Best Hoopdancer

Nicole Wong

When she took her first-ever hoopdancing class two years ago, Berkeley resident Nicole Wong had never before seen hoopdancing performed, much less ever attempted it herself. Yet now she’s a talented pro. Merging Native-American ceremonial dance with the late-Sixties Hula Hoop, “hooping” is a trendy new aerobic adventure; hoopers spin the wide polyethylene rings around hips, waists, necks, limbs, shoulders, heads, wrists, and ankles. They’re doing it from Burning Man to Cirque de Soleil to your local gym. Wong, while working toward a Ph.D in education at UC Berkeley, founded her company Cherry Hoops to teach others what she calls a remarkably accessible and easy sport, which she insists improves muscle tone but doesn’t even feel like a workout. She also performs at private parties and corporate events such as a Lady Gaga-themed shindig in Oakland earlier this year for Yelp members; Wong hooped in a black leotard, red hoodie, supersized sunglasses, and platinum wig.

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