During my last trip to El Paso my curiosity was piqued by one of the latest performers that joined the Odd Lab crew. She was playing with double mini hoops, something I had yet to see in person. That curiosity was re-kindled with this snapshot of her gorgeous demonstration of an LED hoop flower:
This teasing had to stop! So I set up an interview to get to know the lovely and talented Mme. Paige, and she did not disappoint.
L.B. Wld: Was hula hoop your ﬁrst tool? How long have you been hooping?
Mme. Paige: Yes, I actually started hooping in middle school. I think I was 11 or 12.
Lb: Why / how did you pick up hooping?
Mme. Paige: My mom happened to see a hula hooper on “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” who was breaking the world record for the most hoops spun on the waist at one time and performing various hoop tricks for the show. My mom recorded it for me and I ended up spending the summer watching the video in slow motion to learn all of the tricks. I did a few talent shows but it wasn’t until I got to college that I began to perform with my hoops or incorporate ideas of flow and dance into hooping.
Lb:Have you always been a pyro or did that evolve out of hula hooping?
Mme. Paige: It actually took me a while to try fire performance. I have always been a dancer and a performer. In college I performed with a burlesque show as one of their variety acts doing LED and regular hoop performances. I got my first fire hoop my senior year of college and used it occasionally in my front yard with friends. I wanted to perform with fire at the burlesque shows but the venues we held our events at were not suited for it. It was not until I moved to El Paso and discovered Odd Lab that I seriously pursued fire performing.
Lb: How did you hear about Odd Lab and why did you decide to join? How long have you
been burning with OL?
Mme. Paige: I first found out there were fire performers in El Paso after seeing a photo of Bryan in Whats Up magazine. I became involved with a dance studio in El Paso (Dancers Studio) and ended up meeting Bryan there. (We were both asked to teach a “cirque” style summer camp at the studio.) He ended up giving me Gina’s contact information so I could set up an audition with Odd Lab. I had been looking for fellow spinners in El Paso and wanted to perform so it was perfect. I ended up auditioning on the same day as Brooke last October and we both got accepted.
Lb: Tell us about your background in dance.
Mme. Paige: I have been dancing since I was 3 when my mom signed me up as a way for me to socialize and meet people because I was a very quiet kid. I always enjoyed it and by the time I was a senior in high school I was taking 7 classes a week in every type of dance style I could find. I was accepted into the dance program at the University of Alabama and became a dance major. I graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in dance but competition was steep and unfortunately I never got to dance in the college company. I have performed in a few different groups: the burlesque, an amateur dance company in Birmingham, Ala. and various solo gigs. So far Odd Lab has been my favorite group to be a part of.
Lb: What tools do you use? Which one is your favorite?
Mme. Paige: I do single hoop, mini hoops and fire fans, as well as some small tools like chi ball, fire fingers and palm torches. I think hoop will always be my favorite. I have been doing it for so long and it is the reason I started doing any of this in the first place. I just picked up fire fans this past January and I am starting to really like those too. They allow me to add some of my dance background to the performance.
Lb:What tool and/ or move are you currently trying to master?
Mme. Paige:Right now I am trying to get better with my fire fans and mini hoops. The spokes for the wicks add a whole other level of difficulty to mini hooping, since there are a lot of hand grip transitions. It is taking a lot of practice to perfect.
Lb:What is your favorite thing about spinning?
Mme. Paige: I like how much fun it is and it is a great stress reliever. I also really enjoy teaching others how to spin. I used to teach hoop classes when I lived in Alabama and made some great friends through it. I have been trying to start a hoop class in El Paso as well but so far there has not been much interest.
Lb: Do you have a performance name?
Mme. Paige: When I performed with the burlesque in Alabama we were supposed to all have names and backstories. Somehow I ended up being called “Miss Paige.”