About the Author
Jan Camp is an artist and graphic designer with an active hoopdance practice. She has contributed to two books that inspired Hoopdance Revolution, A Door in the Swamp by Joell Jones and the Fish Arm Collective (coming soon), and Cay Lang’s Taking the Leap (Chronicle Books). A resident of Oakland, California, Jan studied art and writing at the College of Santa Fe, San Francisco State University, and University of Chicago. Her critically acclaimed work as a visual artist has been represented in art galleries all over the States and gained her two residencies at the MacDowell artist colony.
The sensation of whirling like a dervish as a young woman, my skirts billowing with centrifugal force, returned to me during my very first hoopdance class. Along with seven other students, I gave the instructor my full attention even though I was unsure that I would be able to manage a large hoop. When she demonstrated the graceful flow of hoopdancing, however, there was no turning back: I was going to do that. Before long we were swinging and dropping hoops wildly. By the middle of the class I was gaining control of my hoop; by the end I was committed to the practice. It was fun, aerobic, and social.
At home I started hooping for just one minute a day in my driveway with a high fence to shield my awkward attempts. On rainy days I pushed aside the furniture and hooped in my living room to the music of Buena Vista Social Club, Janis Ian, or Yo-Yo Ma, depending on my mood. As I progressed I wanted company; I wanted laughter and inspiration as well as the dance. I made hoops for all my friends from instructions I found on the Internet, and moved from the safety of my driveway to the park around the corner. “I could never do it” became my cue to help others reach that moment of elation when, for the first time, the hoop orbits the body and stays up, even if only for a revolution or two.
In those first few months I rapidly dropped twelve pounds, began to dress in clothes that hugged my body, and explored types of music that I had never thought to listen to before. I loved everyone and everything. It was exciting, wonderful, and a little disconcerting. For a time I felt out of control. My body was changing fast, and my moods often elevated to inappropriate heights. As frightening as it sometimes felt, I didn’t give up the hoop. Instead I began to use hoopdance for balance, integrating it into my spiritual practice as a way to calm my mind and celebrate life.
Before long I wanted to know everything about this phenomenal tool that was reconstructing my entire outlook: Where did hoopdance come from? Who else is doing it? Does everyone undergo profound transformation? The few books and many websites I found sparked my curiosity further. In the end by meeting and playing with hoopdancers, and interviewing them about their experiences, I came to understand the significance of the hoop as a catalyst for energetic change.