"How did you get into this?"
...is a question we get asked a lot. One does not simply fall into being a professional hula hooper and unicyclist. Well, actually....we kind of did. It took a lot of years of practice and a lot of help from some very special people to get to where we are now, but it all started with playing in the back yard. Here's a look at the little things that ignited our passion for learning and teaching, playing and performing:
Jeremy learned the value of practice and play at Play Immersion in 2011, a festival of flow arts workshops in Austin, TX. He learned to unicycle at fifteen when he and his best friend found an old uni in the garage. They spent two weeks teaching themselves to ride it five feet, and that taught them that the impossible never exists, when matched with determination. Now, he can ride backwards, on a five-foot unicycle, one-footed, while juggling. This tenacity is the foundation of what we teach people today. He started performing with the Prairie Folk Circus in Norman, Oklahoma and started a group to teach his friends how to unicycle. They were meeting at the park in the spring of 2012 when I showed up with my hula hoops and met him for the very first time.
Since I couldn't find any real, adult hula hoops in Oklahoma, I had to make them myself. She graciously taught me how, and pretty soon, all of my friends wanted one. After figuring things out by myself with the help of the internet, I started teaching my friends how to hula hoop. For me, hula hooping has always been about finding the path back to myself, teaching self-love, gratitude for your body, and the beauty of simply existing for a moment.
This group still meets every week to this day, and has grown into a skill-share of every kind of prop you can imagine. Jeremy learned to teach juggling from Monica Buck, who started Juggle Whatever in 2010, teaching kids how to juggle and spin plates. She taught him how to write shows and run a performance business, and eventually bestowed the company to him to carry on teaching juggling.
I found hula hooping during a dark period in my life following an accident that paralyzed and nearly killed me, leaving me with PTSD, and depression. Kim Eitze handed me a hula hoop (also in Austin, TX), and the way that it silenced my mind and helped me connect with my body again pulled me out of my depression and gave me something healthy to focus my energy on.
Hula hooping saved my life. I found that I was not the only woman tired of ellipticals and self-loathing, so I started teaching women's hula hoop fitness classes, where I could use my experience to teach so many women about the value of taking the time to have fun, be active, and love your body. My company, KelseyHoops, is about spreading handmade hula hoops, starting people on a journey of self-love, and delighting audiences everywhere I could. I never actually dreamed I would become a performer, but I fell in love with the part of my soul that radiates when I have the opportunity to share what I've learned with others. Also, telling people that I hula hoop for a living is really fun.
We founded Inspyral Entertainment in January 2015 to include our fire and glow performances at private parties and upscale events, and as a parent company of Juggle Whatever and KelseyHoops. I left my office job at the University of Oklahoma three months later, and we were married in October of 2015. Since then, it's been a blur of bookings, a wedding, performances and thankfully, a honeymoon and some down time. We made it through our first winter as first-time entrepreneurs and newlyweds. Luckily, they balanced each other out! Before we even started Inspyral, we fell in love with the idea of traveling and performing with our travel trailer. Little did we know that this summer would land us with 125 performances from the panhandle into Arkansas, and Beaver's Bend to Wichita. We will be performing at some amazing events and festivals, and also conducting our summer reading programs at libraries in towns big and small, teaching kids to juggle, as well as teaching teens about fun fitness and hula hooping. We are so grateful to our families and mentors who have believed in us along this crazy journey, and we can't wait to see what happens next!
If you want to read more about our story and see some videos of our wedding, click below: