As the saying goes, you’re never too old to try something new.
Ask Paige Pardee-Quan, who at 31 started hooping five years ago.
Hula hoop dancing, or hooping, is a combination of dance and hula hooping whereby a dancer rotates the hoop on all parts of the body, not just the waist, as with a traditional hula hoop. Hoopers incorporate many different styles into their performances, including freestyle dance, gymnastics, hip-hop, even fire dancing.
Paige discovered hooping when she saw a friend’s video on Instagram.
“As soon as I saw it, I was just like, I have to do this,” she said. “I have to know what it feels like to be able to move like that with a hoop, and put it to music.”
She found a hula hoop she had purchased years earlier and started to practice.
“I was just basically frolicking in the backyard,” she said. “Just super awkward...Full adult frolicking in the backyard. I’m like, this is ridiculous, but I’m gonna learn it.”
Eventually, she realized she needed some instruction, so she watched every video on hooping she could find on YouTube. The tutorials, for the most part, teach how to do specific tricks. After six months, Paige began to focus on tying those tricks together and turning it into something that flowed smoothly.
Most days, if you stop by PEAK Health & Wellness Center in Coeur d’Alene, you’ll find Paige practicing, usually with a crowd gathered around her.
“I try to welcome (the crowds) because it’s super nerve-wracking to do this while people are watching,” Paige said. “But it’s kind of pointless if nobody’s watching. I want to learn to get really comfortable in front of crowds in order to be able to truly bless them with what it is that I do. Because if I’m nervous and all concerned about how I look, that’s not really going to be truly a blessing to anyone.”
Their faith is very important to Paige and her husband Cory, who attend the Anthem Church in Coeur d’Alene. Paige believes hooping is a gift from God.
“He gave this to me in my adult life. It’s such a blessing because it does keep me fit and it’s great for stress relief.”
Paige and Cory have three children - seven-year-old son Finnigan, two- and a half-year-old daughter Mylo, and 11-month-old son Koda. She continued to dance throughout her pregnancies.
“Whenever people are like wow, (Koda) has such a round head, I’m like, it’s probably because I was hooping. He was in my belly when I was hooping, and it just rounded everything out.”
Paige dances to different types of music, but primarily violin music set to punchy hip-hop or dubstep beats, and Christian hip-hop. She said some hoopers hoop without music, but to her that’s boring. So she always has music on. It’s important to her to be able to express the mood and creativity behind each piece of music.
Paige was a fan of gangster rap until she discovered Christian hip-hop. Now, she dances to Christian rappers such as Bryann Trejo, Beautiful Eulogy, and Trip Lee. She said her dream is to someday tour with Christian hip-hop artists, or work with inner city and do youth ministry, if that’s God’s will for their family.
The PEAK staff is supportive of Paige and her hooping.
“We love watching her,” said Vanessa Ramirez, who works at the front desk. “Sometimes if we’re doing locker room checks or just floor checks, we’ll just watch for a little bit. It’s pretty amazing what she does.”
Vanessa said they’ve had no complaints about Paige’s practicing. In fact, staff members have asked her to teach a class, or even teach them how to hoop.
“She’s really good at what she does,” Vanessa said. “She works really hard for it, which is great. It’s a joy to have her here.”
Paige recently started street performing in Spokane. She also hopes to dance at Art on the Green this summer. She and Cory are going to Hoopfest in Spokane. She said he’ll play on a team and she’ll dance, just for fun.
Although most people don’t view 36 as old, it actually is late to start hooping. But Paige is determined to make the best of every day.
“I think that it’s really cool when people can keep doing what they love doing, no matter how old they get,” she said. “I’m hoping to be doing this when I’m 80.”