Audience enjoys act with a twist

'Each audience is so different'

Last updated 05:00 01/02/2013

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Becky "Hoops" Priebe opened the 2013 Southland Buskers Festival with a twist of her hips, a pin-up smile, and a flash of red undies, as more than 200 watched from the Queens Park rotunda lawn.

It may have taken a few minutes for people to warm to Priebe's Barbie-inspired act last night, but a Sir Mix-a-Lot dance routine seemed to win them over as she simultaneously spun a hoop around her neck and her bum, dedicating some of her moves to a 7-year-old admirer in the front row.

Priebe, an Edmonton native with a degree in international development, said getting the humour right took just as much practice as the hip-swirling.

"Comedy is this weird thing that is hard to do in a room by yourself - you need to see faces and people's responses to know what works. And each audience is so different."

While Priebe, 32, who initially planned to work in social development after graduating from Trent University in 2002, she was introduced to hula hooping by a Kiwi flatmate after moving to Montreal.

To her surprise, she was really good, she said.

Her parents were not thrilled with her lifestyle choice in the beginning, but have come around it, she said. Her mum even came as her "roadie" when she arrived in Christchurch for the World Buskers Festival in January.

In September, Priebe, whose act has also taken her to Germany, Thailand, Japan and Switzerland, married her boyfriend, a professional clown, and the couple are thinking about starting a family, she said.

But this hardly means she will be hanging up the hula hoops.

"Lots of performers have kids - kids that travel have a great life."

The buskers festival continues today through to Sunday at Queens Park, Wachner Place, and Southland Boys' High School.

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- The Southland Times


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