A hoop of expression; Local woman meditates on hula hooping

Rochelle Perleberg creates a weave of fire around her as she uses a flaming hoop to hula hoop.  Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Rochelle Perleberg creates a weave of fire around her as she uses a flaming hoop to hula hoop. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

In 2009, Rochelle Perleberg started hula hooping and never stopped.

“It’s a great way to express myself, it’s a great way to stay fit and active, and it’s an amazing way to meditate,” Perleberg said. “Because when you’re inside your hula hoop you lose track of space and time and anything around you except for the meditation and the mantra.”

Rochelle Perleberg is lit by two of her glowing hula hoops. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Rochelle Perleberg is lit by two of her glowing hula hoops. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Perleberg, now 25, bought her first hoop from a close friend who had an extra after a music festival.

“I had watched girls out at festivals do it, and it was this beautiful, fluid dance,” she said. “And even though they were doing tricks it was almost like doing meditation.”

Rochelle Perleberg demonstrates her talent in hula-hooping, an art she’s uses for both entertainment and for exercise. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Rochelle Perleberg demonstrates her talent in hula-hooping, an art she’s uses for both entertainment and for exercise. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Perleberg now hoops at many events, including music festivals, the Austin ArtWorks Festival and various festivals in several states. She has also performed at the Historic Paramount Theatre with the Yoga Studio of Austin for a fundraiser, has taught classes on how to make hula hoops with the ArtWorks Center’s Traveling Art Studio, and takes bookings for parties such as birthday parties and Fourth of July parties.

“I hula hoop wherever I can, any old place at any time really,” she said.

Depending on the event, Perleberg will dress up in different costumes, such as an elf, a peacock or a belly dancer.

Perleberg said everything she learned about hooping added up to her when she started, and she began to practice every day. She also watched numerous videos online, live performances from others at festivals and practiced as much as she could.

About three months later, she was at the 2009 Harvest Festival at Harmony Park in Geneva when one of the performers saw her hooping with the other hula-hoopers and asked her to perform with him during his show.

“I ended up practicing really, really hard all day,” Perleberg said. “I didn’t stop hula hooping until like 9 at night.”

During the performance, Perleberg learned to hoop with a fire hoop for the first time. She was excited for her friends to see the performance as well.

“It completely transformed my whole life,” she said. “I have not stopped hula hooping since.”

Perleberg now owns 19 hoops, some which are fire hoops, some which are LED light-up hoops, one that makes patterns in the air, small hoops, larger hoops, and more.

Rochelle Perleberg has found not only an entertainment in hula-hooping but a awy to stay in shape as well. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Rochelle Perleberg has found not only an entertainment in hula-hooping but a awy to stay in shape as well. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

“I have 19 hula hoops, but who’s counting?” she laughed.

Perleberg also makes and sells her own hula hoops using various materials such as irrigation tubing, barbed connectors and petroleum jelly. She also weaves tape or ribbons over the top to make them colorful. She has a page on Facebook called Hooprageous where people can contact her to get a hoop made. The hoops are made for each person specifically, as the measurements from a person’s belly-button to the floor determine how big the hoop will be.

Perleberg said her family, friends and boyfriend have been very supportive of her hooping, and she has made everyone in her family a hoop. She said hooping could turn into a career, but as for now she focuses on the love of the activity.

“I just enjoy it and I want to share the love of hula hooping with everybody,” she said.

Perleberg also works at the Yoga Studio of Austin and as a receptionist at the Style Lounge in Austin. Through hula hooping, she said she’s learned a lot of patience and determination.

“I’ve learned that determination and practice will really take you anywhere you want to go,” she said. “Be it in hula hooping, be it in yoga, be it in life.”

She advised new hoopers not to give up, to practice as much as possible and to have fun.

“Everybody has their own style for hooping, and just because you don’t look like others when you hoop doesn’t make you any less of a hooper,” Perleberg said. “And you can kind of take that in any relation of life also.”

Rochelle Perleberg creats a pattern of light as she hula-hoops across the time-lapsed frame. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Rochelle Perleberg creats a pattern of light as she hula-hoops across the time-lapsed frame. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

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