Katie Rose | Flowbot
Katie was first mesmerized by hoop performers at Summercamp Music Festival 2014. She purchased her own shortly after, and quickly became consumed by the hobby. She realized after some time, though, that hooping could shape her life. That it could be more than a hobby, and more than a career, but something that leads her to a positive connection to life. As her hoop journey continues, she hopes to share this passion for movement and creativity with others as an opportunity for healthy living and positive change!
When did you begin your journey into the flow arts, and how were you inspired to start?
My flow arts journey started at Summercamp Music Festival, 2014. I lost complete interest in the music and was fully entranced by the talent of a girl performing on stage in complete bliss. My brother was with me and encouraged me try hooping out, as he knew how fascinated I was by her. So I immediately began watching tutorials and playing all day long in my yard when my hoop arrived, two weeks later. Shortly after, I left for a six month adventure down to Central America and connected with flow artists and danced in drum circles for the first time. I began to form confidence moving around in front of other people and took every moment that I wasn’t working or trekking to practice dancing with hoops. That trip led me to Honduras, and a few months later, my first festival gig: Wild Woods Music Festival. Before this gig, I miraculously found the same girl who inspired me so strongly again at Scamp 2015. She was persistent about the fact that I could do what she does– that I could be a performer if I that’s what I really wanted. She told me to not give up and to trust what felt right for me. Once again, she fed me the inspiration I needed. From that moment forward, hooping became my life. I never thought this circle could lead me on a path that was destined for happiness, but here I am yet another year later, and it seems to be that these hoops have helped me manifest every dream I’ve had, and keep pursuing more.
Why do you love the experience of performing?
I’ve never loved or been devoted to anything as much as I am with flow arts, and having the opportunity to share that passion with others energizes me. The varying types of performances and each gig being an entirely new experience is thrilling. Costumes, music, and audience members are always changing. More intimate settings offer an opportunity to interact directly with audience members, whereas large shows offer a more ambient opportunity to add to the overall experience of an event. But the audience is really what I love about performing. It’s such a bright feeling being able to see so many smiles and wide eyes in the crowd. I have to thank music, though. Without music, I would have never found flow arts. It’s a really exciting and warming feeling to be on stage with my favorite artists and sharing my favorite art with like minded people.
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?
The flow community is so accepting and encouraging. I have never met someone within it who has told me that I’m on the wrong path or direction. I’ve met most of my largest inspirations working at festivals and events, and even they are so loving and encouraging. It’s amazing to see that even when one is a “celebrity” in this community, they are still hyper aware and caring for others. On top of that, it is very relieving to know that no matter where flow arts brings an individual, that individual is doing something healthy and productive for their life and well-being. Flow art is a lifestyle. It gets myself and others moving away from the chaos that life can bring. It also offers time to meditate and focus on something that is beneficial and productive.
In a nutshell, how would you describe your unique style of flow? Are there artists or dance styles that you take inspiration from?
I am extremely inspired by dancers who put all their energy into moving their body, and I like to attach that kind of expression to how I move with my hoop. I’ve always been mesmerized by ballet dancers, aerialists, belly dancers, GoGo dancers, and theater. I strive for more tech because I find it visually pleasing, but hooping is an extension which makes me move my body in ways that help me feel like a dancer. I love to incorporate my background in theater to enhance a performance and make things quirky and unique to myself. My current daily inspirations tend to be Leena Park, Dizzy Dynamic, Taylor Flows, Zachary Lambert, Jake Hasluck, Ollywollydoodle, and Jacob Shaktman. These are just a few to name. They, along with many others, inspire me to think about how I can manipulate my hoop and other props.
What are your main props/specialties?
My main prop is my hoop, which I have been working on for two years. I am also a fire performer and perform with single and double fire hoops, double staves, palm torches, eating torches, fans, and poi. I am working towards stronger performance with dragon staff and devil sticks as well.
I am also a stilt walker, training juggler, and training trapeze/lyra artist.
Is there a particular aspect about the hooping or flow community that you’re passionate about? How do you envision your influence?
I am particularly passionate about performing because it can have such a positive influence on someone who’s watching. It was watching someone perform that changed my life so drastically. If I could offer that same feeling and inspiration for someone else, my mission in this journey would feel almost complete. Dreams are achievable! However, that full completion will come when I successfully portray the benefits on health that flow arts can have, both physically and mentally. I believe that flow arts are a combination of meditation, dance, and visual arts, which can thrive off of the presence of music. This is such a massive amount of creativity much like any art, and I believe many people can benefit from it.
Where do you like to practice the most?
Since the beginning, I have always been the most creative and constructive while practicing in my yard. However, as my journey proceeds, inspiration has been essential to keep growing and feeding my creativity. I love to train at my local circus school with other students and circus artist to receive constructive criticism and new ideas. They provide an amazing space to continue training while the harsh winters in Maine restrain me from my yard. I also enjoy training at my local YMCA for a chance to work with mirrors and clean up certain tricks and isolations during the winter. In warmer months, I like to find nice shady spots along trails, near the ocean, or lakeside in Maine. Without a doubt, I always enjoy learning at festivals and workshops.
Do you have any flow related personal successes that you’d like to share?
My largest personal successes have happened because of hula hoops, and after I started hula hooping. Having the opportunity to perform at Summercamp Music Festival, an event that shapes me as a person, really completed a transformational time in my life. This was a huge dream of mine and riding its completion was an epic wave. On top of that, Moodhoops has had a profound influence on my performance career. My Moodhoop was the first LED I used to perform, and every chance I’ve had to perform since, they’ve been by my side without knowing it! This sponsorship is a huge success in my flow journey. The success definitely comes from seeing and feeling big dreams unfold, like how this lifestyle has made me overall happier and healthier.
Are you a part of a flow community or flow meet-up? Are there any local flow gatherings near you?
The first Friday of each month in Portland, ME, there is a lovely art walk around the city. The Maine Fire Dancing Collective comes together to perform in different parks around the city to add to the event. We welcome anyone to come test the waters (the flames, rather) – this was actually how I started fire performing!
Every Sunday at Circus Maine from 2-6pm is a low cost open gym and juggle jam. During the juggle jam is a great opportunity to try new props or break out your own flow toys. You can find me here!
Keeping updated in local flow groups like The Maine Fire Dancing Collective on Facebook is one of the best things. People will often create online invitations for flow artists to come use a space and jam together – anyone can join this group to stay in the loop.
I have had the opportunity to help organize meet-ups with community members of The Maine Fire Dancing collective. This has simply been deciding on a location to spin, assuring that city rules are followed, and that safety procedures are practiced. Fuel is always necessary, and the collective does a great job at dividing the costs and who brings it – we always make sure multiple people are bringing fuel or pitching in to share the cost.
Do you teach, mentor or create tutorials?
This is the next step of my journey! I am trying to put this in action as soon as possible along side my education and work-life. I have experience teaching flow workshops for beginner poi and double hoops at Wild Woods Music Festival two years in a row. I also have experience teaching children in workshops at Summercamp Music Festival with juggling and at Circus Maine with hoop skills.
Are you in a troupe or performance group?
Luminous Fire and Flow, The What Collective, Hoopernova, and Disc Jam Flow Tribe.
At which festivals/events/retreats can you be found in 2017?
I’ll be living in Portland, Maine, working on my degree at school. I am piecing together a troupe (with another sponsored Moodhoop-er and other flow artists) we have high hopes for some really amazing performance opportunities this summer. So far I only have one confirmed festival, Wild Woods Music Festival, as an individual performer, but I am hoping to perform again at Summercamp Music Festival and Imagine Festival. I will continue to perform locally throughout the winter and spring with The What Collective and Luminous Fire and Flow, and am hoping to introduce some health-focused hoop workshops locally as well. I would have loved to attend the hoop dream retreat, but I will be working to attend Kinetic Fire and New England Flow Fest. It would be a great opportunity to perform or teach at NEFF!
Are you an active performer?
Since January 2016 I have performed on stage with Stratosphere Allstars ft.Big Gigantic, Gramatik, Shiba San, OTT (three times), Turkuaz, Dopapod, Electron, Kung Fu, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Particle, Ed Mann, Thriftworks, and more! Large events include Fractal Beach Music Festival, New England Cannabis Convention, Summercamp Music Festival, Disc Jam Music Festival, Jerry Jam Music Festival, Wild Woods Music Festival, Imagine Music Festival, Great North Music Festival, and Suwannee Hulaween. I performed on the Nova Cruise Lines (between Portland, ME and Nova Scotia, Canada) as well as many events held by The What Collective in Worcester at high end restaurants and bars. I have experience busking in London and Amsterdam, and currently locally and independently.
Where do you aim to hone your skills in 2017? Have you taken on any new props or specialties recently?
I aim to become more physically flexible in 2017 to open up more movement. On top of this, I want to focus on multi hoops and the props I don’t often use, such as fans and double staves. It would be the cherry on top to begin performing on stilts at events and small gigs on trapeze!
Wildwoods Music and Arts Festival
Cosmic + Ali Laz
Alien moon goddess performance. Video by Kyle Rober