Katie Emmitt Interview, Part 2
This is the second part of a two-post interview with Katie Emmitt…
(Click here for part one of this interview)
Q: What does the word “flow” mean to you?
I’m actually working on the definition myself right now… I’m working on a lexicon project in my book arts class and flow is the word I’m choosing to use… really difficult to illustrate AND define, I think, particularly when us hoopers have such a spiritual connection to that word. Technically, flow is defined in this way -
“‘Flow’ is a psychological state in which a person is fully immersed in an activity and experiences feelings of energized focus and happiness and feels completely aligned with the task at hand.” ~ Katie
Nakamura and Csíkszentmihályi (psychologists) identify the following six factors as encompassing an experience of flow: intense and focused concentration on the present moment – merging of action and awareness – a loss of reflective self-consciousness – a sense of personal control or agency over the situation or activity – a distortion of temporal experience, one’s subjective – experience of time is altered – experience of the activity as intrinsically rewarding, also referred to as autotelic experience.
Think about it – we know flow when we see it. We can literally tell on the person’s face when they have reached that state. And it isn’t something defined as ‘ when a hooper can put a bunch of moves together smoothly and have a happy look on their face’… it is way more than that. Its a psychological, spiritual state. And it continues into thousands of realms of art and movement and creation. You could have a flow doing the dishes if that’s what you really loved to do.
I think, personally, flow is extremely hard to define. We can describe it easily, and we know it when we see it, but a single definition of flow is hard to come up with.
Q: When did you start making YouTube videos?
I started making YouTube videos during the summer of 2011! I think the first one I made was to Shakedown Street by the Dead. Pretty embarrassing BUT now it’s a part of my 1 Year Comparison video, which is amazing because it truly shows how, with a little dedication, you can develop such a flow in such a short amount of time.
My first tutorial video, however, I uploaded in March 2012. I think I was starting to get comments on my flow videos about how to do certain tricks, and I finally just broke down and did a tutorial for those yo-yo cat eye iso’s that Brecken does all the time. And, amazingly, it ended up on Hooping.org! After that, the rest is history. I had tons of people hitting me up to do more tutorials, so I did, and those got on Hooping.org, and things just spiraled out from there.
Q: What advice do you have for beginner hoopers?
I have lots of advice for beginner hoopers so here it goes…
1. Practice in front of a mirror and make videos of yourself! No one has to see them but you, but you will learn SO much from watching yourself, you won’t believe it. If I learn a new trick, you bet I’m video taping that shit so I know how it looks and if I’m doing it the way I want it to look or the way I imagine it to look.
2. Practice every day, even if only for 5 minutes! My flow/practice did not evolve on its own, only after I dedicated myself to practicing every day did I get better.
3. Set goals. Just like anything else you set out to learn, goals can help you achieve things faster (if you are goal oriented like I am!). I don’t think I would have become the hooper I am today if I hadn’t had that initial goal to try out for EFHT in 2012 and given myself a year to become a badass hooper!
4. Have a few different hula hoops on hand. I know that this can seem expensive, but there are ways around it, and you will benefit a ton from having different sizes and weights to choose from. You can even go to Walmart and buy their wave hoops and open them up and empty out the water (what I did for a year until I ended up making my own hoops). But when you have a lot of options, you’ll learn things on some hoops more easily, and then that transitions to all of your hoops. It just broadens your horizons so much!
5. The last one. Forget learning ‘tricks’ and start thinking of everything as a movement. Just changing your attitude can help improve your flow! Once I stopped thinking “I’m going to learn a new trick this week” and started thinking “Oh I love what she’s doing in that video, I should try and get something like that down” I started learning so much more. I was figuring out variations and transitions and really simple moves that looked beautiful. My repertoire just became immense in a really short amount of time.
Q: Do you have anything else you can think of to inspire people to pick up hoop dancing?
“…it is so incredibly important to remember that everyone was a beginner at some point in time.” ~ Katie
As a parting message to inspire people… I think I’d just like to mention that it is so incredibly important to remember that everyone was a beginner at some point in time. Feeling discouraged will only get you to a certain point, but not any further. Stay inspired, stay motivated, and when all else fails, remember how much fun it is and what good exercise you’re getting