Michelle Joni was inducted into our Hall of Fame in 2013 when she created the magical skipping experience known as Michelle Joni’s Skipping Club that is often seen skipping around different neighborhoods in both Brooklyn New York City.
“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?