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Marijka Haines revives a pastime from an earlier era

by Dan MacCormac

Marijka HainesMeet Charlottetown’s first lady of hooping. Marijka Haines began making and selling her own hula hoops after spending the summer of 2006 in Montreal where she was introduced to hooping culture through a roommate.

“She had a hoop and she would take it with her everywhere she went, and she was amazing with it and I wanted to be amazing with it too, so I just made my own,” she explains.

Her hoops begin life as plumbers piping, approximately 10 feet of which are joined by a coupler and then decorated with colours and patterns using electrical tape. Marijka said she would like to try painting a hoop, but figures the paint would wear off with use.

Each hoop takes around an hour to make, she explains. To date, she has built and sold more than 40 hoops. A live demonstration is usually the preface to a sale.

“Who buys them? Lots of people. I took one out at a party and just danced to some music with it. I showed them my tricks and they were all like ‘I want to be able to do that.’”

Marijka considers hooping “another form of dance” and says almost any music can provide a suitable musical background to hoop to.

“Anything with a good beat, anything that makes you want to move. It can be Gorillaz, it can be jigs and reels.”

A recent hooping excursion around downtown Charlottetown brought out many curious onlookers who watched Marijka spin the hoop around her waist, arms and neck. The “step-through” trick—where she spins the hoop on her arms then steps sideways through it—seems to impress.

“Tricks, you have easy tricks and hard ones. One of the easiest is doing it around your hips and the step-through is more difficult.”

Marijka was busy this summer building more hoops and practicing her own technique. She has organized workshops for children in the community where they build and decorate their own hoops and learn some basics. Next summer she plans to do some busking and generally, spread the culture of hooping on PEI.

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