bit of levity – meant as a compliment to the election hoopla.
The Revolvies is an awards show and a year-in-review, with a dash of salt. It comes out at the same time as the Hoopies, so that results in one do not impact (or even appear to impact) the other. And just to be clear, the Revolvies loves the Hoopies, and if anyone tried to say something negative about hooping.org, the Revolvies would hoop in your face. This is just a way to acknowledge that elections and awards can be funny. So sit back, grab a bottle of scotch, and raise it in the air: We made it to 2012! Let’s see what happened along the way.
Last year, top awards were given – in both the Hoopies and the Revolvies – to two major hoop entities: Spiral and Philo. One might call these two hoopers, and their absolute concentration of honor, the top “1 percent” of the hoop world. The 99 percent of our community who didn’t win an award couldn’t stand for this power imbalance any longer. Here is the revolution that took down two of the top entities in hooping and redistributed the awards amongst the people. Enjoy the pre-show.
And now, on to the awards!
Overall Concept of the Year: Style
When Hoopalicious called her midwife and gave birth to the modern hooping movement, no one could have predicted that “hooping” would eventually become such a varied family, influenced by older circus relatives and marrying into disciplines such as poi. Much like ballet can be broken down into classical, neoclassical and contemporary – or “popping” is an umbrella term that covers “tutting” – we’re at a point in where “hooping” means a lot of things. Do you dance hoop? Poi hoop? Mini hoop? Multiple hoop? Is a 40” fitness hoop even the same prop as a 25” polypro? This year, Revolvies are given for many different styles, from tech hooping to hoop rolling, to honor with the fact that “hooper of the year” begs a question: What kind of hooper? Check out the Spin Cycle hoop jam at this year’s Burning Man for a lot of jamming, in various styles. (That Hoopalicious sure had a lot of children.)
Mini Hooper(s) of the Year – Piryokopi
The Piryokopi hoops routine is the story of a caterpillar named Gary, in post-apocalyptic New Jersey, who tries to overcome loneliness by breaking his body segments into multiple caterpillars, so he’ll have friends around to listen to him sing Katy Perry songs. I made that up. But seriously, the isolations in this video are out of control – and so are those deadpan facial expressions. Come on guys, could you do this to Katy Perry, while imagining Gary the caterpillar, without breaking into a smile once? If you do it to “Last Friday Night,” while wearing sequined pants, I might give it a second Revolvie.
Hoop Performer of the Year – Annabel Carberry
Annabel Carberry made me nervous (without knowing it) because she performed on the open stage at the 2011 European Juggling Convention … the night before I was scheduled to perform. I didn’t see Annabel’s act, but I heard about it – repeatedly. “Revolva, there was the BEST comedy hooper last night!” At the time, it only contributed to me doing my most nervous performance ever. But I watched the video later, and what I like about this act is that she kick starts four hoops into a split (in heels) then spins a bunch of hoops – and that’s not even what it’s about. We’re hooked to the thread about the “glass of red.” Great act. I forgive you for making me nervous, Annabel. Let’s drink wine together sometime.
Fitness Hooper of the Year – Jocelyn Gordon
Jocelyn Gordon has a great motto on her website: “Ecstatic Empowerment: Proving that transformation can be fun.” She’s a master-level (Hoopnotica) hoop fitness trainer, and has also created Lovers Rock® – Partner Yoga & Massage for Couples in Love, Bhakti Boogie® and HoopYogini.™ She’s taught around the world, appeared in Gaiam Productions’ Marisa Tomei hoopBody DVD Kit, been on The Dr. Oz Show. Check out the video below for proof of how articulate and awesome this woman is. A true ambassador for fitness hooping.
Isolationist of the Year – Dustin Hubel
I first saw a video of Dustin when I was still living in Detroit and he was probably still in high school. When I moved to Oregon, I looked him up immediately, because I wanted to learn from him. I can’t say I’ve gotten far, although the “isolation orbit” (I think someone else gave it that name) is now solidly in my bag of tricks. (I learned that from Dustin.) I gave him an award in the 2008 Revolvies. At that time, there were just a sprinkling of Dustin videos in existence. I’m bringing him back around because he finally put out a demo video in November. It highlights some ball work, too, but check out his isolations. Clean as a whistle.
Multi Hooper(s) of the Year – Lisa Lottie vs. Satya
According to her bio, Satya Bella practices a “fusion of hoop dance, circus style multi-hoop, rhythmic gymnastic tricks, and hoop spinning.” I was going to give this award to her because I saw her hooping at the Lake Tahoe Flow Fest (where she also performed with badass troupe Flame Oz) and liked her style. When I was scoping out a video for the award, however, I came across Lisa Lottie vs. Satya. They had me at “Beyonce.” Why don’t y’all split this one, ladies?
Comedy Hooper of the Year – Jon Coyne “Hoopsmiles”
Earlier this year, I saw a video of a Jon Coyne wearing a hot pink shirt and roller skating while hooping. It made me laugh, so I followed a link to another video – which turned out to be his “How to Hoop” rap song (see below). Later, Jon released the “Hula Hoop Appreciation Song,” featuring cats and gnomes. All of these things have cracked me up. But when he’s not rapping, rollerblading or playing a Woodstock piano – it turns out Jon also makes totally serious, incredibly thoughtful tutorials, in regular clothing. Which because it’s so unexpected, is somehow also funny. I’m a big fan. Thanks for the hoopsmiles, Jon.
Hoop Juggler of the Year – Nicolas Longuechaud
This man’s isolations are off the hook. His video “Clockwork” totally deserves a 2012 award (came out this month). The Revolvies decision process is based on a lot of things, though, including, “Omg! Look; that person who is so well known for one style just totally excelled in this whole different style!” And I’d like to point out that he is using *hoops* not the juggling “rings” that most jugglers use (flat circles). This is the year of style. Way to rock it juggle style, Nicolas. (That offer from the 2009 Revolvies, to father my children, still stands.)
Hoop Roller of the Year –
Raw Art’s “Ring-o-graphy,” Alexandra Savina
Everyone in the world should watch this video. At least eight times. I’m actually wondering if Raw Art locked Alexandra Savina in that dark room until she got every move exactly right because I can’t imagine how many hours and hours and hours and years and years it took to get so smooth.
Tech Hooper of the Year – Gail O’Brien
Some people perform with objects. Other people work out with them (hooping for fitness), play with them or socialize with them. And SOME people invent with them. You may have gone to a hoop event, or perhaps the European Juggling Festival, only to find Gail O’Brien, in the corner, quietly inventing some crazy-ass half chest roll, turn around to back roll that probably has an anti-spin in it somewhere. This video’s cool, so I’m including it, but I don’t think it even does justice to her complete spectrum of ingenuity. She’s got the moves like Jagger.
Street Performer(s) of the Year –
Jo Mondy and Angie Mack “WHOOPS Women’s Hoops Squad”
Many hoopers define “busking” as freestyling next to a drum circle. I was impressed to see Jo Mondy and Angie Mack write a proper circle show in 2011, and then just go for it. After practicing locally, they began touring it. I ran into them at Edinburgh Fringe Festival. They had some pretty good crowds for their still-new show, and even better sweatbands from their sponsors, The Women’s Athletic Team (T.W.A.T.). Way to go WHOOPS!
Hoop Choreography of the Year – Brecken and Tiana
Brecken and Tiana rehearsed this act at the Vulcan – for hours a day, days and days and weeks on end. There were charts on the wall, with stick figures, circles, arrows and wavy lines. Something I find amusing is how often people say, “I love Brecken; she just doesn’t care!” – not knowing that, while she doesn’t bother with the glitter, she approaches hooping like a dancer/artist and trains more than anyone I know. Tiana came over and did the same. This routine didn’t emerge from inherent talent (although there’s definitely that, too). It came from hard work, endless hours and commitment. Please take note of 3:49-50, which is literally impossible.
Fire Hooper(s) of the Year – Bags and Tilly, partner fire
This year’s nod goes to Bags and Tilly for the *variety* of styles they are able to pull off on fire. It’s easier to land things at a “jam” and much harder to land them in an actual show, where the entire crowd’s focus is on YOU. Bags and Tilly perform fire hoop moves, from tech to juggling, that are already hard enough with normal hoops. I couldn’t find a great video of their fire work, so please enjoy this Juggling Inferno show video – and note Bags and Tilly’s next-level ridiculousness at 1:13 and 1:32. (You’ll enjoy the other fire hoopers in this video, too! Nice work, y’all.)
Air Hooper of the Year – Lila and Luna Breeze (tie)
I am just DIGGING this west coast woo-woo spiritual life, so I’m not going to stop with awarding the element of fire. I am also going to award the element of air, my sisters and brothers. 2011 saw some true advances in air hooping. I think we’re going to see a lot more of this element in 2012. Here’s Lila demonstrating the backyard version and Luna Breeze taking it to the stage.
Water Hooper of the Year – HoopCharmer
F it! Here’s water, too! (We all hoop on the earth, so I’m not going to go there.) It’s hard to imagine a more gorgeous hooper than HoopCharmer. This video snuck its beautiful self into the last days of 2011 – and almost made me want to start dating women. 😉 In all seriousness, there’s something so relaxing about the setting, mixed with the vibrant hooping, and — it’s just all around beautiful. I’ve already watched it like 20 times because it’s uplifting. I might go watch it again.
Male Core Hoopers Doing Their Own Thang of the Year-
Simon Purdie, Rico Titou
What is up with the men this year? Aren’t you guys supposed to have hoops in your hands and, you know, isolate them or something? (Just a little joke; don’t hurt me, male core hoopers.) The Revolvies wants to honor two awesome gents who not only concentrate on the core, but also put their super, super unique spin on things. I have to admit that when I first saw Simon Purdie’s “Monkey Hooping” video, I thought, “Well, that looks cool. But what’s the big deal? He’s moving his arms around inside the space of a larger hoop.” Then I tried it. It requires very precise timing to get an arm through. Just one arm. Just once. I recant my initial “So?” Monkey Hooping’s awesomely challenging, and also just awesome. Rico tips his core and works it on the neck and shoulders. This is also a style all his own, influenced by contact staff. Rico provided one of my favorite moments at Hoop Camp this year, when he kicked over a cup of almonds or something (while teaching) and yelled into the headset mic, “Oh, my nuts!”
The Revolvies had planned to launch a youth and over-40 Revolvie this year. It was an idea whose time had come! Hooping.org launched a youth Hoopie, so the Revolvies is focusing on the other side of the 20s/30s.
Over-40 hooper of the year – Sue Wilkinson
A standing ovation to Sue Wilkinson, for rep-ra-zenting her over-40 self repeatedly in 2011. This resident of a 70-person village in England not only managed to inspire hoopers far and wide, with her amazing contribution to Hooping Idol, she has also outfitted us with bling for our hoops, via her business “Fancy Tapes.” Sue started hooping in 2007 and has subsequently begun aging backward. According to her: “I would say that before I hooped I looked and felt and behaved my age. Now I don’t. It took years off me.” Cheers to that!
Zombie Apolcalypse Hooper of the Year –
Thriller, Astral Rhythm Dancers (tie)
A recent photo featured on hooping.org claiming that hooping keeps zombies away. Turns out, exactly the opposide is true. That’s why I can make up a ridiculous category like “Zombie Style” and have more than one winner. Nicole Wong and Sarah Starlight’s “Thriller” (featuring many guest stars) wins hands down for production value, costumes, creativity and Michael Jackson-ness. And then, I also liked the Astral Rhythm Dancers‘ routine … on a bed of leaves … to the MOST UN-ZOMBIE-LIKE song ever! I don’t understand it. And I simultaneously love it. If the zombie apocolypse really happens, we’re all screwed because apparently zombies are going to run straight toward our hoops.
Debut Hoop Props of the Year – Maghoops, Poop Squoops
A lot of what we now do with hoops is possible thanks to the R&D people put into props. This year, two especially interesting props hit the scene. Laura Scarborough launched Maghoops – a series of hoops connected by magnets. While finicky if you (by “you,” I mean “me”) don’t know how to use them, they look incredible once you (by “you,” I mean “Laura”) get the knack. Another cool prop was “poop squoops.” In 2008, Caroleeena brought a giant square hoop “squoop” to Hoop Convergence. In 2011, Amelio Bedelio brought a pair of poi-hoop (poop) square hoops (squoops) to hoop camp. Poop Squoops are as fun to use as they are to talk about. Thanks for the new toys, ladies.
Best thing to happen to hooping –
Renegade Shows and Heckling
Drop a hoop, and hoopers will say, “That’s the sound of progress!” Who knew that this friendly crew can also act like ESCAPED FELONS ON SPRING BREAK IN MIAMI? Hoop Convergence and Hoop Camp both debuted “Renegade Shows” this year, a tradition borrowed from juggling festivals, in which attendees do stupid tricks, use unfamiliar props, imitate festival goers, and heckle the pants off of performers. Heckling is the art of telling someone to “Do it again, only better,” and it can be the most entertaining part of a Renegade show. High five to everyone who participated in two of the funniest Renegades I’ve ever seen — and it would be criminal for Alley ‘Oop, Gail and Emma not to be mentioned as the most wicked hecklers in the hoop community. Please enjoy the attached video of Nick Guzzardo diving through a fire hoop balanced on Poki’s face (one of the few 2011 Renegade acts the Revolvies can feature from largely NSFW shows). You’re all crazy. Do it again in 2012, only better!
Hoop Community of the Year: Bristol
This is one category where I will break my own rule and possibly repeat an honor. (Bristol’s up for the same award in the Hoopies). Why? Because Bristol deserves it.
Last year, I awarded “Bristol Hoop Massive” group video of the year, with an attached suspicion, based largely on 80s track suits, that they might be my long, lost hoop family. This summer, I visited Bristol for the first time. Turns out it was true; they are the soul mates for whom I’ve been searching my entire hoop life. I cannot recommend highly enough that YOU visit Bristol in 2012, where you will find Hooping Mad — host of the SWHoop conference and traveling teachers, Bags and his fab hoop partner Tilly Twist, Hooping Idol winner Nick Broyd (see winning video below) and a crew of other hilarious and amazing local hoopers. One might say it’s a “pimp” place to be.
Debut Class of the Year – “Acro Hooping,” Ninja Hoops
A few years ago, “I just dance with it” was probably the annoyed response of every hooper who was asked, “How many of those can you do at once?” Now, a lot of hoopers have passed through one, experimented with adding more, and in a healthy effort to challenge themselves – want to try things like hooping cartwheels. Ninja Hoops, a.k.a. Zach Fisher and Marria Grace Key, made a bridge between the hooping and circus worlds this year, by launching “Acro Hooping,” a class where even beginner tumblers can learn acro hoop moves. Which is great because there are endless classes about tapping into one’s existing hoop flow. Kudos to Ninja Hoops for offering one on discovering complex new skills.
Overall Instructor – Emma Kerr, Hooping Mad
I learned some slang in England: mental. I think it means something so crazy, it has become awesome. Emma Kerr is mental. As far as I know, she spends 90 percent of the hours in a day teaching and organizing conferences for her company Hooping Mad – including SWHoop (see video below), which features top American teachers (this year Hoopalicious and Malcolm Stuart), alongside the UK’s best. Emma hosted Brecken, Ann Humphries and I this summer on our way to the European Juggling Convention. When we went to bed, Emma was working. She was up before us, working. Her teaching has been cited as influential by people like Nick Broyd (Hooping Idol) and Bags (Pooping Idol). Hooping Mad is hooping mental. In the best way.
Extreme Hooper of the Year –
Parkour-Hooping – Josh and Pocok
This is a revived category from 2009, when I gave myself an award for breaking my foot jumping through a hoop. (And I’m cheating a bit because the video was posted a matter of days before 2011 started, but it didn’t get rolling, pardon the pun, until the year was in swing.) The extreme lameness of the “hooping” in here is actually balanced out by how dangerously cool these guys look. In fact, that’s the only required skill for parkour-hooping: “You gotta be really cool.” Laugh break.
Hoop Troupe of the Year – Rings & Tings (Bags, Tilly Twist)
One would be hard pressed to find another modern “hooping” troupe that features the ridiculously variety of skills Rings & Tings (Bags and Tilly Twist) are able to pull off, not just on stage – but also on fire. I saw them perform live this year (under the title “Bristol Hoop Massive”) and was also blown away by the attached video. They core hoop, tech hoop, partner poi hoop, acro hoop, juggle hoops, split hoops in the circus style, and they can do it all in character. I was slightly afraid they’d get big heads from receiving two awards, so I considered giving this one to someone else. But then I remembered that bragging about having a Revolvie is basically saying, “One person likes my work!” Anyway, the Revolvies is honest, even in its snarkiness. Mad props to your prop work, Rings & Tings.
Hoop Blogger of the Year — Lara Eastburn
As a writer myself, I’d like to honor the fact that video isn’t the only medium for advancing an artform. Lara Eastburn chronicles the hoop world for hooping.org, writes excellent articles for her blog “Hooposophy,” and has even gone so far as to put together a genealogy of influnces for hoopers called “The Hooping Family Tree.” I’m a stickler for quality of writing. When I see hooping/spinning/juggling blogs with butt loads of cool graphic design elements — that are not quite distracting me from the poorly written text-message-ese crap on top of those cool design elements, my inner writer nerd BUGS OUT. Thank you, Lara Eastburn for having a nicely designed blog full of interesting, well-written pieces — and also lending your mad skillz (purposeful misspelling! I know what I’m doing; I swear!) to hooping.org and the Hooping Family Tree.
Overall Badass of the Year – Kimowan Metchawais
In 2011, something significant happened to the hoop community. We lost a longtime member of our tribe. I only met Kimowan in person once, but like many hoopers whose presence makes a big impact in the online community, his reach was much further than his physical location. Perhaps that’s still true. I’ve given out this award for the past few years, and because I don’t know of anything more epic than making the transition on to the next step of the journey, this year’s award goes to Kimowan. The following videos illustrate both a dance that makes me cry, and a tender goodbye to the hoopers leaving a Hoop Path retreat. The goodbye is returned, with so much love from so many people who were impacted by your presence, Kimowan. In your own words, “travel well.” For more about Kimowan’s amazing life, please read this beautiful blog by Ann Humphries.
Revolvies Acceptance Speech of the Year – Miss Saturn
Let’s end with something lighthearted, to soften any tears about the previous award. The Revolvies has always encouraged people to make acceptance speeches. Folks wrote a few comments here and there. But no one ever went for the gusto – until Miss Saturn. Thanks for making us laugh, Saturn. You’re welcome for the nail clippers.
And that’s it for the awards! Congratulations to everyone who won a Hoopie, everyone who won a Revolvie, and everyone who just got up today and hooped without even looking at the internet — or caring who won anything. It’s effing fun, right? Wooooo!
LOOKING AHEAD TO 2012: “Do 2011 again – only better!”
I’m going to sign off with 5 predictions for 2012. Please heckle me if they don’t come true. I can take it.
1. Jugglers surprised to see women: A juggling festival takes place in a gym, costs zero to $35, provides no vegan meals, and never features the word “chakra” even once. That said, there are free workshops, renegade shows, gala shows, and endless access to a big gym full of (mostly male) object-obsessed nerds. I foresee more hoopers cross-training and keepin’ it real at juggling fests in 2012. Trust me, I started in 2008 and never turned back.
2. Hooping really is the new yoga – It’s been approaching for a long time. We’re not quite at the yoga class-availability level. But hooping has already branched into its own sub-genres (dance, minis, tech, fitness), and I hope 2012 is the year when you’ll find multiple hoop teachers in every city, teaching multiple classes, in multiple styles.
3. Acro Hoop Explosion – “I just dance with it” is so 2004. “I did a cartwheel for the first time, and I’m in my 40s and – whooooo!” is so 2012.
4. “Mooper” is the new “goddess.” Male hoopers are multiplying, and they seem confused when I say, “Your hooping is divine. You are such a GODDESS!” I can’t quite bring myself to call them “gods,” so I foresee a language shift in 2012. Less hoop “goddesses,” more male hoopers. “Moopers”?
5. Reality TV a continued hit: Hooping Idol and the Great Hoop Race did wonders to identify undiscovered talent in 2011. I predict more reality hooping in 2012. Suggestion: The Real Housewives of Beverley Hoops. Philo?