Wisconsin. This picture is from a trip to see my family in 2010. I had been hooping for less than a year and of course, had brought a travel hoop along. This is me, dancing in the church yard next to the cemetery where my dad and so many of his people are buried. My grandparents had attended this church their entire marriage and my dad and his siblings were baptized there. Dad’s funeral was there when he passed in 1999.
I had gone by myself, that morning, so I could spend as much time as I wanted, walking around, visiting their graves. Before long, I was feeling deeply connected to my people and the land. I danced with the spirits of those who came before me. People I have known and loved all my life. People who passed their good genes, love of music and Scandinavian stubbornness on to me, my brothers, my nephew and countless cousins.
Without the hoop that would never have happened. It would have been a good day but it wouldn’t have been the sweet celebration it was because, without the hoop, I would never have danced. Without the hoop, I would not have been able to embody and express the joy and exuberance I felt. Without the hoop, I would have forgotten all about it.
Instead, I turned on my music and my camera, grabbed my hoop and captured this. I hadn’t planned to hoop there. My plan had been to go to a park and do a little video of myself hooping there. I wasn’t sure it was even cool to hoop dance in a church yard. I had the place to myself, though, and was emboldened by the spirits around me. Can you feel them dancing with me?