By Megan Walker
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer
What do a Quaker meeting house, a teen center, a magic shop, an auto dealership and a recording studio all have in common? They were once all located at 100B Brewer Lane in downtown Carrboro, but this space will soon be reincarnated as a movement and music studio called the Flowjo.
Carrboro residents Julia and Scott Crews said they will open the Flowjo at the beginning of March. The Flowjo will have a hoop focus, but classes in aerial dance, poi, staff, fire spinning, circus fundamentals, music and other arts will also be offered.
Hooping is a form of dance or meditation using larger, more durable hula-hoops.
“Carrboro has turned into what is known as a hooping mecca amongst the global hoop community,” Scott Crews said. “It has given Carrboro notoriety.”
Several pedestrians and surrounding business owners stopped in to see the work taking place at the soon-to-be Flowjo on Saturday, Feb. 12.
With a dusty floor, a busted drinking fountain and graffiti on the walls, the place may not look like much yet, but Scott Crews said things will soon change.
The Crews’ landlord just got the building brought up to code, and they will be working in the coming weeks to install a dance floor, paint, clean and build a stage.
Carrboro is the ideal place to build the Flowjo, as the town is home to many originators of the modern hooping movement.
“I’d say that per capita there are more people hooping here than anywhere in the world,” Julia Crews said. “For being a small town, it’s got a lot of hooping that’s going on, so it seems like a perfect spot for one of the world’s first flowjos.”
The idea behind the name is based off a dojo, which translates to “a place of the way.”
“The Flowjo is a place of flow,” Scott Crews said. “When you go to work, and you get into the flow, and you’re cruising along, and it feels good. Well, that ain’t nothing compared to this artistic creative expression that is flow.”
Julia Crews said she decided to pursue hooping as a career after seeing and then talking to a circus performer hooping in New York.
“She told me she was making her whole living off of it,” she said. “It was just a splash of wow. You can do what you love for your job.”
Scott Crews met his wife, then Julia Hartsell, in 2005 when she hired him to play the drums for her at a wedding. He said, “We ended up falling in love and have been working together ever since.”
Scott Crews will be overseeing the musical side of the studio. He has been drumming since he was 13 and currently teaches lessons out of their home.
“One of our biggest challenges has been that our art forms in practice are big, and it’s not easy to practice an act of that zone in my home space,” Julia Crews said. “And I know that other people struggle with this.”
The Flowjo will have a large open dance floor, a shop for flow art paraphernalia, a stage and a lounge area.
The Crews said they are also planning to use the building for events space, summer camps and weekend workshops, including the fourth annual Hoop Convergence in May.
Julia Crews said that hooping and the Flowjo will appeal to a broad audience.
“When you think of classic hula hooping, it looks a little awkward, kind of frantic to keep the hoop up,” she said. “These hoops are different … people are coming to them for different reasons. It is a really good core exercise and a good, moving meditation for people like me who don’t have an easy time sitting and meditating.”
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