While not a completely obvious tropical activity, we had to include an interview with Paige Tashner, HULA hoop (get it? Hula....Hawaii....) master. Paige, self-proclaimed as The Hoopanista, teaches hoopdance to fun-lovers all over Portland. Paige is also the founder of hoop troupe, The Spinnerettes. Read on to find out more about hoopdancing’s biggest enthusiast.
E+E: When was the first time you ever hoopdanced?Paige Tashner: I've always been able to hoop on my waist. I even won a bottle of Kahlua for hooping the longest. So I guess my first time for my current form of hooping would be Burning Man in 2008, I think. Some of my campmates in VW Bus Camp were hooping in a way that I had never seen before. They were lifting it off their bodies and swirling around and changing planes and angles. Mary & Lynda (my hoop mamas) taught me how to use my body to keep the big hoops going, which I found quite easy. The bigger the hoop, the slower the rotation, the easier it is to hoop with!
E+E: Are there tricks with hoopdancing? If so, what is your favorite trick to perform?PT: There are soooooo many "tricks" in hoopdancing. You take the hoop off your body, hoop with your hands, hoops with your legs, feet, bring it back on to your body, change directions, planes, heights, direction, speed. It is infinite. What I love to do is hoop around my chest - there is just something that feels so good propelling that circle around my body, no hands, just the undulation of my rib cage. It's my go to move.
E+E: What is the most difficult aspect of hoopdancing?PT: With anything, it takes practice to make progress. It took me well over a year to attempt and finally succeed at a 3-beat weave with 2 hoops. Now that I can do it, I love to whip that out! I'd also say that hoopers can be hard on themselves when learning whether it's hooping at the waist for the first time or trying something more complicated. People tend to compare themselves with others and I try to emphasize that once you're in your hoop, nobody dances like you. It is a very personal experience.E+E: How many girls are in The Spinnerettes and how did the troupe come about?PT: My core group of The Spinnerettes consist of 3 other hoopers and include myself. I asked them to join me because I've hooped with them over the years and we just gelled. 2 of them were in another hoop group with me and we wanted to do it better...so we did! The third hooper is my hoop assistant. We have 3 other amazing hoopers who have joined us depending on the performance situation and availability.E+E: What is your favorite class to teach?PT: I'm teaching a class this summer that helps students learn how to put moves together by creating a dance to music. We have a blast!!! And it's a way for me to show them that they don't have to be perfect performers who know all the fancy tricks or have been performing for years. We created a dance to "Sexy and I Know It" and we laughed the whole time. It's about bringing attitude and yourself into the mix.E+E: What is the hoop community like?PT: In my experience, the local hooping community is incredibly supportive. In my class, we cheer each others little successes -- a hoop going around the waist one more time, a launch off the body, a graceful turn. It puts people at ease with themselves knowing others have experienced the same frustrations. We laugh a lot.Beyond the classroom, there are many hoopers who love, love, love to hoop together and catch up on each other's lives and share tricks or music or show new hoops or fun clothes. It is a warm and inviting environment where everyone is accepted and encouraged to grow.E+E: What is your favorite thing about Portland?PT: I've lived in Portland my entire life. It's hard to pick one favorite thing. I have a great community of friends and I feel loved. I also love the rain and the sound of it on the canopy in Forest Park when I'm hiking up there.
Written by: Sarah Ing