CallMeKeeks - Kaneesha Ross-Baird
Edmonton, AB Canada
Are you a part of a performance group, flow community, or flow meet-up?
In Edmonton my main performance partner is Kassandra. We formed SaltnPeppa around 4 years ago. We gogo dance and perform at different venues around the city. This is also our 2nd year dancing at Shambhala Music Festival. We do a ton of solo performances as well. When it comes to different flow communities I know a ton of hoopers in my local city. I’m also part of multiple communities and flow groups on Facebook. There’s tons of different meet ups and workshops in Edmonton that I try and make my way to when i’m not working.
Are there any Facebook groups, clubs or local meet-ups that already exist in your local area? Are there online hooping/spinning/flow communities or forums that you’re on and/or participate in?
- Every Sunday in the summer a group of flow artists meet up downtown and just flow for the day. It’s been pretty rainy here the past few weeks so I haven’t gotten a chance to get to one yet. There is a hula hoop company named HoopyHips. They are locally based and have hoop classes every Sunday.
When did you begin your journey into the flow arts, and how were you inspired to start?
I’ve been dancing and performing since I was 9 years old. I took a pretty big break from performing when I turned 12. Now of course I had played with hula hoops before but it was the summer of 2013 when I really found a passion for it. I was at a music festival called Boonstock. One of my friends who was camping with me bought a few plastic hula hoops from the dollar store. After multiple attempts I managed to keep it up on my hips. Me and my friends we’re just wandering around when I saw a girl with an LED hoop. She let me try it which was amazing of her. Then she showed me a bunch of cool moves. I’ll never forget that moment. I literally told myself “give me 12 months and I’ll figure out how to do that” I never got her name and I regret that because she will never know how greatly she impacted my life and changed it for the better.
Why do you love performing?
There’s so many answers to this question. I love the feeling, right before you get up on stage and you heart it beating fast. Your nervous but it’s the good kind of nervous. When you’ve spent weeks/months/years preparing for 1 special gig and then the day finally comes and your stomach is in knots. Knowing that people have personally messaged me telling me i’m the reason they started hula hooping or bought their 1st hoop. The look on my moms face when I show her my most recent video, I actually signed into my Instagram on her phone so she can keep up with my videos since she doesn’t have Facebook. Mostly because I was incredibly self conscious growing up. There’s this stigma with people who are skinnier. That we should be happy with ourselves no matter what because we are “lucky”. I went to great lengths to put on weight or make myself look bigger. Before I go up on stage I always wonder what I would tell past Kaneesha. The one who took such a long break from dancing and being happy because of her body insecurities. I’m comfortable with myself now. I can thank my hula hoops and the amazing crowds I’ve performed in front of for that.
How has being a part of the flow community touched your life? How can the flow community make an impact and how do you see yourself being a part of it?
Being part of the flow community has changed my life in so many different ways. When I 1st picked up a hoop I would have never imagined my life the way it is now. We can literally change the world. Right now currently I do have something called scoliosis. It is an curvature in my spine that causes an arch in my back. When I was about 13 I was diagnosed. I tried yoga, physiotherapy, working out & nothing worked. Eventually I had to stop doing a ton of my favorite activities because my back just couldn’t take the pressure. Since I picked up my hoop my mobility is 1000 times better. And the main thing is the hoop doesn’t just help with physical ailments. I’ve heard multiple people who tell me their hoops we’re not only a gateway to loosing weight but also helped with their anxiety. Being part of the flow community has really opened my eyes to the fact that I am not alone. There are millions and millions of other people who are facing problems and issues in their lives and our hoops help us get through everything. Hooping and the hoop community has really helped me grasp the fact that anything is possible.
The flow community can literally change the world. We could literally change the world but we need to work together in order to do this. There has been far to many times I’ve come across hula hoopers who don’t have supportive spouses or families. To many hoopers who are in competition with one another. To many hoopers who are afraid of their mistakes. I do my best to uplift everyone I can. I’ve held hula hoop giveaways online. The 1st one was called the “HooperBlooperGiveaway” and all contestants needed to do to enter was to post a video of their mistakes. This was brought to light when I had an influx of people commenting on my posts saying I never make mistakes. Far from the truth, my hoop has caused me more nose bleeds and black eyes then I can count, as long as you pick that hoop back up and keep trying then you can achieve anything. The 2nd one was called the “FlowForYourSelfie” challenge. I just wanted people to pick any picture they felt beautiful in and post it. This was because one of my followers said her boyfriend told her she looked ugly in a picture she had taken with her hoop and that was just the unacceptable. I want to do amazing things for the hoop community.
What are your main props/specialties?
I’m mostly into a solid 29″ 3/4 polypro hoop. I used dollar store hoops for the 1st 9 months of my hoop journey to make sure it’s something I could stick with. Then I dove in and bought my first poly. I can use a variety of sizes. I have some mini’s I’ve just began spinning & I’ve also begun the long journey of multiple hoops. I’ve used doubles for about a year and a half. I’m looking to branch out soon. I’d like to give poi a solid shot!
Where do you like to practice the most?
Currently I practice at my house. Usually on my front yard, this helped me get over the initial fear of hula hooping in front of people. I enjoy hooping and practicing pretty much anywhere outside. I live in Canada so it’s freezing here in the winter time. I’m working towards having an area to practice in for the winter months so that I can keep working on my skills instead of just not hooping for 4-5 months straight. I do my best to hoop in my house but, I don’t own my house and the roof and my T.V have taken a beating from when I 1st started to learn.
Have you received any honorable mentions or won awards related to your flow or artistry?
So currently whenever I get to leave the country for something Hula hoop related I’d consider it a success. Brenmar and Fools Gold actually flew me down to NYC for the hula hoop video with another performer,Marawa, and took care of my expenses which was amazing.
Recently I came back from a hula hoop festival in L.A called Hoopurbia. Marawa actually mentioned my name and the creator Rebecca Halls invited me to be a ambassador for the festival and just help promote it. In return I received a free $300 ticket to the festival.
I’ve danced/hula hooped for some pretty big artists as well which has been amazing. I’ve danced for Timmy Trumpet, Huglife, David Starfire, Ekali, Askillz, KnightRidaz to name a few. Shambhala Music Festival is currently one of the most amazing a biggest music festivals I’ve gotten a chance to perform at. My hula hoop dance partner has been thinking of moving to BC so I’ve kind of struggled with trying to figure out if I want to join a gogo dancer group or just move forward and do the best I can as a solo act. Bass Coast Music Festival & Astral Harvest are on my radar to dance at next year.
Brenmar - Hula Hoop feat. UNiiQU3 (OFFICIAL VIDEO)
Photography by: Derek Repchuk of Repchuk Photographics