Teacher Feature: Sami List
Sky Candy: How long have you been involved in the circus arts/your chosen discipline? How did you get started?
Sami: I’ve been hooping for a little over four years now and couldn’t be happier. I actually found it by accident. I went to a studio to try another class and got scared so saw this thing called “hoop dance” on the schedule and decided to give it a try. I never hooped as a kid and had been inactive for several years after dancing for most of my childhood and adolescence. I couldn’t keep the hoop up for even a single rotation at first but something about it was so simple despite not being easy and I was determined to get the hang of it. The more I went the more I loved it!
SC: What has been the hardest thing about being a circus artist? What challenges do you face?
S: The hardest thing for me in the circus arts is not taking myself too seriously or overthinking the movements. Whether its hoop, pole, lyra or acroyoga I cannot help but laugh at my own frustration. It wasn’t always that way but I love the unintentional side-effect it’s had on my mental state as well as physical health. I work a desk job 40 hours a week so one of my biggest challenges has been to maintain my conditioning throughout the day. Little things like getting a good office chair and sitting up right, keeping proper posture while driving and getting enough food and sleep. The biggest challenges for me are always the smallest things. Big stuff is easy, it’s in your face reminding you constantly. Its the basics like eating right and drinking enough water that get forgotten sometimes.
SC: What is your favorite thing about being a circus artist? What is your favorite thing about teaching the circus arts?
S: The people, performances and opportunities for growth everywhere! There are so many options under the umbrella of “circus arts” and I love the constant stream of inspiration, motivation and talent! My favorite thing about teaching a circus art? Guess that would have to be the opportunity to introduce people of all ages to a movement form they might not have thought possible for them for whatever reasons. Particularly adults have a lot of stereotypes about themselves and what they can or should do, and I take great joy in breaking down those walls and opening doors to dance, movement and fitness to everyone I can.
SC: What do you love most about your favorite discipline?
S: Fitness Hoop Dance has been my gateway in to every other dance and circus art I do. I have several minor heart conditions (high heart rate, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and irregular heart beats) and because of how young I was when it all started my cardiologist always said my best option was fitness and cardio building classes. The problem was I couldn’t make it through a full hour of most of the classes I tried. Even holding back and trying to pace myself half to three quarters of the way through the class my heart rate would sky rocket and I had to stop completely. Because of the low impact nature of the cardio exercises in Fitness Hoop Dance not only can I make it through the full hour, I’m laughing and breathing steadily all the way through. The interval style that incorporates a slow warm up, focused strength building, coordination, pilates and a solid cool down stretch provides a good work out for any fitness level. But I can personally attest it has made my heart stronger and more capable in addition to slimming my waist line, building my confidence and making me a better hooper and dancer overall. Hooping has encouraged me to be okay with mistakes and the unpredictable nature of life and fitness. I am more considerate and open minded (and I thought I was doing pretty well before). Being able to “go with the flow” has made my improvisation and dance more fluid and enjoyable.
SC: What classes will you be teaching at Sky Candy?
S: I’ll be teaching-what else?- Fitness Hoop Dance! With the chance of a Hoop dance or Hoop performance series or workshop in the future. Come get silly and fit in a hoop!