The Welsh capital has now gone full circle and is about to host its very first hula hoop convention.
Its first edition, named WHoopC, will be a day of workshops including electro-swing hop dance, circus and yoga and featuring international hoopers, Lisa Lottie and Miss Polly Hoops, currently the youngest street performer in Covent Garden. The event, which will take place on April 6 at Jacob’s Antique, welcomes all hula enthusiasts from total beginners to professional hoop-handlers.
Organisers Ellie Pilott, from Elliecopter Hoops and Mary Bijou Cabaret and Esther Fuge, from NoFit State Circus are the motors behind the initiative. Miss Pilott, who teaches weekly hula hoop classes at The Abacus where everyone is welcome, said: “There are hoop conventions all over the world, from Bali to Bristol and Wales doesn’t have one – so we should do it!”
Miss Fuge, 23, originally from Swansea, joined No Fit State circus a year and a half ago as a volunteer helping out in the kitchen and putting the tent up. A contemporary dancer by training, she started hooping when she received her first hoop for Christmas as a young child and got inspiration from watching Youtube videos.
Since then, Miss Fuge performs and teaches hula hoop at No Fit State. She said: “It is quite a niche thing but there is a massive community in hula hoop. It’s a little bit hippie because it’s about skill sharing and people get obsessed with it. Now it has gone out of fashion a bit but it’s a great form of exercise.
“If I have an opportunity to make a difference and to bring the community together in anyway possible, I will go ahead and do it.In Cardiff, the art and performance scene is great and it really nurture itself with the community.
“Hula hoop is usually female dominated but it doesn’t have to be, there are plenty of different things you can do. It is instantly satisfying, whatever disability you may have. That’s what is also great about circus is that it can be for everyone.
“I love the idea of a mother and daughter coming along but we are kind of aiming at people who want to take hooping seriously – people who are in their back garden trying to hoop already and anybody who is curious about picking up a plastic hoop and seeing what they can do with it.”
WHoopC also wants to support local businesses and has chosen Jacob’s Antique, a Cardiff family-run business, as its venue. “Jacobs is a jamble yard of beautiful antiques and there is space for people to hoop. You really feel like you are in a circus,” added Miss Fuge. Lunch will be provided by Penylan Pantry, a delicatessen food store selling local produce.
The convention will run from 11am to 8pm and tickets costs £45, which include workshops, skill share, a hoop jam and lunch. For more information, go to the official WHoopC website, and on the Facebook page.