Later yesterday afternoon, I had still more hooping fun, at Big Bend Brewing Company on the west side of Alpine. After the 3 pm brewery tour given by friend, fellow hooper, and BBB tour-director-soon-to-be-brewer Amy O, we broke out the new adult-size hoops the brewery commissioned me to make for them (in brewery logo colors of red, grey, and white); 'Bikeman," Amy O, Elliott, and I enjoyed hooping on the wonderful deck/patio of the brewery.
It turns out that having a beer or two on a perfect spring afternoon with and adult-sized hoops readily available and a brief (and I do mean brief) lesson is the perfect combination to inspire many adults who have never hooped or have not hooped since they were kids, to try hooping (again). We had several people get in the hooping groove.
So not only does BBB get my vote for some of the best ever beer (truly, and I have been a fan of excellent microbrews since moving to the Pacific Northwest, spearhead of that movement, in 1991), not only is the brewery tour super interesting, not only does the brewery have the status of "most remote brewery in the U.S.," now BIG BEND BREWING COMPANY *may* be the only brewery to have its own small corral of hoops on site for use by visitors and staff alike. How cool is that?!
In fact, that was so much fun hooping at the brewery that Bikeman and I are thinking that it would be a great place to have an outdoor hooping jam the first Saturday of each month, when the brewery has its open house (from 1 - 6 pm I THINK). I will double check with the brewery staff on this, but I wanted to mention it now because the next "first Saturday" is... this coming Saturday, May 2. If you are so inclined, please come to the brewery with your hoop(s)-- and enjoy excellent, locally-brewed beer, "made with love" (plus it's good for you (if you don't have an alcohol problem), as it is unfiltered, unpasteurized, and Full of B vitamins and other nutrients, and it clearly faciltates great conversation and hooping. At least that's my experience.) The views from the big, open parking area (read: hooping area) out back are spectacular. And the company is great, too.
NOW: about hoopdance classes.... Lately attendance at our Monday night classes is way down. I am not surprised. Nor am I insulted. These things happen. I know how often I intend to go to yoga class vs. how often I actually attend. (And I am always so glad I went, and so grateful that Mary Pollock, Pam Cook, Clemencia Bakker are teaching at Big Bend Yoga; we are so lucky to have this great resource, and these excellent teachers.). Still, regardless of how few people -- or how many -- show up for hoopdance or any other class, preparing for class still requires quite a bit of time and energy on the part of the teacher, a committment, and a certain ability to be present despite myriad other things going on in our lives.
While it's a great honor and a real delight to facilitate this kind of learning for others, and to constantly be learning from fellow hoopdancers, I am coming to realize that I have overcommitted myself a bit. Right now, I am self-employed, and running three businesses (Far Out Hooping, my massage therapy practice, and The Big Bend Gazette. This was not, as you may imagine, really well planned. In fact, I didn't really have a plan at all. I just keep jumping into more things that interest me and trying to find ways to make a living here in remote W TX. I know many of you know how this trend firsthand).
To boot, my father has a terminal illness and lives in Vermont, so I will be traveling there much more frequently in the near future, as well as traveling quite a bit for business and pleasure this summer. With all this juggling, I notice I am pretty overbooked at times, and sometimes fairly stressed out. Something (or several somethings) have to give.
Since attendance has been so low at hooping classes the past few months, and since I imagine it may drop off even more given how many of us love to travel in summer, I have decided to take a summer break from teaching hoopdance classes, effective immediately. (Also, I am in deadline crunch this week for the May issue of the Gazette, and then headed to Vermont again in a week, so the timing is right.)
To those of you who have come to class, whether even just once or regularly, please know that no matter how many or how few of you are in a class, every class is worth it to me, and I so enjoy hooping and learning with you all, especially since I started teaching classes in September. It's a great honor, delight, and joy. I just need a break.
Also, I would love your feedback on the structure for future classes. I am thinking of going back to 4- or 8-week sessions for classes, and perhaps offering beginner and intermediate courses again. Discreet time frames and clearer expectations for course content seem more manageable for all involved. This is just my hunch.
Furthermore: we're still on for regular hooping jams every Monday evening at the Granada Theater. That is one FINE hooping space. We are so fortunate. Every Monday night, 6-8 pm at the theater; I will bring my sound system when I can attend. And any time during those jams if you want help with a hooping move -- from me, or anyone else hooping -- please just ask. I love sharing hooping moves with you all and learning new moves from you.
I am also game for meeting elsewhere other days and times for hooping outside together: Kokernot Park? Kokernot Lodge lawn? Where else?
This is OUR hooping community; we have created a really wonderful entity. Let's keep it going.
Meantime, see you Monday nights at the Granada? Join me for our regular hooping jam, 6-8 pm. Free, open to all, including total beginners. Children are welcome, though they must be supervised at all times for their safety. Bring hoops (or borrow one of ours), drinking water, and come dressed to move and and sweat. Also, think about socializing with us afterwards at the Saddle Club next door.
And if you want to buy a dance hoop custom made for you, let me know.