Dancer’s passion leads to blazes |

Dancer’s passion leads to blazes

Keeping a flaming hula hoop spinning around her middle while dancing in a revealing outfit is a trick that comes like second nature to Natasha Vidal.

“It’s like breathing for me. It would be hard to drop it,” said Vidal, 29, who six years ago picked up her first dance hoop she affectionately named “Hoolita Hoopita.”

For those who want to learn the seductive art of hoop dancing, Vidal said you’ll have to get into the hoop with her.

Each of her hoops has its own personality. She has written a birth certificate for every one.

Vidal’s hoops aren’t the typical plastic varieties found in toy stores. They are oversized and weighted.

“They’re heavy and they’re thick. It’s like riding a wave. It’s almost like doing a tango with centrifugal force,” Vidal said.

While hoop dancing seems to have no erotic limits, Vidal said she keeps her clothes on, except behind closed doors.

“I am capable of stripping within my hoop without dropping it. Just don’t ask me to prove it,” she said with a grin.

Some hoops are clear and light up, such as what Vidal calls her “psy-hoop.” It looks like a flying saucer and gives the impression she is wearing a lit- up skirt.

Then there is the ring of fire.

Vidal uses two different methods of fire hooping. The safest technique is to set eight ball wicks on fire located on the hoop’s exterior.

“The other way is kind of dangerous,” Vidal said: It involves setting aflame a long rope wick that extends around the entire ring.

“It’s real hot. There’s a lot of fire, but it looks really cool. I’ll constantly smell arm hair singeing,” Vidal said.

Fading scars mark her arms from a serious burn, and the heavy hoops have caused more than one fat lip and black eye.

Hoop dancing has created a storm of its own in places such as the Bay Area and Southern California, where Vidal first took a workshop with the amazing hoopstress, “Hoopalicious.”

“She’s the queen of our scene,” Vidal said.

Burning Man has become a site of annual pilgrimage for Vidal. Elsewhere in the States, raves and clubs also are popular venues.

A lifelong dancer, Vidal prefers the artistic outdoor music festivals held in places like the Dominican Republic.

“I am a performer. I’m not a go-go slut. I definitely choose my jobs carefully,” Vidal said.

She and her hoops have traveled the globe, including a performance for the Prince of Morocco.

“They pay top dollar for this entertainment and treat you like a rock star,” Vidal said.

She giggles when she explains that she’s in Grass Valley because of a “boy.” Now that she is here, she wants to teach again.

“Every time I teach, my students go off and teach. It spreads like wildfire,” Vidal said.

Nevada County’s large volume of body-conscious yoga and bellydancing studios means the area is ripe for hooping.

“I want Grass Valley to join the revolution,” Vidal said.

Check out a video of Vidal hooping at


To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail or call 477-4231.

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