Friday, August 22, 2014

Come and watch Flow Art Show this August 30, 2014 in Makati City!

My friends and I are holding a show on August 30, 2014 7PM at The Bulb Studios (Makati City). We'd be showcasing our skills with various props as well as our thoughts and feelings through the various performances that night.  We hope you could come and join us.  See what's in the world we're seeing and maybe the magic of flow arts will captivate you as well.  

The artists who would be performing are:
  • Mic Callo 
    • Mic is a performer who is adept at using various props like poi, hoops, contact staff, and even aerial hoop. She is also a teacher of flow arts like poi and hoops. One of the things I love about her performances is how she incorporates her love of dance while spinning.
  • Clair Ching
    • That's me! I am a hooper who started out by finding a way to get regular exercise.  I really like the technical aspects of hooping but lately I've been learning how to dance because of it. ;)
  • Thea Gloria
    • Thea is a pretty amazing young woman! She's so full of energy when she spins poi and dances with her hoop. You have to see her perform and be drawn to her vibrant style.
  • Oli Khosiking
    • I love watching Oli spin and I think you would too. He's got pretty poi skills and my heart stops whenever he does his tosses and catches them precisely. And I love his song choices so I can't wait for the day of the performance.
  • Alvin Lopez
    • Alvin is a master of isolation hoops. I first saw him in flow arts fest with various props doing contact juggling, hoops and a couple more. In the last 2 years, he's been getting much better with his technique as well as footwork.
  • Ehrlich Ocampo
    • He is also known as FireChill.  He's really versatile in terms of his dancing skills. When he mixes his dance techniques with his poi and levitation stick moves, he's someone to really enthrall the crowd. Must be some kind of magic? Yes!
  • Star Ore
    • Love the way Star hoops! His performances always have a story and it shows in the way he prepares his props, costume, makeup and hoop moves.  You will definitely see how much he loves his art and you can't help but do so too.
  • Hanz Pastor
    • When I first met Hanz in a spin jam, he was mostly drumming.  These days, he sometimes performs with his S-staff while the drum group he belongs to would continue playing the music.  He explores his chosen prop with a passion you can't help but see.
  • Paulino Servado III
    • You must have seen Paulino in various events as part of the Planet Zips group.  He's got so many years of experience as a performer and up to now I get mesmerized when I watch him spin.  There's just something about the way he gives life to the poi.

So please come and watch us! :)  We want to give you guys a glimpse of our lives as flow artists who can't help but spin (and anti-spin!) everything. ;)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Dream it. Work it.

Sometimes it's easy to lose sight of the things we want. Sometimes it's because we don't work on it.

In Tagalog, we say something like:
Libre ang mangarap.

(Dreaming is free.)

That's true. You could just dream all day. All night. No one is stopping you after all.  It's just that dreams do have a price if you want to achieve them.  Honestly, the price is something that would push you out of your comfort zone.  And if you're not willing to pay the price, how can you achieve that dream?

Many times that I've been pushed out of my comfort zone, I cower and freeze. It's debilitating and it's draining.  Despite the many fears, I am slowly inching out of the comfort zone (I believe) but if I want results, I have to change my mind and throw my fears away.  Well, or find ways to handle them.

Growing up with too many issues, I have gotten too weary to face too many things head on.  But lately, I just know I have to do it again but I need to temper myself so as to not get burned out.  It won't be easy but who ever said it was?  And if I stopped now, I won't just be affecting my own dreams but even the ones I've shared with others and that's something I can't stand.

So it's time to work it. The price has to be paid. And I need to remember that every day. I can't just be too hard on myself either because I might get burned out.  But I know I shouldn't stand still. I know I am not alone so it will be fine.  I have some trusted people with me on this journey and if we trust each other enough to work together, things will be fine in the end.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Hoop Love Coach Scholarship May 2014

It's almost two years since I started hooping. I wanted to lose weight for practical and medical reasons. I also knew I had to create new habits that would help me achieve that.  I started walking more during my morning and evening commute. I also added some exercise routines into my daily activities.  One of the things I did was poi but I wanted to do something else as well. Thankfully, I got very inspired by some hoopers during SpinD, a flow arts gathering I attended in early 2012. Actually, I am still amazed that I'm still hooping considering that I couldn't even get the hoop to rotate more than once or twice around my waist when I started.

But frustrations when I began showed me that part of the journey is overcoming those frustrations.  It might not be easy to deal with those things but time and again, I'm reminded that my hoop journey is not to be compared with anyone else.  My struggles and successes are different from yours and we could learn from each other.

What is hoop love and why I want to share it:

Hoop love for me is about two major things:
1. The hoop practice itself 
2. The development of one's self during the time that you are practicing

The hoop practice is something very personal and whether you do it for fitness or for meditation, you do it on a regular basis. Whatever kind of space you have and whatever kind of hoops you have, you could practice. It's not how fast you learn a technique nor how beautifully you could execute it the moment you learn it.  It is about the time and discipline you give your practice.  Throughout the time that you practice, you could be by yourself or with other people. Each kind of setting could give you new things to learn about your interaction with your hoop, with yourself and with other people.

I have found myself and my friends developing hoop skills and also our personalities throughout this time.  I noticed that the more we spend time practicing and developing our hoop skills, the more we realize that there are things in our lives like overthinking or lack of self-confidence that we end up dealing with.  The hoop may not be the only tool for us to learn how to face these issues but inside the hoop we could find release and even healing.  I would really like to think that even for some of the most technically oriented people (like me), I could share something to the world, as we are a diverse set of people with varied learning styles. I do believe that hoopdance is one of the best examples for me in terms of learning how to express myself and that even the most clumsy and awkward people like me can embrace that and let it flow.

Vision as a hoop love coach

Hooping is always surprising me with new things I learn about object manipulation, as well as my own skills and how I dance. In some ways, hooping is giving me some kind of confidence and this is one of the things I wish to impart to others as well: who they are today could be much better tomorrow as they find their joy in the hoop. It's probably not as obvious because I really focus on a lot of technical details such as breaking down moves and teaching it in that manner.  There are also spiritual things that I learn from the hoop -- spiritual in the sense that it has something to do with a person's sense of being. I do want to share it as well and I'll find my voice not just in writing but when I interact with people face to face.

I do want to get myself trained so I could become a more effective guide to other people on their hoop journey. I do think that everyone can learn how to hoop and let go and let it flow. And it takes a balance of technical skills as well as a whole lot love and encouragement to others.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Jamming, spinning together and playing capoeira

It might seem weird for me to write something about flow arts and capoeira in one post but I've done that before anyway so nothing new. Maybe now my focus is the interaction between people.

In capoeira, we have a thing called the roda or the wheel. It's basically everyone gathered in a circle. At the center of which are the players of the game. I've always been nervous when it's time to gather for the roda. I've been behind many lessons in class so it was hard for me to feel confident about playing. Everyone is soooo good and I actually still feel bad that I seem to be behind.

And then there's jamming while playing with your favorite props. In the usual spin jams I've been too, people would play with their props of choice at the same time. Sometimes we follow our own feelings and find individual flow. Sometimes there's a collective vibe and just feel the flow as a group. My unforgettable experience at Brasilipinas was with Ehrlich and Athena while we were in the middle of a circle of people. I don't know what really made it different but I just know that there was a collective and infectious energy that night and though I wasn't able to do a lot of fancy tricks it was one of the best moments I had while hooping.

After that I just know that we shared the same space and the same mood. This made me think that I really like playing or spinning with other people too. And it's like capoeira. You share the same space and the same music. You might move differently from each other but you both have to interact with each other's movements and mood. 

Lately I've been getting more comfortable with my capoeira friends even outside our training setting. I guess it makes it easier for me to trust them when we play together. That they will respond to my movements without being show offs or even when they do, they will also guide me and give me that opportunity to learn. Some people just have that effect? But eventually I guess I'll find it easier over time :).  For some reason I actually find myself wanting to play more capoeira and I don't know if it's me starting to find some kind of flow as I keep on trying and just not stopping despite a lot of moments where I'm almost hit because I was approaching a kick instead of escaping it. 

It's really a matter of time for me to get used to this kind of interaction. But I suppose that me wanting to learn would eventually triumph over the fear of getting hit or hitting someone whether with my limbs or a prop. And I guess it's time to just have more fun.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Reflections and affirmations

There are times when you watch a movie and you hear those lines that are just so trite or so cliche. But really it sometimes makes perfect sense.

Last weekend, one of my friends and I had a talk and she just told me to never give up because she is sure that things will come around. It's one of those things that I know deep in my heart but at the same time it's getting hard to believe each day. There are times when I even want to give up doing the #100hapydays project because I sometimes lose sight of what makes me happy. But the harder it is to feel instantly happy, the more I need to reflect on my life and remember that it's not all bad and that I still have enough strength to move and do good things in life - not just for myself but other people too.

It's hard to get up when there's just too many things weighing you down. You fight the urge to shout at the world. You keep some things inside and it's not nice. But more often than not I'm reminded that I'm not the only one fighting battles left and right. Other people do too. Some can talk about those battles more freely. And I could only do so in such a vague manner because there are things that I would still prefer to keep to myself and just share with few trusted people.

Too many things to deal with. 

And I can't run away from them. And I shouldn't add to them. And I must realign myself to my personal values and not lose sight of them while I look for the solutions. 

I've been collecting images from Facebook that give me the timely reminders. Some of them might sound like the advice that you are always given and it might be really like that. But I do need these reminders and affirmations now more than ever. The battle is in the mind and busy-ness will just be some kind of escape, not the answer.

The body will just get tired after all that busy-ness. But the mind won't stop hammering you with all the thoughts and worries you might have. So instead of filling your head with all that negativity you need to fill it with positivity and some affirmations that would heal. It won't be quick but it will be part of the process. And hopefully you won't ever give up and instead find it easier to breathe and just deal.

At the moment these are what I have to remind me to keep moving.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Come learn hoopdance with me at the Philippine Flow Festival 2014

Hi everyone! I have the opportunity to teach some basic hoopdance techniques this March at the Philippine Flow Festival.  There's going to be lots of stuff going on such as performances and workshops for the 3 day event.  There will be our fellow spinners from other parts of the country (like our friends from Cebu!) and also from other parts of the world (Psycusix! Marvin Ong! And more).  The workshops will be held in Arts in the City (Taguig) and these are the schedules of the hoopdance basics that I'll be teaching:

March 27 - Off body basics

Off body hooping is when you hoop with your hands or mostly you holding the hoop somehow. We'll explore the places where you could put the hoop (in front of you, back of you, on top of you, etc. and the concept of planes!). We will also try to touch on various techniques like handspins, tosses, holding the hoop, and (if we have time) an introduction to off body breaks and reversals.  Even if you don't know how to do waist hooping, it's ok. :) It's all focused on how we could also use our hands, elbows to hoop.

March 28 - Basic transitions

The hoop can be a fun prop to use as you move it on your body and off your body. You could step and jump into the hoop. You could also move the hoop on various parts of your body as well as change the orientation of your hoop (horizontal to vertical).

March 29 - Basic breaks and reversals

A break is when you stop the hoop's revolution. When you oppose the hoop's revolution or suddenly stop it, there's still momentum and it moves in the reverse direction.  It is preferred that you could at least do waist hooping and even just basic chest/shoulder hooping for this. If not, let's see how breaks and reversals can actually help you learn those things the way it helped me. If there would be more advanced hoopers who'd sign up for this, let's play with behind the back pinch breaks, knee breaks and maybe ankle/foot breaks!

Look at the images below for the complete details:

Day 1 - March 27

Day 2 - March 28

Day 3 - March 29

Hope to see you there! Let's hoop, spin and just have lots of fun playing with our props. :D

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Circles Everywhere - in Hooping, Capoeira

I started hooping in 2012 as a way to lose weight. The amazing thing about it is that the hoop has made me found a way to connect with my inner self and outer self, which is way beyond the physical benefit of having a regular cardio routine. The plastic circle we call the hoop is probably one of the most meditative tools I've encountered because it lets me lose the worries when I spin in it.  At the same time, the hoop is also the best way for me to see that there is a way for me to connect my movement with my thoughts and feelings.

Last year, I started to learn capoeira hoping that I'd get more familiar with staying near the ground and keeping myself in motion. Blame Brecken Rivara's video "Floored" for this because she was floor hooping like crazy and I want to do that someday too. My friend Rica introduced me to one of her friends who happens to be a capoeirista.  From that point on, I have been attending capoeira classes regularly and each session makes me feel happy that I am a capoeirista.

Last Thursday, we had a music class and we studied several songs including "Roda Maravilhosa." It means "Marvelous Wheel." The roda is the circle we form and we play capoeira together. Like the hoop, there is a circle involved in capoeira and every capoeirista takes part in this roda by singing songs, clapping and playing the game. We are taught that when we make the roda, we should keep close to each other as we stand to create a perfect circle, one that doesn't have big gaps between people, one that isn't a squarish shape. We are also taught that in the roda, we have a shared energy as we sing, clap and play.  And the lyrics of the song "Roda Maravilhosa" is a perfect reminder for me the other night.

With hooping, my relationship with the hoop has been on an individual to individual level in the sense that I take the hoop as one entity to interact with. I move within it, or with it. It's mostly my energy interacting with the hoop. When I say energy, I mean the literal physical energy as well as the creative energy of my soul. Sometimes I might say that the hoop is leading my motion, and that's because there's a path that the hoop creates when it spins around, as well as when I break it and it naturally reverses its direction. Usually the interaction I have with the hoop would have music, to set the mood and the pace. Sometimes, I just practice with it even without music so it's just my will to move and the hoop's path that create new patterns.  The physical object and the spinner interact directly in hooping.

In capoeira, the circle is not a physical object to have interaction with. Instead, the circle is composed of people. The interaction is not between a circular object and an individual. Parts of that circle interact with each other. Two people from the roda play a game while the rest cheer on by singing, clapping or playing instruments.  Everyone in the roda gives something into the circle and it's reflected in the pace of the song, the movements of the players, and everything in the roda. It's not exactly the same play with the hoop that you could see the circle in a tangible manner.  In capoeira, the circle is everyone, not a thing that is outside of you.

What I like in hooping and capoeira are the following things:
  • There is a concept of flow or one's movements just being naturally stitched together, expressing one's self.  It took me a long time to find flow in hooping and it seems like I am experiencing the same thing in capoeira. But I do think it will come sooner or later, I just have to keep practicing!
  • Music.  Music is an important aspect in both hooping and capoeira.  Even though I do hoop without music, I have to admit that it has helped me learn new moves and combinations.  The pace of the songs I've heard has inspired me in one way or another. In capoeira, music is important too.  It sets the mood.
  • Interaction.  In hooping there's the interaction with the hoop.  And there's also interaction with fellow hoopers.  It's not like an interaction that is always face to face but that's ok.

So far I am discovering things where both have similarities. Here's hoping to find more as I go deeper in my practice.