A bead of sweat rolls down her forehead as she jumps, moves in circles and dances in a mostly deserted park. Her eyes are focused on her hula hoop, which twirls, and swerves up and down her body at a moment’s glance. She tosses the hoop up and looses grip.
“There it goes,” she says as she chases her hoop.
The hooper’s name is Sheer Fadel and she is a flow artist that specializes in the hula hoop flow toy.
Fadel, a former CSUN student, has been a part of the flow arts movement for the past two years and says it has benefitted her life greatly. Flow arts is a movement-based discipline that revolves around skill-based techniques such as poi and staff spinning, hula hoops, juggling, sphere manipulation and fan dances.
Now, that she has been away from CSUN for a while, she says that she notices that there has been a change in how people perceive certain art forms. She says that she is open to starting a flow arts community or club if any students are interested.
She said she has enough hoops to spare.
The Sundial recently spoke to the 21-year-old Fadel about her involvement in flow arts, how she got started and what it means to her.
How did you get involved in flow arts?
Fadel: I was really involved in the festival community. I would see a whole bunch of people using hula hoops and I was really curious, because the last time I saw them I was just a child. I was like, “This is interesting,” because it’s being manipulated in a different way, not just child’s play. There are different tutorials on YouTube you can watch to learn tricks.
What was it like picking up the hoop for the first time?
Fadel: It was very frustrating. I saw a lot of videos of people that had a lot of progress with it and were more advanced. It was the first time I really realized that I wasn’t physically strong, so it motivated me to get muscular and work out more, because once you have a stronger core you are able to manipulate the hoop better.
What would you like to accomplish with flow arts?
Fadel: When I first started, it was just a hobby. I never imagined becoming so passionate about it. When I saw something so beautifully expressed I really wanted to be a part of it. I’m hopefully going to Thailand to visit this hostel for flow artists in Pai. It’s a town in Thailand, and a lot of flow artists go there, learn new things and there are workshops that you can take.
Has there been anyone influential from the flow artist community you are a part of?
Fadel: Yeah, if you go on Instagram there are so many incredible flow artists. There is this hooper – Dances with Circles, that’s her name there – that is just incredible. I think a lot of hoopers are definitely inspired by her. Two of my best friends have also picked up a hoop, so even though they live far away now, we still all share that in common and share our progress together.
What goes through your mind when you are performing with the hoop?
Fadel: Sometimes if I’m in a stressed out mood, it helps me release stress and anxiety. Recording my progress is good, because it inspires me to keep on pushing and I feel like I have so much more that I can learn.
Why do you put up videos on your Instagram?
Fadel: At first it was to keep track of my progress, I would say now that to gain opportunities to meet like-minded individuals – social media has been a really good platform for connecting in that sense. Also, the music is very crucial for me. You can be dancing to one song, and have a completely different flow to another song. All those elements combined create an interesting dynamic together.
How has your family reacted to your involvement with flow arts?
Fadel: I’ve always been a black sheep in my family. I think it was very strange at first, and I’ve had a lot of conversations with flow artists that have this in common. But, through my progress I’ve definitely gained a lot of respect, because prior to me being able to do so many tricks and techniques, they thought it was a waste of time. I think now it has been a bit more legitimized.