Twisted Orbit – Bags & Valentina Orbit – Artist Profile

Twisted Orbit | Bags & Valentina Orbit
San Diego, CA

We are a dynamic fusion of cutting edge circus, dance, physical theatre and comedy. All the toys, all the ways, always!


Valentina: This versatile, vivacious, vaudevillian vixen, Valentina dazzles audiences around the world with her unique vision of circus dance fusion. Sharing her magic in both performance and workshops is her passion and drive. Valentina is a second generation belly dancer who was raised in the Los Angeles underground art scene by her mother, Leela, a successful theatrical belly dance icon. Valentina now blends belly dance with hooping, fire, burlesque and hoop juggling. Her ability to seamlessly combine these art forms gives her a provocative style unlike any other. She is the leader of The Hoop Unit, the Vaudeville Vixens, one half of Twisted Orbit, a hoop fabricator and an event producer.

Bags: Bags is a professional teacher and performer from the UK who has been formally trained at Circomedia – Europe’s leading centre for contemporary circus and physical theatre. He has taught hooping at prominent events all over the UK, Europe and the US as well as being a teacher on Hoop City and Hooping University. He founded the Bristol Hoop Massive and the UK hoop website the Hoop Hub and has won or been nominated for multiple Hoopies and Revolvies (he jointly won the Male Hooper of the Year Hoopie 2013) He is an innovative and multi-disciplined performer who has a strong passion for circus in all it’s forms – but just at the moment you’re unlikely to find him anywhere other than inside a hoop!


O'ed 2 Joy - Twisted Orbit Hooping in Hawaii


Flow Journey

When did you begin your journey into the flow arts, and how were you inspired to start?

    Valentina: I started to belly dance when I was 12, I also started performing while still 12 years old, about 6 months after I started belly dancing. I have been dancing and performing ever since! It all began b/c my mom started taking belly dancing classes and drug me along. About 10 years later I went to Burning Man for the first time and came home vowing to take up fire dancing, vegetarianism and never wear a bra again (lol). I went to the local San Diego Burning Man Decom and met HoopCharmer who was standing on the dance floor with an LED hoop. I asked if I could try it. It took me a couple tries but then I got it. I happened to be camped next to some hoopers at the decom who let me borrow their hoops, I hooped the next day for 8 hours straight. I went home, ordered a hoop from Hoop Girl and literally never put it down once it arrived.

    Bags: I was given juggling balls for Christmas at quite a young age. I started really getting into juggling when I went to university and discovered a circus club frequented by lots of fun jugglers and spinners. After university I wanted to travel so I taught juggling, poi and staff at an American summer camp in Pennsylvania. It was here that I really discovered how much I love teaching children juggling and spinning. I started taking it more seriously as a career and I went to circus school in Bristol called Circomedia ,which was hugely enjoyable. Later, during a circus project in Thailand, I started hooping after being inspired by the wonderful Choi Tse. Hooping has since pretty much taken over my life 🙂

What do you love about the experience of performing?

    Valentina: I love giving a piece of myself to people. I believe it is healing, transformative, inspiring and just plain fun to watch performance. I love being a part of that for people. Baring myself and my soul, my deepest most creative expression.

    Bags: Money’s nice.

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?

    B&V: The flow community has made it possible for us to travel the world! We feel embraced and supported, encouraged and accepted by the hooping and flow arts community in a way that has allowed us to travel the world teaching and performing! We think the more that flow arts spreads, the more people find a hobby that is healthy, collaborative and empowering. The more people engage in these types of activities, the more peaceful and happy the world will be. We are a part of this because we teach and travel teaching / performing, spreading the hoop love!

What advice would you give to someone just starting their flow journey? Which tutorials or guiding principles helped you along the way?

    Try all the things. Find local clubs/meets. Go to juggling/spinning conventions. Play. Explore. Share. Obsess. Do all the things, all the ways. Learn something then teach it to a child. Watch all the videos. Try and think critically about what you like and what you don’t like and develop your own style over time. Practice, practice, practice then practice some more. Try and make it your own then give it to as many people as possible. Have fun. 🙂

Where do you aim to hone your skills in 2017? Have you taken on any new props or specialties recently?

    Valentina: poi, partner poi, more floor work / arm balances in my hooping – splits, bridge, handstand and one handed cartwheels – yippee!
    Bags: I’m working on my double staff and staff juggling, my triple poi and my triple fire hoop.


What are your main props/specialties?

    Valentina: Hoop, hoop juggling, belly dance and burlesque
    Bags: Hoop, juggling and balancing stuff on my face.

Is there a particular aspect about the hooping or flow community that you’re passionate about? How do you envision your influence?

    We particularly enjoy teaching. It constantly challenges us to discover new material and to deepen our understanding of what we already know so we can teach it as concisely and effectively as possible. Sharing is everything and everything should be shared.

In a nutshell, how would you describe your unique style of flow? Are there artists or dance styles that you take inspiration from?

    Bags: I try to embody a style of flow I call “Awkward British Man Trying to Dance with Stuff in His Hands”.
    Bags answering on Valentina’s behalf: I just like jiggling me bits about.

Where do you like to practice the most?

    In our home! We live in a live/work space that is an old church renovated for living in. High ceilings, wood floors and mirrors. Like a dream!

Do you have any flow related personal successes that you’d like to share?

    Bags: One of my strongest memories of a personal success is teaching a child poi over a couple of months where they become fully obsessed by it. Then later getting a letter from their parents about how it had given them both self-confidence/self-worth and an ability to interact with others through teaching and playing with them. This sums up my own personal journey and if I can share that with others then that makes me happy.

Community Involvement

Are you a part of a troupe or performance group?

    We are a duo together, we work with Fern Street Circus here in San Diego, we run The Hoop Unit and The Vaudeville Vixens.

Do you teach, mentor or create tutorials?

    We teach a lot! Most nights of the week we are teaching in our space Flow Fusions. Bags has made lots of tutorials and Valentina mentors her students and troupe members.

Are you a part of a flow community or flow meet-up? Are there any local flow gatherings near you?

    We can often be found at the Sunday Ocean Beach Flow Jam.

Are you one of the community members that helps to organize any of these events? Do you want to share details of how you take a leading or participatory role?

    Mostly we organize shows in the San Diego area such as Burlesque Brunch SD and The Sordid Cirque Soiree.

Find Us

At which festivals/events/retreats can you be found in 2017? What does 2018 have in store for you?

    2017 is almost over as we write this but this year taught and performed at:
    InDepth in Hawaii
    Manipulation in Southern California
    Australian Hoop Convention in Victoria
    Fire Drums in Southern California
    Pacific Fire Gathering in Portland

Are you an active performer?


The DecaFly - 10 Hoop Partner Mandala: FireDrums 2017

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Photo Credits:

Scott Saw of Fuze Photography
Robert Nadel of Robert Stone Nadel Photography