There are a plethora of activities in town for young and old, but perhaps none more entertaining than hula hooping.
“It’s tons of fun, it boosts your self-esteem, and it puts you in touch with your body,” said Rayna Hunt, who leads a class once a week in her crusade to get people interested in the activity. “I wanted to try it out, get some excitement going.”
Hunt herself started hooping three years ago at a booth at Folk On the Rocks and hasn’t stopped since. She goes to a camp near Rocky Mountain House, Alta., every year to improve her skills and connect with the wider community.
“It’s for prop and circus stuff,” she said, adding that she has tried slack-line – akin to tightrope walking – and aerial silks while there. “The people you meet there are amazing, it’s such a great community.”
Back in Hay River, Hunt said so many people were asking her to show them how to hula hoop, she decided to start a casual class about a month ago. They meet on the lawn between the Princess Alexandra and Harry Camsell schools on Wednesday evenings to practise and learn new skills.
“That’s the great part about hooping,” said Hunt. “It doesn’t take long to pick things up… you can learn tricks on your very first day.”
That’s part of the appeal, said Hunt. She has run classes with children, adults and seniors and said they have all been a ton of fun.
“Kids are crazy with hula hoops,” she laughed. “There is so much energy and a lot of happy vibes.”
But Hunt said her favourite students are the seniors, just because they tend to not take themselves too seriously and are there to have fun.
“Anyone can do it,” she said.
Madison Whitlock, in her early 20s, is a new devotee of hula hooping and has been attending the classes on Wednesday nights and practising on her own. She said Hunt got her her first hoop and showed her the basics.
“She taught me how, made me a hoop and it’s just a lot of fun,” she said.
While Hunt has no definite plans for more formal classes moving forward, she is thinking about the future. Between six and ten people tend to show up for evening sessions.
“I’m pondering perhaps doing classes where people sign up for like six weeks or whatever,” she said. “But I guess we’ll see if anyone wants to do it after this summer.”