photographed by Andrew Phinney
written by Cesca Janece Waterfield
It’s a spectacle of choreography and grace; a hypnotic, generic hip-swaying show of collective cooperation and individual expression. At any age, it’s breathtaking.
Stacey Guard was 40 when she first saw hoop dance performers. “I’d never seen hoop dance before and I thought it was absolutely beautiful,” she remembers. She searched online and found a performer in Charlottesville. Together they hosted a local workshop. “I’ve been hooked ever since.”
Soon after, she founded rva Hoop Lovers, a local group who meets weekly to perform and learn “hooping.” The old art form is enjoying a nationwide resurgence, thanks to its unique knack for boosting health, fitness and smiles.
“It’s a lot of fun!” Stacey exclaims. “You can’t angry hoop. It’s a way to escape from anything that is stressing you out. You might put the hoop down and go right back into your bad mood, but while you’re hooping, it’s almost impossible to not enjoy yourself.”