Delhi-based Eshna Kutty—the 24-year-old hoop dancer whose ‘Genda Phool’ video in a sari and sneakers was the brightest thing on the internet last week—talks about how she plans to turn hooping into a professional art-form in India.
Q/ How and when did you discover hooping?
A/ I discovered hooping some 10 years ago and got fully into it around six years ago. What I like about hooping is how anybody can pick it up. I have never danced in my life. I am into sports and hooping looked very elegant yet sporty. Initially, it was like a side hobby—a pocket-money profession. It is only after my studies last year that I decided to do it full-time.
Q/ You have also been teaching hooping.
I have taken hooping workshops across the country. I would get invited to teach in studios across cities, in batches of 20 to 30. It slowly picked up in the last year. I saw a shift in the number of students I had. There are hundreds of hoopers now. Hooping comes under a broader term called Flow Arts, which includes juggling, poi spinners, slacklining and acro yoga, the same way how dancing has different styles like jazz, contemporary and hip-hop.
Q/ How did the sari come into the picture?
Every Indian hooper might have hula-hooped in a sari. I like to keep my practice interesting and mix different art-forms. And I love wearing saris. It was all spontaneous. I was meant to post some #sareeflow videos over a period of time. The ‘Genda Phool’ video that went viral was the third #sareeflow video on my Instagram handle. But it was not even something I was supposed to post. It was just a practice video, with me warming up to, you know, the actual insane #sareeflow content. My Instagram following has always been more non-Indians—mostly international professional hoopers. The goal of #sareeflow was to show that a distinctive community of Indian hoopers also exists.
Q/ What are your plans with hooping?
I am currently branding. It is coincidental that I was working on my company, Hoop Flow, when this video went viral. The company just got registered. I am going to be launching it in the coming weeks. Hoop Flow will be a one-stop destination where people can buy hula hoops and learn how to dance using them. I would like to host hoop festivals and build the community.
View this post on Instagram
Can one really flex to a song like Genda Phool which is all heart tho? This post is primarily to share with you why I put out #sareeflow as a hashtag. It had been on my mind for months, and the intention was not to create the most sensual saree videos, but to feel so comfortable and happy wearing it without the pressure of being a delicate lady. That aside, I wanted to also spotlight Indian hoopers because we're so few in number but growing so fast. Theres so much diversity in our cultures and even in our sarees that I hoped this trend would add a very unique twist to a global art form. Or visa versa- that you'd want to get yourself a hoop because you secretly want to dress up to goof around. Either case, I think it's fantastic that you're doing it anyway and sharing it ❤️ . . . Wearing @pumaindia + mother's saree obv✨ . . #hoopersofinstagram #hooplife #hoopdance #hoop #hoopersofig #hooplove #flowarts #hoopflow #hulahoop #hulahooping #infinitecirclescommunity #girlswhohoop #hooper #hooping
Throughout my journey with hooping, I have often shied away from telling people I hula hoop because they just don’t understand. There is a lot of stigma attached to it. So I wanted to be so popular that you don’t have to explain yourself.