our story

Chicago Hoop Dance is collective of performers, teachers, students and above all hoop-lovers. CHD was started in 2006 by Mercedes Gomez to help spread the love of hooping throughout Chicago. We’ve evolved along the years to include top notch performances at the sleekest venues in Chicago, high quality and lovely hand made custom hoops, & workshops to suit anyone from an exploratory beginner to advanced hoop wielder to performance artist.

Meet the crew:
kstrycker-chicagohoopdance3-smKELLY SPRING
Director, Teacher

Kelly grew up next to corn field in Indiana. She spent many of evenings outside, barefoot, turning cartwheels & hand stands until dusk. She grew into a visual artist, and graduted from Columbia College in 2005. She discovered hoop dance, and simultaneously yoga in 2006. Through a series of serendipitous events she studied and began working with Mercedes Gomez, founder of CHD. Since heading up CHD in 2009 Kelly has instructed and facilitated many classes & workshops, making appearances at many Chicago-land public libraries, school programs, kids camps, and private events. Recently Kelly celebrated 10 years in the hoop, and has started to train in circus style hooping.



12645184_486129451574041_8114991849174411182_nANDREA MATTSON
Teacher, Co-conspirator

Andrea has been dancing since she was 3 years old, and has continued ever since. A mover by nature, she sees her body as her instrument to express herself. Studying ballet, tap, jazz, modern, flamenco, bellydance, fire dancing, and hoop (to name a few), her style tends toward a graceful and energetic mix of all she’s studied in the past. Andrea has been teaching dance for 14 years and hoop dance for 4. She currently performs professionally as a solo artist “Gaea Lady” with The Naughty Little Cabaret, Untitled, The Kiss Kiss Cabaret, Pyrotechniq, Solaire, and Chicago Hoop Dance.




12106734_828697320581382_7430472996310894860_nEMILY PERKULATOR
Teacher and Co-ordinator

Born Emily Jane Perkins, Perkulator has been exploring artistic expression since early childhood. She continues to indulge an unfailing passion for all things artistic.
Picking up a hoop in early 2011, she was immediately hooked. Following this, Perkulator has scarce put down a prop- her practice has expanded to include a wide span of movement arts and object manipulation. Perkulator is a well known Chicago performer and instructor, offering both artistic entertainment and multi faceted technical learning experiences. She is an active solo performer as well as core member of The Chicago Fire Technicians.


Founder, Teacher

In the fall of 2006 Mercedes Gomez traveled to Los Angeles to study under Hoop Girl founder, Christabel Zamor. Shortly, after the HoopGirl training Chicago Hoop Dance was born. Mercedes began teaching hoop dance classes at local Yoga studios gyms. She continued to deepen her practice as a yoga teacher as well, and her calming, all- accepting attitude transpires into life as a yoga/ hoop teacher.