A recent Monday at 12:05 p.m.: Minutes into her paid gig at the Powell Street Station, Natasha Kaluza already had drawn a crowd with her sparkly hula hoops. As more commuters walked out of the station and into Hallidie Plaza, she had 30 hoops rhythmically gyrating around her orange polyester jumpsuit.
People watched from the escalator and the sidewalk above the plaza, pointing, laughing and wiggling their own hips, entranced by their new hoop master.
“I define myself as a superhero fighting the good fight against injustice and sadness everywhere. The hula hoop is my weapon,” Kaluza said.
She discovered she had a knack for the hula hoop 15 years ago while attending UC Santa Cruz, but she didn’t understand its potential until she decided to study clowning at the Clown Conservatory in San Francisco to escape the office job she took to pay student loans. Now she would haven’t it another way.
“It’s a wonderful day when you get paid to hula hoop,” she said.
On this day, she and her husband Jamie Coventry, a trained juggler, were hired by the Union Square Business Improvement District to bring excitement to the area.
“I feel fortunate that I’m able to scrape together a living with my art. “It was sort of like a calling,” she said.