Melissa Stockwell - Falconer, NY
q & a
Hoops, silk fans, and general dancing. Decent at juggling balls, spinning poi, devil sticks, flow/levi wand, and contact staff.
Making friends, making deep connections, self expression, sharing passions, and feeling like a family. I like to think I help the community grow and expand to groups of people that might not necessarily be likely to begin the flow arts and are glad they did. I used to live in an area in PA that is not really interested in hooping, flow arts or physical activity. I didn’t find the community I sought until I moved to New York. I was able to influence my hometown area quite a bit though.
In my new living area, I envision big things for my influence. I want this area to take hoop dance and flow arts to a level it has never seen before. I want to create more events, workshops, classes, and more. I want to get involved in existing programs and festivals and include flow arts and hoop dance anywhere I can.
I like to think I am a perfect mix of tricks, flow, and dancing. I like to balance tricks with dance as much as possible. I like to keep my speed slow to medium. I rarely hoop fast and prefer to have a fluid, clean line set of techniques. I highly respect fast hoopers because of the energy and focus it takes, but it isn’t my style. I emphasize clean transitions as well. I am especially inspired by Morgan Jenkins, Taylor Duffrin, Marika Cockney, and Amanda Lee.
I like practicing at home if I can find the space because I have everything I need at home. I very much enjoy my new space at the YMCA where I teach hoop dance classes in Jamestown NY. I also love going anywhere warm with high ceilings and lots of space. I also enjoy hoop dancing outside on a beautiful day with soft and even grass or on even concrete.
I began hooping in April of 2012 at age 25. I was inspired by a good friend carrying around a kid’s hula hoop and being unsure why. One of her friends was a hoop dancer and she introduced me. I was immediately interested in hula hooping with her, but never knew how to. So after many failed attempts, I googled how to hula hoop and I was presented with a large list of videos showing hooping, tricks, and hoop dancing. It was love at first sight! I decided I was going to do it! The first video of hoop dance I ever saw was Shakti Sunfire’s Boulder Dance Video
Without the flow arts community, I do not feel like I would have very many friends and I don’t think I would be very good at making friends. The flow community made me feel like I finally have somewhere I belong and fit in. I feel the community can have a positive impact on the world by encouraging as many people as possible to participate in the flow arts. To feel included is extremely valuable in today’s world, and the flow arts are very inclusive. I would love to use my masters’ degree in nonprofit management one day to start or join a nonprofit in the flow arts. I have written many papers on hoop dance and flow arts as a basis for building a nonprofit organization. I feel that the arts in general are important for pursuing social justice.