LOS ANGELES — A senior in South LA is uplifting the community with her hula hoop.
Vanessa Bailey is a retired teacher and former DJ who opened a dance studio 14 years ago called Vanessa's Positive Energy. But the pandemic shut its doors.
She was losing money as she was losing students to COVID-19.
"I get emotional thinking about that," Bailey said. "But I also know that we are here, and we have to keep going."
She decided to hula hoop every day and film herself to encourage her students to do the same. She taught herself how to edit videos and post them online.
Now Vanessa's Hula Hoop Chronicles has more than 500 videos, and each one encircles herself and her community with positive energy.
Her student Angie Stovall watched the videos to stay active and stay positive.
"The pandemic was so depressing. There was so much badness going on," Stovall said. "Vanessa just puts a positive vibe on whatever she does. So if Vanessa was doing it, it was OK for me to do it too."
Bailey is now able to take her hula hoop outside and back into her studio with her students.
Sometimes the hula hoop falls. Bailey says that's OK.
"If it falls, you can always pick it up and start over again," Bailey said.
She is slowly welcoming students back to the studio, which is helping her stay afloat. Bailey also received a financial grant from Community Coalition and Black Lives Matter.
Bailey has a Chicago steppers class at her studio every Tuesday night, and her videos are on her Instagram page @BlingBlingDancer.