Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas County entrepreneur inspires with hoop dancing

Abby Albaum's climb up the corporate ladder began with a global public relations job in New York and ended with a Hula Hoop lesson in Tampa Bay.

"Kacey Douglas, a traveling nurse, showed me how to hoop," said Albaum, 31. "I was totally inspired, but two months later, she moved away. It was the summer of 2007. I had a million questions, but no one to teach me."

Albaum turned to the Internet to learn twirls, jumps and spins. She searched for other hoopers and found them at Treasure Island Beach Drum Circle gatherings. While she worked in marketing full time for a Sarasota restaurant company, she made and sold hoops on weekends at the Saturday Morning Market in St. Petersburg.

Before long, word spread: Albaum was the go-to person for the scoop on hoops.

"Hooping is a mind, body, spirit practice," she said. "After hooping for a while, I started feeling healthier, not just physically, but mentally, which surprised me. I'd struggled with depression for years after my cousin, who was like a brother to me, committed suicide. I went off all my medication and haven't needed it since. After that, I felt it was my duty to share what I'd found with others."

Fast forward to February 2008. Albaum founded a business she calls Hoola Monsters. She began building a website, teaching classes and growing her hoop business. By the summer of 2010, she had left marketing to pursue Hoola Monsters full time.

Now, each Wednesday morning, people arrive at Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg before the gates open to meet Albaum. They learn basic hoop dance moves inside a large carpeted room that overlooks lush greenery and flowers.

Albaum also teaches children the art of hooping at Roberts Youth Center in St. Petersburg, offers weekly adult classes in Tampa and gives workshops at Dance and Circus Arts of Tampa Bay in Clearwater.

"Abby teaches Hula Hooping workshops at our studio," said Beth Brier, director of Dance and Circus Arts. "The next (workshop) will be multilevel, so all are welcome. Everyone loves her and gets inspired by her warmth and genuine nature."

This summer Albaum will teach at the first HoopGirl Empowerment Retreat in Mill Valley, Calif., Aug. 5-7.

Albaum is quick to tell anyone interested in hooping that today's hoops are weighted and move more slowly around the body than the Hula Hoops of yesteryear.

"My hoops are individually created to fit any person's body size and shape," Albaum said.

Once a week she packs up a unique hoop and heads to Casa Tina, a Mexican restaurant in Dunedin, to perform. The hoop has LED lights and creates a colorful light trail as it seems to swirl around Albaum's body.

"It's fun, different and entertaining for customers," said Tina Avila, who co-owns Casa Tina with her husband, Javier. "Abby performs every Friday night. We've been trying to source different artists. We like to sponsor and support local artists."

Albaum plans to write a book about the positive changes hooping brought to her life. With each class, she gathers more validation that once people stop worrying about dropping their hoop or looking silly, hooping can help them swap stress for joy.

"Hooping is simple, childlike and fun," Albaum said. "I think as adults we forget how to play. Hooping helps us remember. I know it's true, because people leave my class and they're beaming."

If you go

Hoola Monsters

The next Hoola Monster workshop will be from 10 a.m. to noon Feb. 20 at Dance and Circus Arts of Tampa Bay, 1610 N Hercules Ave., Clearwater. Registration is required. For information, call (813) 777-7720 or go to hoola

monsters.com.

Pinellas County entrepreneur inspires with hoop dancing 02/10/11 [Last modified: Friday, February 11, 2011 3:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Helicopter, small aircraft collide at Clearwater Air Park

    News

    CLEARWATER — Two people suffered minor injuries after a helicopter and a small aircraft collided late Saturday afternoon at Clearwater Air Park, 1000 N Hercules Ave.

    Clearwater Fire Department emergency personal douse a plane with fire retardant after the plane crashed into a helicopter at Clearwater Air Park 1000 N Hercules Ave. Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. According to Clearwater Fire two people sustained minor injuries. [Photo by Clearwater Fire Department]
  2. 4-year-old girl, man injured in Clearwater Beach boating crash

    Briefs

    A 4-year-old girl was airlifted with serious injuries after a personal watercraft she was riding on collided with a boat in the Intracoastal Waterway near Clearwater Beach just before 5 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

  3. Hernando Sheriff's Office identifies bank robber killed after chase, places 7 deputies on administrative leave

    Crime

    Authorities have identified a bank robbery suspect fatally shot by Hernando County sheriff's deputies after a wild chase Friday in which the fleeing suspect rammed several patrol cars in Brooksville.

    Scott Michael Chamberlain, 44, died after a deputy-involved shooting Friday. The Hernando County Sheriff's Office said that Chamberlaine attempted to rob a bank before taking deputies on a pursuit. (Florida Department of Corrections)
  4. No. 12 FSU, defense struggle in 27-21 loss to N.C. State

    College

    TALLAHASSEE — It's easy to blame No. 12 Florida State's 27-21 loss to North Carolina State on the injury to starting quarterback Deondre Francois or the three-week layoff because of Hurricane Irma.

    It would also be wrong.

    Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Nyqwan Murray (8) carries during the first quarter of the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  At the half, North Carolina State Wolfpack 17, Florida State Seminoles 10.
  5. Trump tells Warriors star Stephen Curry that White House visit is off

    Nba

    SOMERSET, N.J. — Stephen Curry and President Donald Trump agree on one thing: The Golden State star is not going to the White House anytime soon.

    Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry poses for photos during NBA basketball team media day Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. [Associated Press]