Ellen Phillips twirled her LED hula hoop around the dance floor at the new Black Lodge on Cleveland during Cooper-Young Fest weekend, spinning out custom patterns like cartoon slices of pizza and Mario Kart mushrooms.
I approached her and asked where she got such a stunning hula hoop. She handed me her hoop and replied, "Here, do you want to play with it?"
A novice at best, I spun the hoop around my waist for a moment, wishing I'd known more hoop tricks.
- Grind City Flow Festival
- It’s all in the hips.
As it turns out, Phillips is a professional hooper and a leader of Grind City Flow Festival, a team of instructors dedicated to providing the Memphis community with flow arts workshops. The group has organized a series of hoop instruction and choreography classes for attendees at Paint Memphis, an annual one-day festival committed to bringing artists together for a collaborative mural project.
"So someone comes in, learns to waist hoop, learns to hoop juggle, does a little fun paint hooping," she says. "We'll drill holes in some of the hoops and put paint inside them, and hoopers will just spin the hoop around their waist, and they'll be creating art."
Phillips and her colleague, Hallie Star, will also lead a flash mob choreography workshop, teaching basic tricks and moves to students, who will use what they've learned to perform alongside Mighty Souls Brass Band at the festival.
"Everyone's invited to come out," she says. "It doesn't matter what gender or size you are. Hooping is good for everyone. And we're excited to be hosting the first official World Hoop Day celebration in Memphis."
World Hoop Day celebration at Paint Memphis 2019, Historic Lamar Theatre, 1688-1730 Lamar Ave., Saturday, October 5th, 2-10 p.m., free.