Kim Lewis - Flowpunzel
Kim is a Seattle-based flow artist who loves learning new tech and playing with both fire and LED props. Kim’s first prop was a hoop, but now she also enjoys exploring flow with spin flags, fans, contact staff, pixie dragon, levi wand and fiberflies. She loves flow arts because of the ability to keep challenging yourself and to never stop growing. Outside of flow arts, Kim loves attending festivals and hanging out with her friends and her little corgi, Maxwell!
When did you begin your journey into the flow arts, and how were you inspired to start?
- I began my flow journey with hoops in June 2014. I’d never heard of flow arts or known about hoops beyond waist hooping up until that point. My friends Sarah and Shannon decided to learn, and when I saw them flowing I became very drawn to it. I used to do hip hop and was always very interested in dance, but had fallen out of practice with it. Hoops became really exciting to me because of the combination of learning challenging tricks with the outlet for self expression, which was missing from my life after dance. Seeing my friends enjoying the process and learning challenging moves was inspiring to me, so I bought my first hoop (a 36″ Moodhoops Saffron LED hoop)!
I had no idea at the time just how important hooping and flow arts in general would be in my life, or the newfound confidence and opportunities it would provide. Flow arts have helped me to continue pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. After I began hooping I saw fire performers for the first time and thought it was so amazing, but would be something that I could never do. A year later I decided to just go for it and try fire hooping. My first time flowing with fire I was terrified, but with a lot of practice I now love fire and I’ve learned more fire props like fans, fire eating, and pixie dragon. Fire flow has now become a pretty large part of my life.
I’m very proud to also now be part of the Washington Fire Collective, which is a fire performance group made up of about 30 fire performers with the intention of performing at the inner circle at Burning Man. Our group has spent the last 6 months collaborating to create a fully choreographed fire piece for submission to Burning Man 2016. Two years ago I would have never guessed that would be something I would get to be a part of. I’m so grateful for the ways that flow arts continue to transform my life and challenge me to grow.
Where do you aim to hone your skills in 2017? Have you taken on any new props or specialties recently?
In 2017 I’m planning on focusing on my multi-hoop tech, fans, and starting to learn nunchucks. I’d also love to focus on improving my on-body hooping.
Why do you love performing?
- I love performing because when I’m in front of a crowd I’m not worrying about anything, except for what I’m doing with my prop. Performing feels very freeing and fun for me, and the energy of the audience always makes me excited for the next opportunity to get back on stage. I also love attending festivals, so getting to perform with artists I enjoy is a really exciting experience. For choreographed performances, it gives me an opportunity to share my ideas through a piece I’ve gotten to create and practice over time. Choreography has always been a passion of mine coming from my hip hop experience.
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?
- Some of the nicest, most genuine and interesting people in my life I met through the flow community. They welcomed me, invited me to spin, and now this group of people feels like home. This has made me open up more to others and seek to make more connections with those outside of my immediate friend circle. I feel like I have stronger ties to the community in Seattle as a whole, especially when it comes to events and activities happening in the city. It has also made me more accepting of myself and able to reflect more on my intentions and what I’m looking for. As part of the community, I make an impact by attending those events and inviting others to join as well.
I try to support people looking to begin flow arts by guiding them to tutorials or ways that I’ve learned. I think everyone has a “flow” or something they could offer in this space. Flow is also a great outlet for improving mental health, physical health, and overall happiness, and I think the more people that get introduced to flow the more connected and better they will feel. I like to be a part of it by sharing what I know and making others feel like they could learn it too!
Are you a part of a performance group, flow community, or flow meet-up?
- I’m currently part of both the Emerald City Hoop Troupe and the Washington Fire Collective, as well as an attendee at flow meet ups in the Seattle area. For the Emerald City Hoop Troupe, I do local performances throughout the year. As part of the Washington Fire Collective, I’ve met up with our group 2 times a week for the past 6 months to prepare our piece for Burning Man.
The flow community in Seattle is very strong and has many events. I’m grateful to have many flow related meet ups that I attend like the fire jams which happen every other Wednesday, spin jams on Saturdays, and opportunities to participate in local workshops.
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?
- Seattle has several awesome flow arts meet ups such as Spinurn every other Wednesday and spin jams on Saturdays at Dance Underground or Cal Anderson Park. Most events are posted at Seattle Tech Spinners. I mostly participate through Instagram with the flow community, but I’ve also recently joined several Facebook flow groups such as Flow Art Lounge, Flow Art in Motion, Flow Spinistries and Flow Arts Post.
Is there a flow jam hosted in your city? What’s it’s name and where is the venue?
- Every other Wednesday there is a fire jam called Spinurn at Gasworks Park, or an indoor spin session at Om Culture every Wednesday. Every Saturday there is a community spin jam as well for regular props. Seattle has a really vibrant flow community with casual meet-ups happening throughout the week as well.
What are your main props/specialties?
- Hooping (doubles, quads), fire hooping, fans (fire, LED), spin flags, levi wand, pixel whip, contact staff, pixie dragon staff, and fire eating.
Where do you like to practice the most?
- I love practicing at community spin sessions at Dance Underground or OmCulture. By going there I end up learning something from the other artists or being able to teach someone else something they didn’t know yet!
Have you received any honorable mentions or won awards related to your flow or artistry?
- Our hoop troupe – Emerald City Hoop Troupe – was nominated for three Hooping.org Hoopie Awards this year: Performance Group of the Year, Video of the Year and Performance of the Year.
At which festivals/events/retreats can you be found throughout the year?
So far in 2017 I’ll be attending the following festivals and events:
- Bizaar at Q Nightclub – Monthly event throughout 2017 in Seattle, WA (performing)
- Flowshop – January 2017 in Seattle, WA (teaching)
- LoveBurn – February 2017 in Miami, FL (attending)
- Sonic Bloom – June 2017 in Colorado (tentatively attending)
- Critical NW – July 2017 in Granite Falls, WA (tentatively performing)
- Shambhala – August 2017 in Salmo River Ranch BC, Canada (attending)
- Oregon Eclipse – August 2017 in Oregon (tentatively attending)
- Burning Man – August 2017 in Black Rock City, Nevada (tentatively performing)
- Pacific Fire Gathering – September 2017 in Cloverdale, OR (tentatively attending)
Flowpunzel: Floss and TroyBoi Freestyle
Emerald City Hoop Troupe - Psycho
Revolving Door Tutorial
Hug Weave/Crossers Tutorial
✨ Hug weave/crossers tutorial✨ I struggled learning this move sooo badly with my hoops and learning it with my flags is actually what made me finally get it with hoops! I hope this tutorial helps whether you're learning spin flags of hoops! 💕 ⭐️ Right arm on bottom, left arm on top, "hugging" across your body. ⭐️ Forwards weave with your right arm, reverse weave with your left arm. (Learning both of these independently first is key). ⭐️ Use a rocking motion while doing these weaves. I start rocking with my left hand toward the right, leading with my pinky and left palm facing out! ⭐️ Try it without props first if you're struggling and see if you can feel the rhythm of this move!
Wedgie Kick Up Hoop Tutorial
Wedgie kick up #hooptutorial! TIPS 1. A prerequisite is learning wedgies, which is not covered here but the first step is to start with wedgies. 2. Go to kick like a normal wedgie but instead lift your right leg up. Once it's lifted directly up shift your leg to the right so it doesn't get in the way of the hoop. 3. Use your right hand to grab the hoop as it flies up. Depending on your hoop size, height, force etc. where you grab the hoop may change. Just continue practicing this motion till you can grab the hoop!
#slomo Hoop Tutorial on a Normal Escalator & Reverse
Here is a #slomo #hooptutorial on a normal escalator and reverse for @melinamolinar and @annikasage 💖 TIPS 1. Start holding the hoop with your right hand aligned with your body and with the bottom of the hoop aligning to the back of your neck. 2. Hinge the hoop toward you and release once it hits your neck. 3. The hoop will fall naturally down your body. Getting the right height to get it to fall perfectly will take a lot of practice! Don't give up!! 4. After you left go move your right hand to the bottom to catch the hoop as it falls down. Your palm is facing away from you. 5. To do the reverse, throw the hoop upward toward your body. This will also take some practice to get the timing and alignment right! After throwing it move your right hand up top to grab the hoop! Happy hooping!! 😄💖