Coffee, hoop, beer

Rock City Cafe, Rockland. A group of hoop enthusiasts are in town for a workshop.

Discussion at Rock City Cafe

Networking at Rock City Cafe, Jen, Maria, and Beth – Coastal Collage

Beth Lavinder, up from Saxapahaw, North Carolina (yes that is a great name for a town!), will be the instructor. Saxapahaw is just outside of Carrboro, one of the earliest mecca’s for hooping. Today I get to peer into the hoop world, just a bit.

Not your momma's hula hoop

Not your momma’s hula hoop – Coastal Collage

I didn’t know what to expect, but really, how serious can hooping be?

At the workshop

At the workshop – Coastal Collage

Very!! These girls mean business, it is a serious Practice (with a capital P). Don’t let the laid back clothing and cool vibe fool you! Beth is an accomplished hooper, at once I am mesmerized by her fluid movement and grace.

Beth, hoop instructor

Beth, hoop instructor – Coastal Collage

Hooping is described as “movement inspired by music” and a “container for creativity”. Beth states, “every attempt toward expressing ourselves is one step toward telling our story.”

Hoop workshop, Rockland, Maine

Hoop workshop, Rockland, Maine – Coastal Collage

“We have coffee to energize, then hoop – which is quite meditative, then relax with a beer.”

A conversation not planned

A conversation not planned – Coastal Collage

The participants spoke of their respect for the discipline, having gained a deeper appreciation of the body, a sense of self within the movement. Others felt it was a way to loosen up and “have a heck of a lot of fun.”

Hoop workshop participants

Hoop workshop participants – Coastal Collage

It takes Practice!

It takes Practice! Jen, local hooper – Coastal Collage

Patience needed on the part of all

Patience needed on the part of all – Coastal Collage

As the hoopers were finally beginning to get a bit tired after and hour and a half or so, I took stock of my impression. First, human beings have an amazing capacity for beauty and grace. Secondly, the simple extension of the hoop, as if part of the body – intriguing – a kind of sympathetic resonance, each part separate yet whole.

Continuous movement, flow, current. It’s creative dance, but not really. A discipline as difficult as ballet? Possibly, certainly every bit as beautiful.

Beth hoop instructor

Beth Lavinder, hoop instructor – Coastal Collage

I was jealous of their ability to move, my joints ached to join in. At the very least, I wanted to see more!

Catch additional thoughts and pics of the hoopers here.

For Beth’s youtube videos click here. I especially liked ‘slow mow hoop dance to “How Low”‘ and ‘Beth Lavinder hoops to “Pertetuum Mobile”‘.

For hoop classes, workshops, hoop jam, and retreat info, for Maine and throughout the country, contact Maria Randolph at Hoop Me here.




Karen Olson

About Karen Olson

Karen Olson is a photographer, writer, and artist working in metal. Her blogs offer a global perspective, a celebration of art and culture. She 'lives like a tourist' in Midcoast Maine where she makes her home and finds inspiration for art and life in her travels. Follow her creative passion with Renuko Style at and Coastal Collage, a Bangor Daily News Blog at Karen's photography portfolio can be found at