Sent to planet Earth to radiate her healing frequencies, Sophie Shapeless has been roaming the galaxy far and wide to spread love and beauty through her art. She has dedicated a majority of her energy into mastering the art of hula hooping. Not your one trick pony, Sophie offers a vast variety of hoop styles that pay tribute to the past and future of hula hooping. Native American Hoop Dance, Flow Arts, and Circus styles being her main inspirations.
When did you begin your journey into the flow arts, and how were you inspired to start?
- I have been hooping for almost 8 years now! The first time I went to a Phish concert I saw a women with a beautiful flow and rainbow LED hoop (from Moodhoops!!!) and was so entertained! I observed how she radiated beauty through her dance and made people happy, including myself. When I went back home I never looked at a hula hoop the same way again. Luckily there was already an established hooping community right here in Madison, Wisconsin that my friend Danielle Lee organized. I started going to hoop jams and became obsessed. Now I have a passion that will stay with me the rest of my life and am forever grateful.
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?
- I was always the black sheep and didn’t have a community I was a part of growing up. Now I literally have a club that’s non-exclusive that I adore ! I finally have a supportive group of people to work with, play with, and learn and grow with! Have met so many friends and had amazing experiences already because of the community. Hooping changed my life for the best and that’s why now I get anyone and everyone on board I can! That’s why I am organizing jams and going to others, community makes the world a better place.
Where do you aim to hone your skills in 2017? Have you taken on any new props or specialties recently?
- I am working on creating more stage acts that tell stories and move the soul.
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 incorporating more juggling and contemporary circus styles into my hooping, as well as hip-hop style footwork. Tiana Zoumer is the archetype of hooping autonomy for me , so I aspire to walk in her footsteps with trying to do my own thing.
Why do you love performing?
- I love entertaining people! Making them feel something, or bringing a little happiness to their life, even for just that very moment. I have fun showing off what I put so much time into as well 🙂
Performing also gives me the opportunity to show off my other skills such as costuming, makeup, set design, and lighting. And I have story’s to tell, and love doing that through dance!
What are your main props/specialties?
- My main props are dance hoops and mini hoops. I began my practice focused on single on-body hoop DANCE but then after 2 years got hooked on double hoop tech. Big hoops and minis. Steve Bags being my biggest inspiration, also lucky to learn from his open source information he provides on Youtube. The past 2 years I have worked on 3 hoop manipulations and juggling, also 4 and 5 hoop circus style hooping.
I spin a magnitude of other props including poi, S-staffs, contact staff and I also juggle clubs. I like how the hoop translates to and from other props, yet hoops still feel to me to be the most versatile.
Hooping in my strongest skill. I have dedicated so much time to practice that it’s impossible for it not to show in my art. I would like to think my creativity and burning passion also play a roll as well… I plan on being a master of my craft, which is 10,000 hours dedicated to it. I would like to say at this point and time I am half way there. If I am at a show or festival it is almost a given that I am hooping. I practice on my own a majority of the time at Madison Circus Space.
Have you received any honorable mentions or won awards related to your flow or artistry?
- 2016 Electric Forest Hoop Troupe
Is there a particular aspect about the hooping or flow community that you’re passionate about? How do you envision your influence?
- We are adults that play! So much fun and love, it is what you make out if it. I’ve met so many amazing and inspiring people because of flow arts.
Are you a part of a performance group, flow community, or flow meet-up?
- I am a part of The Madison Circus Space which hosts weekly hoop jams hosted by Danielle Lee. I make it a point to go anytime I can. I have volunteered to perform for World Hoop day events that raise money for free hoop jams as well.
Outside of hoop jams at the circus space I organize free meet ups at local parks. All props welcome, but it is hoop dominant. We have a lot of fun playing around on the lakefront together and watching sunsets 🙂 Spinsconsin is a statewide flow group I am active in as well! It’s a pretty cool concept of connecting flow artists in rural locations that don’t get the chance to flow with other people usually. We continually change the city for the flow jam and the turn outs have been great so far! We are planning a few showcases later on to raise money to make this events even better!
Is there a flow jam hosted in your city? What’s it’s name and where is the venue?
- Flow jams at the Madison Circus Space
- Juggle meet ups by Madison Juggling Club, one at Madison Circus Space and the other at First Congregational Church
- Spinsconsin gatherings , which change location every month, but all held in Wisconsin
- Madison Flow Club @ UW Madison University
- Spontaneous sunset hoop jams @ James Madison Park
Where will you be in 2017? Which festivals/performance events/flow retreats are you planning to attend this coming year? Will you be attending as a performer?
- Kinetic – I am debuting my recycled hoop mandalas as an art installation there
Arise- teaching and performing
Hopefully Electric Forest, Sonic Bloom, and Eclipse, and Theatre Bizarre to name a few.