by Jonah Holland, PR & Marketing Coordinator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
Earlier this week I saw a glimpse into the future. I saw nearly 20 hoop dancers with LED-lit hula hoops practicing for their routine for big day: The GardenFest Illumination at Lewis Ginter — on Friday, November 27th, the day after Thanksgiving. One of the privileges of working at the Garden is I get to see some behind-the-scenes action. I got to meet RVA Hoop Lovers Stacey “Firefly” Guard and Laura “Flutterby” Napky plus the rest of the RVA Hoop Lovers. These ladies are passionate! And although it is clear that hoop dancing is something that individuals do, it is clear these ladies are a team. It was amazing to see nearly 20 LED hula hoops all lit up at the same time.
Napky even gave my 8-year-old daughter an impromptu hooping lesson with a lighted hoop! Needless to say that was the highlight of her day. I examined the homemade LED hoops up close looking to see how each one has a power button and a rechargeable battery. And Stacey Guard told me about the super-cool costumes her “Hoopers” are making — butterfly costumes with feathers! I’m betting that when the hoopers switch to fire hoops for the encore performance after the countdown to the illumination, even Santa and the Butterfly Fairy will be in awe!
Not only that, but they’ve got some rockin’ holiday music to dance to. Think Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, loud and on steroids.
One of the first things I had to asked Guard was how do they do it? Looking at the photos of her dancing with fire hoops it looks like she’s practically consumed in fire. I was happy to hear that the fire hoops actually have spokes that come out from the hoop and it only looks like the fire is actually on the ring touching her. She tells me that the fire stays about 6 inches away from her all the time and that she’s never been burned by a fire hoop in her many years of using them. So what’s the effect? It just looks totally cool!
I’m thinking after next Friday, there are going to be quite a few kids in Richmond asking Santa for hula-hoops under their Christmas tree, and maybe a few moms too!
Oh, and one more thing. I caught this video of Napky and I thought you might enjoy a glimpse of what to expect. Here ya’ go: