This is a biweekly series about art and artists in the region. Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts serves the community through arts education, exhibitions and artist resources.
Once a child's toy known as a Hula-Hoop, this simple plastic circle has grown up.
Hooping has evolved into an infectious subculture popping up in towns all over America. It's come to symbolize new ideas about self-expression, art, fitness, performance, spirituality, community, identity and more.
Locally, Stefanie Moser is a hoop dancer as well as an artist who creates the very hoops that surround her while she performs. During improvised dances, which are usually performed outside, she gracefully weaves the hoops up and down her torso, around her arms, and from leg to leg. To see videos go to: www.hooping.org/tag/stefanie-moser.
In 2007 she attended a wedding where guests were issued hula hoops. After experiencing the exhilaration firsthand, she says she went home and searched the Internet to learn how to make her own hoops. "Having always been a maker of things, I was totally enthralled," she explains. "And that's when I began to fashion my own hoops."
A self-taught hoop dancer, Ms. Moser says she performs for the sheer joy of it and hopes to expand the community of other enthusiastic Pittsburgh hoopers. For nearly five years she's been a regular at local events, demonstrating the art of hooping as well as selling her colorful spheres. She says she always has samples to encourage "the young or young-at-heart" to give it a try.
Fitting right in with the DIY crafters, Ms. Moser has taken her beautiful handmade hoops to the annual "Handmade Arcade" event and the "I Made It Market." She recommends trying out different sizes before purchasing one.
On Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 7:30, the public is invited to give it a whirl at one of her "hoop jams" at the Union Project -- a community center on the corner of Stanton and Negley Avenues, Highland Park. The jams are open to anyone, no matter the age or skill level. Hoops and instruction are provided. (Suggested donations -- $5 for adults; $2.50 for kids.)
Ms. Moser's handmade hoops are available at The Shop @ Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, or on her website at: www.spinsterhoops.com.