Transformational Hoop Dance


Shannon Marie IS Shapeshifter. And so are YOU!

Why ‘Shapeshifter’?

Apart from the name having the capacity to encompass the myriad of nicknames I’ve had over the years;  I believe we all have the ability to ‘Shapeshift.’ We can change form whether it be physical, ethereal, emotional, or intellectual. We can embrace the reality that the only constant in nature is change and use it to our advantage. We can stop living in fear of change and enjoy the process.

Hoop Dance is both ancient and contemporary. Having roots in Native American culture it was re- introduced to American pop culture in the 1950′s with the ‘hula hoop’ by Wham-O. The hula hoop enjoyed a second more underground revival in the late 1980′s. And I personally rediscovered it in 2008.  Native Americans also believed in the idea of shapeshifting, which generally referred to the ability to change into different animal forms, often taking on another animal’s essence through special ritual dances.

For me hoop dance is a tool that enables us to embrace change. It opens up the door to accessing universal flow. It provides us with a fun yet challenging way to find our individual current in that flow, ancient rhythms of dance and movement that exist in all of us. The hoop helps us to unlock these rhythms and step out of our shells into that stream while providing us with a boundary in the hoop itself, a feeling of safety that we can exist within.

Hoop dance is a way for us to access the inner child and for many to have a much needed ‘second childhood.’ As a child we come into the world full of wonder and very little self consciousness, only wanting to explore and develop. Many of us along the way to adulthood have learned to fear stepping out into the unknown and are unable to allow ourselves moments of awkwardness and the vulnerability that it brings. Every time you wish to learn a new move in hoop dance you must be able to allow this awkwardness, for when you get a move ‘wrong’ in hoop dance the awkwardness level is much higher than in any other form of dance. Hoops fly and hit you in your nose, your ears, your elbow. You trip, you fall, you flail about. It teaches us to relax and laugh at ourselves through the process. It teaches us that there is no true right or wrong but that all forms of expression are valid and useful. We learn to step out into the void and embrace the journey and follow wherever the hoop may lead us.

I was teetering on the edge of hope and despair and the hoop caught me in my jump, both grounding me and allow me to fly free.

This is why I dance with hoops and I hope you will join me in this never ending exhilarating flow.