Circles of Joy International Hoopdance Awards

May 3, 2015 Caroleeena DancehoopdanceUncategorized

top hat

Celebrating Hoopdancers Telling Stories Through Movement!

I love the Hoopie Awards. Every year I am exposed to new hoopers and hoop videos via’s annual awards: Thank you Philo for making them! I know they are a ton of work.

This past January I was sad to see that there were no full hoopdances in the Hoopie Award Finals. There were a lot of edited together bits of video with a song laid over top and there was one practice video, but there weren’t any true dances in the sense of a dancer who is trying to tell a story through movement. I found myself daydreaming about awards that celebrated true, full hoopdances and after the year’s festivities wrapped up, I asked Philo if he would consider adding some dance-related categories to the Hoopies. He patiently explained that he understood where I was coming from (his first love is hoopdance too) but that “every award comes with a lot more work for a small group of people”, which I know is true. He went on to say that he thinks the tide will turn and dances will return to favor in time. I’m not so sure…or maybe I’m just impatient…but I put the idea on the back burner and went back to spending a lot of time mentoring hoopdancers in the Putting The Dance In Hoopdance Facebook Group:


It feels like a lot of us who are interested in “Dance First, Hoop Second” have found each other there. We study various types of dance and try to integrate them into our hoopdances. We share videos of our efforts and coach each other on technique. We talk about specific aspects of dance and how to create choreography. It’s wonderful! In the last six months, I have seen more hoopdances, real dances, with zero edits, than I have seen in years! Solos, partners groups…! I am starting to recognize individual choreographers and their styles. I am starting to see many kinds of dance fused with hooping. It’s inspiring and heart warming. When I think of where we will be in a decade…!?!   And the more I see, the more I want everyone else to see too! This is what I want to grow. I don’t want to keep waiting and hoping. I am going to use my voice to try to cause a shift and give voice to others who are also into hoopdance.


kitty top hatI have decided to use my Circles Of Joy blog to recognize these dances. I want to give a tip of the hat to outstanding solo, partner, and group hoop numbers, choreographers, service projects, and hoop related art and art films…and for that reason I plan to call the award itself a Top Hat!

I will also present a Top Hat to individual dances that fuse other types of dance with hooping. These could include, but are not limited to, Ballet, Bellydance, Bollywood, Burlesque, B-Boy, Cha Cha, Charleston, Contact Improv, Contemporary, Fire, Flamenco, Hip-Hop, Improv, Jazz, Jive, Lip Sync, Lyrical, Modern, Rumba, Salsa, Samba, Swing, Sufi-inspired Sustained Spinning, Tango, Tap, Vogue and/or Waacking. (These categories will change depending on what is submitted and available each year.)

One day fire dance may merit its own solo, partner, group and choreography awards (I hope so!) but I need to see what’s out there at the end of the year. I hope this will encourage people to make those kind of fire dance videos. If they do, we will start recognizing them as soon as January, 2016.

And here is a super-fun part! Each year, I plan to use Google Hangouts to interview the winners and learn about their process and influences so we can all learn together. Hopefully I can figure out how to record these interviews and upload them to  YouTube.

It is my hope that this will encourage people to make more full hoopdance videos–dances that tell stories through movement, celebrate the singular dance that happens in a moment and is captured on film, that release the need for “perfection” that drives people to edit out what they see as imperfections, to just dance and share that dance. 


In January, I will ask the community to nominate videos, theirs and others, that are outstanding examples of:
– solo hoopdance
– partner hoopdance
– small group hoopdance (four people and under)
– large group hoopdance (five people and over)
– hoopdance choreography and choreographer(s)
– fusion hoopdances
– hoop-related service project
– hoop-related blog
– hoop-related podcast
– hoop-related art  – This could be an art film, or not, but if so, this is the only category that allows editing.
– Caroleeena’s Choice Award – I refuse to limit myself in any way with this one. It will be to recognize something I think is amazing and hoop-related that I want to share with the world.


– Submissions must be from 2015
– No edits or cut aways! (The exception is overlaying a better copy of the song or the hoop-related art film.)
– There will be no gendered categories or age categories

Start making dances to share! Start collecting other people’s dances to submit for consideration in January! If you’re the dancer making a video, I’d love to hear about your process in the video description. I really like hearing why people make the artistic choices they make and I want to encourage people to do that more.

Let’s dance!

top hat tony awards

Dance like no one’s watching.
Dance like everybody is watching!

Circles of Joy Hoopdance AwardHoopdance AwardTop Hat AwardTop Hat Awards

11 Responses to “Circles of Joy International Hoopdance Awards”

  • Sunkist says:

    This sounds fantastic. I have been looking for something like this. I’m not very good at hooping yet, but I’m trying to create some form of a dance with my hoop. It’s very hard, bit in putting in my time. Everyday I practice, even if it is for a few minutes. Will your award have any limits as to how long someone has been hooping.. Even if I don’t enter I want to see these dances. Where can I see hoop dancing.

    • Sunkist says:

      I looked at the face book page bit the link was broken in the face book page. Also why is the group closed. Thank you

      • Caroleeena says:

        If you are on facebook, I host a group there called Putting The Dance In Hoopdance. It is full of hoopdances — some by new hoopers but many by very experienced hoopers too.

      • Caroleeena says:

        The group is closed because spammers come there and try to sell sun glasses and tennis shoes if we leave it open. I pre-screen people to make sure they are real people and not advertising bots.

        • Sunkist says:

          Thank you. I have requested to join putting her hoop in dance group. After you accept me, will i see posts. I’m not that knowledgeable and face book groups. I can’t wait I learn and share.

          • Caroleeena says:

            Yes. You will. I don’t have any requests pending so if you’ve already requested, you should be approved. Let me know if you are not because that means it got lost somehow.

          • Sunkist says:

            Hi Caroleena,

            can you provide me a link to your “putting the dance in hoopdane” facebook group
            I thought I saved the page but I get some sort of error message, also i did not get
            an email saying that I was approved to Join that group.
            I would really like to join in and see and share ideas.
            is there a private way to message you as I do not want
            to clog up you blog with comment about trying to join you hoop dance group
            on facebook

            thank you

          • Caroleeena says:

            Sure Doll! Here is a link (hopefully it will make it a link…you may have to type it in):

            My name is Carolyn Mabry on facebook. They won’t let me list Caroleeena even though that’s how everyone knows me. I also have my person page which is Caroleeena’s Circles Of Joy. Here is a link to that too:

  • Sarah Jordan says:

    What a fantastic idea! I recently created a hoop dance en pointe and a hoop dance art video where I painted with my feet, my body and my hoop. How do I submit to this awesome contest?



  • Shelly McBurnett says:

    This is awesome Carolyn!!! Thank you!!!

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