with Danielle De La Wonk


(featured image: Ivan Felipe Campos Fuentes)

This is an add on from the previews post Birth Of The Hummingbird, I wanted to write a bit more about my impromptu teaching experience:

On the Friday, the people started to trickle in to the grounds and tents began to pop up. I grabbed a bunch of hoops and let the team know I was going to have a play if anyone wanted to join me, no-one was quite keen yet so headed out, secretly pleased with the view all to myself. It never lasts long, training in public with hula hoops, curiosity always gets the better of someone. Before I knew it, I had a small group of motivated students and gave an impromptu hoop class. I’ve always been more into performing rather than teaching, privately finding it quite stressful as I panic about my ability to teach and tearing myself apart with fear that the students are bored or not enjoying my class. My students, a mix of both male and female, took to the class with gusto as I experimented with them things I had only really explored alone or by chance with the company of others. I taught them some of my favourite tricks and then we made it up into a routine which they then performed for me. Once at Manchester Hoop Congress I got taught by a hoop teacher from Bristol called Cat Hoops, she had us doing very silly and very fun waves with the hoops at the end of her class, as she watched us all she became overwhelmed by the beauty of it and cried. As I watched my students performing my favourite tricks, each in their own style and grace I felt a deep connection to that teacher and to that moment. I told the story to my class as they finished as I was on the verge of tears myself, they all came running over to give me a big group hug with all their hoops and it was deeply nourishing inside that little bubble that we shared.

Photo: Ivan Felipe Campos Fuentes

The more I do teach, be it responding to questions or the desire to trick share that often leads into questions about other things, my style of hooping, my journey of how I got here, I surprise myself sometimes with the responses I give, as information comes pouring out of me from a place that I guess is usually stopped up with a big cork with ‘not good enough’ stamped across it. I’ve held back from teaching over the years which has allowed me to gather a wrath of information I am finally feeling confidant enough to pass on. With this new found confidence to teach, I’m starting to get myself out there with an intensive of Circus Theatre. As I plan and prepare the sections of the class, I find myself getting excited. Maybe that is because before I was always teaching other peoples stuff, just as they had taught it to me, and that is where the lacking comes in. Like repeating an interesting headline, sounding interesting but not really feeling interesting. However this time, the exercises are ones that I have been taught, put into practice, used and bruised and changed so it is knowledge I can really feel as I’m passing it on.

Little extra fact for those of you that read down this far… in the Welsh language they use the same word ‘dysgu’ for both teach and learn.

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  1. Gregory C Marsh

    the picture with the stream in the middle of the hoop was superb. dysguando maybe a spanelshism, is a nice thought for what you did and what we can learn from that. One of your most reflective blogs. You are tremendously appreciated.

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