Hooping is a healthy fun activity for all ages! It is transforming people emotionally and physically. Hoop Dance teacher and performer Melissa Stockwell from PA fought adversity and transcended into a hoop star! Check out Melissa's inspiring story and see how she stood up to adversity and kept following her hoop dreams in an exclusive hooper Q and A.
Name: Melissa Stockwell - hooper name is TranscenDance
Hooping Hometown: Titusville, Pennsylvania
How long have you been hooping? 1 year 7 months
Who introduced you to hooping? My friend Ashley Merritt encouraged me to try hula hooping around my waist. But I didn't see hooping or hoop dance until I found Shakti Sunfire's Boulder Dance Performance video after searching for "how to hula hoop" on YouTube. That is when I knew I wanted to do it.
What was the biggest challenge for you? The biggest challenge for me is my depression, anxiety, and seasonal affective disorder. Due to all of these things, it was a bigger challenge not believing what people said about my hooping and letting it bother me. Some of (but not all of) the first things I was told, I was in my first few months of hooping. It was from some of the first hoopers I met.
They said "You're a phony. You can't even hoop" and "You have no flow".
This was difficult to deal with at the very beginning of my journey.
After I passed my 1 year 5 month mark, I even had one of my best friends (who was also a hooper of 3 years) tell me "you're not qualified for teaching classes or charging for performances" and "you're just an amateur trying to top those who have been in this for years" and "any followers you have are because you asked them to, not because they like what you are doing" and many other discouraging words. It is difficult to be told things like that, especially from those that you expect to be supporting you. However, they never realize just how much their hateful words motivate me to prove them wrong. I am grateful that they gave me that extra push to be where I am today. I never dreamed I would have this much progress so early.
Have you noticed any changes in your physical fitness since you started hooping? I have muscles for the first time. I have physical stamina and can run longer, walk further, and play with my nieces longer. I am lighter on my feet and much more flexible than ever before. I reached my weight loss goal without even trying. I struggled for about 10 years to get back to that weight.
Who is a hooper you admire? Shakti Sunfire
Where is your favorite place to hoop? A small park in my city called Burgess Park. It has a huge field with open skies, nice trees and scenery.
If you could hoop anywhere in the world where would it be? Hawaii
What makes a good hooper? Support for others no matter what they decide to do, perseverance, sharing hooping with others because it is beneficial to everyone, and a great attitude. You can have the most advanced skills and best flow in the world. However, if you aren't kind to others, I don't consider you to be a good hooper.
What has been, in your opinion, your biggest achievement as a hooper? Finding my flow. It is hard to find when you feel you are required to find it as soon as possible to please others. My tip is to allow your flow to find you. Forcing it doesn't produce the best results.
What do you consider to be your signature move? The elbow pass reversal. I do the elbow pass, break with my leg, reverse the direction of the hoop, and do the elbow pass in the other direction. I have a tutorial for it on YouTube.
What is your hooping dream? To make hooping my job. To teach classes on a regular basis and perform often enough to pay bills.
What is your hooping confession? I was not able to hoop around my waist or do anything with a hoop until I was twenty-five years old.
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