Michelle Joni is the latest skipper to be inducted into our Hall of Fame! She is the creator of a magical skipping experience called Michelle Joni’s Skipping Club that meets in a different neighborhood in New York City every Thursday afternoon.
“I encourage eye contact while skipping – GIVE your love and energy to people you pass YOU have that power. We all do. We are all magic- we just need to know how to find it, use it and spread it to other people.” -Michelle Joni
Michelle speaks the skipping truth and has a beautiful way of articulating its many intricacies … that nervous pre-skip jolt…the magical way the energy of skipping shifts our immediate environment in a positive direction..and lots more! So we think you’ll enjoy this recent interview we did with her about all things skipping.
When did you start skipping as an adult?
It’s new! I started skipping (for real) a couple of months ago.
It started with dance walking. I love listening to music when I walk, and sometimes and it’s hard to not dance as I go. This year I really started to embrace it, but it started out small. I would do a little trot here, a gallop there. When people would pass by and see me shaking my thang on the street by myself, it gave me a nervous jolt. But then I realized that nervous jolt is a good thing, so I started doing it more.
The first time I skipped was 2 months ago as I was on my way to a nail appointment. It was cold out and I wanted to get there faster, so my body sped me along and suddenly I was skipping! It was almost accidental. As soon as I started skipping up Broadway, I realized how much fun I was having. I started flailing my arms and smiling. And then laughing!
I was leaping high in the sky! It was just a few blocks, and I realized how much fun it was just to feel the freedom of not caring what anyone else thought. I also realized that everyone I passed didn’t have a look of judgement – they were actually smiling too. I literally changed my environment by skipping down the street. I made it happier. I filled it with joy, love and positivity.
I wrote on Facebook when I got to my nail appointment “Skipping is so underrated!” And a lot of people responded. “YES! I love skipping!” And I realized there was definitely something there. As ideas tend to come to me at lightning speed, by the end of my manicure I had a fully thought out Skipping Club, and it was going to start in ONE WEEK!
Love it! So tell us about your Skipping Club!
Michelle Joni’s Skipping Club is a fearless workout and dance party in motion every Thursday at 2pm.
We meet at a new spot in NYC each week and I design a themed hour of improv games, motivational topics and activities– all centered around the core qualities of skipping.
For example, on Valentine’s Day we handed out long-stemmed roses to strangers as we skipped by. We wore red and pink. The skipping adventure ended at Lindt Chocolate on Fifth Avenue, where I arranged to have a chocolate sampling. We also recently did a nostalgic tour of Alphabet City. I pointed out all of my secret spots along the way, because it was my last week living there! My favorite local restaurant, Esperanto, was the sponsor, and we had sangria, and chips and salsa to end the Skipping Club meetup.
Do you skip in intervals / take breaks in between to allow for different fitness levels? Or how does that work?
I have a bluetooth speaker in my see-through pink backpack, and we usually do 1-2 songs at a time. We take breaks for little games and to catch our breaths. Also, we stop to stretch, to give gratitude, to meditate, to talk about what we’re excited for in the future, and other fun games.
What would you say you most enjoy about skipping?
What I enjoy most about skipping is the way I can transform my environment. Skipping creates a powerful and positive field of energy – because the act itself makes you feel happy. Passersby feel that happiness, even if only slightly, and in turn, they will have the ability to spread it. It’s a ripple effect. I encourage eye contact while skipping – GIVE your love and energy to people you pass YOU have that power. We all do. We are all ::magic:: – we just need to know how to find it, use it, and spread it to other people.
Where is your favorite place to skip?
I’d have to say New York’s East Village. It’s a colorful quirky neighborhood to begin with, so it’s fun to add to it.
What advice would you offer to someone who is hesitant to start skipping because they are worried about what others might think?
I would tell them that is exactly why they should do it! Life is about pushing past boundaries. It is the only way to discover new things about yourself and the only thing that enables people to make change in this world. Think about that situation at work or in your love life that makes you uncomfortable. What if you could take small steps toward getting past it? Think of skipping as a metaphor for something that scares you. Once you learn that it’s not going to kill you and you experience a glimpse of that next level of confidence – it will open up your mind and assure you that you are way stronger (mentally, emotionally, even physically) than you thought.
Do you think that skipping makes the world a better place? If so, how?
Yes! Skipping brings instant joy and lightheartedness to the person skipping and those around them. Happiness is contagious. Also, skipping in the news is a nice change from all the negativity.
What is the best way for people to stay up-to-date on your latest skipping happenings?
Start spreadin’ the news! They’re skipping every Thursday!
Yes, that’s right an enthusiastic and passionate skipper has bounced onto the scene in New York and created the Michelle Joni Skipping Club that meets up every Thursday afternoon at 2 pm!
Michelle’s vision, energy, and love of skipping is truly inspiring. Here’s how she describes this special club on the Skipping Club’s Facebook page…
A dance party in motion every Thursday! Join Michelle Joni for a FEARLESS workout to paint the streets of New York City (or anywhere she travels…) with joy, love and positivity. Surprise new location each week. And lots more surprises too! ♥
So what are you waiting for? Skip on over and join the Skipping Club on Facebook..and get out there and skip the town blue or red or pink or whatever the color of the week might be.
How cool is this?
The Greencastle Indiana High School Swimming team uses skipping to help them sense and establish natural energy patterns related to each beat of a variety of movements. The ground establishes an energy beat, and then they try to “figure out” how that beat gets through the body and ultimately out through the finger tips. From that foundation they take the movements into the water and try to feel the same natural beats established with the kick and the hand stroke of swimming.
Yahoo! Skip on!
This website started in 1999 and at several different points over the years, we have heard speak of an extremely passionate skipper who got media coverage in the 80s, but despite diligent research, have never able to find an article or mention about him, etc. We were always surprised that we didn’t hear from him when the skipping project was getting a lot of publicity, because it seemed like someone in his life would have told him about it!
Imagine our surprise when we were sent this video that at long last gave us a glimpse into the 80s skipper in action:
It seems that Bill not only lived in Charlotte, but in Florida too based on this article about him applying for a permit to be able to skip around town with a billboard for money that was ultimately denied in Broward County Florida in 1988.
Thanks to some helpful hints via iskip readers, we were able to connect with Bill via email and are thrilled to officially add Bill to the Skipping Hall of Fame!
Although THE Skipper does not currently have a regular skipping practice, his passion for skipping as a form of locomotion still knows no bounds. He officially went into skipping retirement in 1990 after local officials refused to give him the permits he needed to keep his skipping business alive. (Clients paid him to skip around town carrying a billboard as Bill is demonstrating in the picture above that was taken in Atlantic City.)
All of the buzz that the Carolina Camera video going viral has created has Bill contemplating a return to the skipping stage after all of these years, which we sincerely hope will eventually happen because his passion, expertise, and pioneering spirit feel like exactly what the skipping movement needs to go to a whole new level! And our world certainly needs the positive energy that skipping represents now more than ever.
Bill was kind enough to recently answer a few questions for us about skipping and the recent interest in his video…. so without any further ado, may we introduce THE Skipper….
Do you still believe that skipping should be a more mainstream activity? If so, why?
I have always believed that skipping is a “better way to move across the earth by foot.” Better than running because it’s less harmful. Better than walking because it’s faster. When done properly it is a controlled form of locomotion that can certainly be incorporated into everyday life.
Whether it will become more mainstream or not may in part depend on what you and I do in the future.
How did it feel to have your video from the 1980s go viral like it did recently?
It came as a complete surprise to me and I only found out about it after I started hearing from friends. What doesn’t surprise me is the interest in it. I was always the object of intense curiosity and interest from the day in 1982 when I went public with it. It brought back a lot of memories from Charlotte, NC where I ended up after leaving Newport. It reminded me of some of the fascinating things which happened to me as a result of being the first adult human being to take a childhood form of movement and incorporate it into daily life. It is an incredible story if I do say so myself and I may have to get serious now about sharing it with the world.
What advice would you offer to someone who would like to start skipping but is hesitant to do so because it is such an usual form of locomotion?
There are two parts to skipping and both are difficult. The physical part requires that the technique be learned or injury can result – just like what happened to me when I skipped in the Newport marathon and ended up crawling back to the starting line on a cold, raw November day, a mile out on Ocean Drive, wearing white athletic socks which had turned red with blood.
The other part involves my famous statement, “Skipping isn’t a contact sport. It’s an “eye-contact” sport.” If you are not ready to draw attention to yourself, sometimes not necessarily the positive type, then you may need to re-think your intentions. Skipping in public is not for the self-conscious.
On December 26th we were due for a major snowstorm here in the Northeast. I live on a lake. The lake was frozen. I went out before the snow began to fly and walked across the lake, the water was crystal clear. I wished I knew how to skate at that point because it was like a mirror, you could see right down to the bottom and the ice was like glass, not a bump or indentation. Perfect for skating. ALSO, perfect for skipping.
I don’t know what came over me and I quite frankly did NOT care what my neighbors thought. I started skipping back to the shore and across my yard. I was picking up branches that fell from the high winds the night before. I was truly enjoying the most wonderful time acting like the child, you know, the one that is in each of us and yet rarely comes out to play. Mine did that day and she had a great time. Albeit too short, but really fun. I thought to myself, I should do this more often. I am so thrilled to see your site. What a very cool thing to do – I shall think of you whenever I skip and I have indeed been skipping a lot lately.
My skipping reminded me of Phoebe on “Friends” in an episode where she was jogging – just running and swinging her arms. Such a free spirit. I was like that a whole lot more when I was younger – I think I’d like to revert back to that stage of not a care in the world. Living in the moment is great, but really enjoying it and BEING in the moment – PRICELESS!!!! -T.L. in New Jersey
After healing from an injury that caused me to leave my last job, I landed up working in a woman’s prison. I work in the Mental Health Dept. as a Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant. On Thursdays, we go to the gym. We often walk around the gym to warm up before other exercise. I had been skipping some of the distance which the women though was silly. But, eventually, one copied me and found it refreshing and then one more and one more. I wish I could send you a picture of this maximum security facility and the women with felony crimes skipping around the gym. It brings me joy just thinking of how they float along. -NC Skipper, PJ.
We recently caught up with Spokane skipper Patty Sanders after she gave this excellent talk about skipping at Ignite Spokane…and we asked her about the inspiration behind it. Here’s what she had to say…
When did you start skipping as an adult? When my kids were little and we would skip together and I realized how happy it made all of us.
What do you love most about skipping? What I love about skipping is that you can not be anything but HAPPY when you are doing it. It is real live fairy dust. Skipping produces happy thoughts and gives you the thrill of flying.
Do you skip for fitness or for fun? Skip for fun!!! If you skip FOR fitness then you have expectations and then you set yourself up to being let down if the expectations aren’t met to your satisfaction and then you will quit skipping. You skip for FUN you will never stop skipping and you will become fit.
What inspired you to create the skipping talk you gave at Ignite? I wanted to do something FUN and different. Since it isn’t an every day occurrence that you see skippers I figured there wouldn’t be a lot of us competing for that subject matter…and skipping is the most fun you can have…Just thinking about it makes you happy.
My Passion is HAPPY…my motto in life has been “when the fun runs out run with it” but I might have to revise it to “when the fun skips town skip with it”. The reaction to it was wonderful. I was happy to hear how receptive everyone was to it. Many people said they are skippers already.
What would you say to someone who is hesitant/too embarrassed to skip in public? To the hesitant and embarrassed skipper I tell them GRAB a kid and skip with them. I also remind them how happy it makes them to see other people skip…you are doing that for people when you skip…it literally is the greatest public service you can do for your community. It just makes everyone happier!!!
The Crawfordsville (Indiana) High School Swim Team and the Sugar Creek Swim Club both do skipping as dryland work nearly every day, using it to build coordination, rhythm, and harmonic flow. We skip forward, backward, with swimming arms, without, basically any combination we can find. We also skip in the water, doing all of the above and more, including skipping into swimming, which is very cool. We skip for meet warmups, even for this year’s Indiana State Swimming Championship. No one has a clue what we are doing, ha ha, but we just skip away and then swim fast.
Keep skipping! Kent Menzel, Crawfordsville High School Swimming
“I work at a Safeway In Northern California. At work when a customer asks where something is we are required to ask them if they would like to be shown where the item is. Sometimes when they say yes, I start walking a few feet then I will turn to them and ask “Would you like to hold hands and skip? ” ( I must admit I only ask women) Sometimes they say “Yes!” So… off we go, and usually they start laughing and I’ve got a pretty big smile on my face too!! I think it’s fun !! Just thought you might like to know this story. Skip On!”
I have an unusual, but simple story. Doesn’t happen every day.
Last year, I’d started a new job and had to take the bus for a couple of hours to get there. I noticed I was feeling down before I got off the bus and said to myself…”This can be a bad day, or a really great one. It’s my choice!” So I started singing quietly to myself the theme from Legally Blonde, “It’s a Perfect Day,” and skipped across the street as I got off the bus.
I’m 39, so this must have been amusing to the people in the 3 lanes of traffic it took to get to the median. I had to stop there to wait for the other 3 lanes of traffic to get the rest of the way across. I looked to my left and saw a piece of paper on the grass. I assumed I’d dropped a receipt and then looked again and noticed it was money….I thought I’d dropped a dollar as I’m always digging in my purse and bent down to look.
I’m never completely awake until 10 or so, so I thought my eyes were just kinda fuzzy. I unfolded the paper and saw a $10, but continued to unfold it and it was a $100 bill. I really needed the money, as I had just started working and hadn’t got my first paycheck yet. I saved it ’til the end of the day, just in case some one were to come into the office and claim it. No one did, so I ended up with the new shoes and a dress I needed to look presentable for my new job. Talk about Divine intervention! Whoo!
It might seem a little shallow to some, but that is my skipping story. I also encourage friends to skip with me. They all think I’m crazy, which is not far from the truth, but I find that every time I skip, something really great happens! It’s true! -Dawn in Mesquite, Texas