Standing out in the middle of an open field, a group of dancers sway rhythmically back and forth to hypnotizing music. It’s hard not to join in. The music seems to overtake them as they leap, twirl and groove with each other and the beat. Men and women of all ages clad in everything from black fishnets to flowy fabrics, meld together as one group. Seemingly unaware of anyone watching this group performs from the soul, and the result is obvious.
The Sacred Spinners of the Mid-Ohio Valley are a newly formed tribe of flow artists. Flow artists include hula hoopers, fire breathers and fire poi artists – and this tribe has all of that. Some members of the group even represent multiple facets of flow artistry.
Born out of one member reaching out to others she knew who might be interested, the group started to take form. Although recently formed, they are still growing. As interest grew, more members started reaching out to their own flow artists and the group quickly reached over 15 members. All members are from the Mid-Ohio Valley, but many thought that they were the only ones in the area with this set of interests.
“It’s amazing how similar interests can create such strong bonds. I remember going to my first music festival and sitting and watching LED toys and fire spinners for hours thinking, ‘one day I will do that. I must!’ It was so beautiful in the dark. You couldn’t see the person spinning, just the beautiful images and tracers they were creating. ” group leader Natasha Kirby said.
Becoming a flow artist is just a matter of finding a passion for the art. Natasha, a hooper, found her love sadly tucked away in an old shed when she moved into her new house. The tape on the hoop was shredded, and it needed some love. She spent hours taking a razor blade to the tape and eventually returned it to its original form. After wrapping it in new teal and polka dot tape, she had created her first hoop.
“I practiced with that hoop so much that I permanently ruined a patch of grass in my mom and dad’s yard from my feet spinning in circles for months,” she said.
From there on out she describes it as a passion that borders on an obsession. Experienced flow artists help the new ones figure out their flow, and always encourage them.
“You become attached to your hoop and are constantly trying new tricks. Learning from friends is the best, but YouTube also helps with their tutorial videos,” Natasha said. “However, fire hooping, fire poi and fire breathing are like earning your masters degree in flow arts. You only want to try once your comfortable with your own flow.”
Many in the group see it as a form of artistic expression. For Natasha, a former cheerleader, dancer and gymnast, it was just a natural evolution of her passions from high school.
“Incorporating dance, movement and music through hula hooping filled that empty hole in my heart,” she said. “Once you find your groove, it takes over you. Your soul and personality are able to shine through your performances.”
The group performs as often as possible, even if it’s just getting together to share their passion. Often looked on as hippies, the group is doing their best to shut down the stereotypes that hippies are just rebels with little ambition and bad hygiene.
“We are the group to prove that flow artists are not just hippies, and that none of us fit what the typical stereotype is. We are made up of federal workers, teachers and educators, EMT personnel, mothers and fathers and social workers just to name a few. I am proud of my friends and fellow flow artists and we are all very supportive of one another,” Natasha said.
The tribe is all about acceptance, confidence and support. The Sacred Spinners all agree that flow artistry is a feeling like none other. It is like a team, but they don’t have to be competitive against other teams. They just have to be supportive of one another.
“The best part of hooping is the confidence it gives you. You feel beautiful because you letting your energy release into beautiful movement. Anytime I can express myself through art forms, I get an automatic mood boost,” Natasha said.
The group is always accepting of new members who think flow artistry might be for them. Those interested should find the Sacred Spinners on Facebook and reach out there, or look out for them at various festivals and fields this summer.