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Hoop dreams

The Hoop Fairy Lands On The North Shore

Pamela Lamont found her calling.

Having travelled to Tennessee in 2008 for Bonnaroo, a four-day music and arts festival held annually in Manchester, she took a workshop that changed the course of her life.

Lamont noticed a female hoop dancer performing an impressive variety of movements and tricks and was enthralled by the woman's beauty and grace.

"I was really kind of intimidated," she says. "Even though it's a hula hoop, what people can do with it, it blows you away."

Nonetheless, Lamont opted to take the workshop and the hoop dancer was kind and encouraging and quickly put her at ease.

"I just totally fell in love with it," she says.

The 31-year-old Langley resident, or the The Hoop Fairy, as she's called, has made a profession out of hoop dance and now offers classes at fitness and community centres throughout the greater Vancouver area for people of all ages -- from children to seniors. In addition, Lamont sells hoops she makes herself; appears at community

events, craft markets, farmers markets and marathons; offers private lessons at ladies' nights and birthday parties; and is getting into performance.

"It's definitely changed me, it's so funny how a hula hoop can do that. I think it just brings out this inner child that everybody craves. Everybody wants to play and have fun and revert back to being a kid," she says.

Starting next month, Lamont will begin offering hoop dance classes at William Griffin recreation centre, for both children and adults, through the North Vancouver Recreation Commission.

"We have seen a huge demand for classes that combine dance and fitness on the North Shore -- zumba and Bollywood dance have exploded. Hooping is another great program that combines the elements of dance and fitness. It's a beautiful performance art and fun for all ages," says Kristina Shubert, recreation programmer for the North Vancouver Recreation Commission.

Lamont has received strong community support for her offerings, previously in the Okanagan where she called home and now in the Lower Mainland. In one year alone, she sold 300 of her custom-made hula hoops in the Kelowna area.

"People are dying to find a different fitness routine," she says. Lamont has taught in a number of local communities -- Langley, Fort Langley, Burnaby, Delta, New Westminster and Surrey included -- and has appeared at countless public events throughout the province, from music festivals to marathons. She's excited about expanding to the North Shore. "Anything that gets people up (and motivated and happy and smiling) off the couch is great for me," she says. "It's really fun. It's my passion and I like to share it with people -- especially people who've never even heard of it. It makes me giddy."

Lamont likes that hoop dance is an alternative means of working out that appeals to all ages and fitness levels. It can be done on people's own terms at home. As well, it's something parents can do with their children.

"It's not only great exercise, it's just a really great thing -- (it's) meditative almost. You put on some music and you get into your own dance rhythm. By the time you notice, it's been an hour and you're still dancing around," she says.

To introduce North Shore residents to hoop dance, Lamont is offering a free all-ages sampler class Sunday, Oct. 30 at 9:30 a.m. at William Griffin. It has quickly filled up and, as of deadline, there was one space left. "Obviously the interest is definitely there," she says. "People, whether or not they know what it is, they're really eager to try it, so I'm pretty excited to teach it."

Lamont's hoop dance classes will be offered at William Griffin Sundays, Nov. 6-27: for children, ages eight-12, at 10: 30 a.m. ($48); and adults, 16+, at 9:30 a.m. ($72). Practice hoops will be provided. Additional sessions get underway Feb. 12, 2012. To register, visit

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