“I need to do that.” The words burned in Christina Eko’s (stage name) mind when she witnessed fire hula hooping at a Motion Notion festival in 2008.
Eko, who is part Métis, attended powwows as a child. “Something about the circle has always been powerful.”
Growing up, Eko retained her love of music and dancing, yet felt shy. She was not active. Her determination to master hooping spun life in another direction.
“At first, I trained in my basement. I lost weight. I used my body in new ways. It felt right.”
Eko practiced hooping in public and danced with her LED hoops at Winnipeg clubs.
By 2011, she was giving lessons and performing at corporate events, weddings and birthday parties under the Eko Hoops banner with other hoopers.
Eko now offers lessons for $15 per hour outdoors in public or at indoor locations provided by aspiring hoopers. “Pay-what-you-can” pop-up lessons are held spring-fall.
Private shows with fire and LED hooping start at a flat rate of $1,000 and include live drummers. Rates increase based on the number of hoopers.
“For me, hooping is a passionate hobby side job – it doesn’t feel like work.”
Hooping for Health
The hoop represents a physical instrument for expressing Eko’s spiritual self.
“Hooping has been my re-birth. It brings out a part of me I didn’t know I had. It gives me strength to overcome shyness and connect with people.”
Eko credits hooping for her overall health.
“Hooping is my art, I need that outlet. It’s like an anti-depressant. Practicing is meditative. If I’m away from it for too long, I don’t feel well.”
Eko’s newest initiative, After Dark Fire Productions, combines fire hooping and fire dancing artists. Shows to be announced.
On September 12, Eko will perform with Prairie Sol at ManyFest, on Broadway between Kennedy and Edmonton, at 8:30pm. Can’t attend? Watch Eko’s videos and subscribe to her YouTube channel. Connect with Eko on Facebook for lessons and upcoming performances.
All photos courtesy of Flashbound Photography.