Starlight Express

 From Left: Tim Spins, Pixie Hularina, Bunny Hoop Star, Shiho, GemStar. Photo by Nick Coppins.

From Left: Tim Spins, Pixie Hularina, Bunny Hoop Star, Shiho, GemStar. Photo by Nick Coppins.

 Some of the Hoopy Time Crew with Captain Starlight. Photo by Nick Coppins.

Some of the Hoopy Time Crew with Captain Starlight. Photo by Nick Coppins.

The Hoopaholics and some of the Hoopy Time Crew were lucky enough to be invited to Westmead Children’s Hospital on the weekend for a half hour slot of hooping and entertaining in the Starlight Express Room. The room is a gorgeous, sparkly, fun, creative space for sick children and their families and friends to chill out or be creative. The room has computer games, music, crafts and activities to keep kids (and parents) entertained. Kids too ill to leave their beds can join in the fun via the daily Captain Starlight shows broadcast to their bedside TVs. Each month Starlight Express rooms nationally average 30,000 visits.

It was a little daunting to see children of all ages and cultures stuck in a hospital on a sunny Saturday afternoon and the expectation placed on us to distract them for half an hour felt imposing. I do think we succeeded at least a little bit as there were some smiles, giggles and interesting improvisations made to get kids in wheelchairs or immobile in hospital beds hooping. We also coaxed some dads on stage to show off their skills and were provided with a superb show of talent from Bunny Hoop Star. Three lovely junior hoopy time heroes (Holly, Eleni and Livia) showed us their favourite move and explained what they love most about hooping. Livia won a school talent show with her hooping and Eleni mastered the infinity in only two weeks! Shiho, who is in town all the way from Osaka to learn hooping, gave a Japanese perspective on why the hula hoop is important to her and how much fun it can be. GemStar showed off her four hoop double-bird-arm (with reverse!) and Tim Spins busted out the disco arms and chest hooping, representing the male contingent of hoopers.

Thanks to the Starlight Children’s Foundation Australia, Westmead Children’s Hospital, Captain Starlight and Bunny Hoop Star for a fun and rewarding day.