Here’s a sweet shot (courtesy of my friend Brent and Yahoo News) of 11-year-old Sofie Schwarz from Denmark attempting to break the children’s world hooping record (85 hoops going simultaneously) in Copenhagen. For those of you who are curious or competitive-minded, check out these other hooping records according to the great online encyclopedia Wikipedia.
Archive for July, 2006
The July 1st hooping station at Glen Echo Park proved to be a ton of super-duper-hooper fun. Curious kids alongside of some hooping-skeptic parents all joined in the hooping joy and learned a handful of basic points to make anyone a successful hooper:
1. The bigger or taller you are, the bigger and heavier your hoop should be. Take note of the large & sprawled out hooper-dog you see pictured. He only wanted to use the really big hoops to show off his skills (prior to tumbling over). It makes sense relative-size-wise that most adults (and some young folks too) are not going to be able to keep up one of the light and cheap drugstore-style hoops of yore. Drop me an email or give me a call if you’re interested in ordering a custom-made hoola hoop that’s oversized, weighted, and beautifully decorated.
2. Start by creating a strong stance on the ground. Sometimes putting one foot several inches in front of the other works well. You may also want to bend your knees slightly, reminding yourself to loosen up and let your whole body into the hooping motion- not just your midriff section.
3. Begin by holding the hoop against the small of your back- making sure the hoop is in contact with your body and parallel to the ground. Your elbows should be fairly close to your torso as you prepare to start your whirling. Give the hoop a little momentum ‘wind up,’ and send it around whichever way you are naturally inclined to spin. If that movement feels super awkward, a solution may be to spin the hoop in the other direction (this is also a great & often challenging move for folks who’ve mastered hooping or any tricks in one direction-> reverse the direction!)
4. Your goal is to make sure that the hoop is in contact with your body (in this case, your waistline) at all times. Try to think about the contact it’s making as it spins around you. Becoming aware of these ‘contact points’ will help you a great deal as you develop your hooping skills and move on to exciting tricks. If you are having trouble rolling your hips in a circular motion, think about and try simply shifting your weight from one leg to the other in a forward-back-forward-back motion. And again, for basic waist hooping, the hoop should remain fairly parallel to the ground (for more advanced maneuvers, you can work on various angles of waist hooping).
5. Troubleshooting: Interestingly, there is much variation in the way people move and look as they hoop. If you are having problems getting the hang of the basic waist hoop- try to alter your movement. For example, if you are wildly thrusting and the hoop falls fast to the ground- tone down your movement and try a ‘less is more’ approach. Conversely, if you are barely moving those hips, get deeper into your hip movement (even try circling your hips without the hoop first to get used to the feeling). If you tend to move your hips solely in a side-to-side or a front-back-front motion, add in a bit of the other direction for a more circular and hooping-friendly movement~
Voila! YOU ARE NOW HOOLA-HOOPING. And if not, do not give up! Keep practicing no matter what, and the movement will soon come enough. Hooping is such a wonderful metaphor for life, because inevitably, no matter how great or skilled we are, there will be times in our lives when the ‘hoop’ will fall… we must simply use it as an opportunity to learn how to recover gracefully and get back into the swing of things~ Remember, everyone has great hooping powers, so KEEP ON WITH THE REVOLUTION Y’ALL!
This Tuesday night, join the Rhythm Workers for another night of drumming and dancing at the fountain in Dupont Circle, Washington D.C. (on the red line of the metro). Music begins around 7:30 pm and lasts until 9:30. Frequently, there are hoopers and jugglers and assorted types of friendly Burner-folk to accompany the musical offerings.
Due to unexpected circumstances, I am having to postpone the hooping classes that were planned to be held at Glen Echo Park in their Hall of Mirrors studio this July and August. However, classes will be held there this fall and winter with nearly the same schedule lined up. Feel free to contact me for more information, or, register for fall classes by calling the park directly at 301.634.2226. Alternately, you may download a registration form to mail or fax in on Glen Echo’s class schedule page.
Produced in cooperation with the Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture, the National Park Service, and Montgomery County, Maryland.
Lately I have been excitedly researching the long and deep history of hooping. It’s no surprise that folks have been using the symbolic circle in everything from religious rites to playtime, & dances to target training throughout time. Some 3000 years ago Egyptians fashioned hoops from dried grapevines and other plant materials to swing around their waists or roll across the ground. In ancient Greece, hoops (made from metal scraps or wood) were used as both a toy and a form of exercise to lose weight. Native American Indians have used hoops in many ways over time. Sacred hoop dances are performed with many small hoops that represent the circle of life with no beginning and no end. Flexible yet stong vines (such as rattan or willow) are soaked until soft to construct these hoops. Some groups of Native Americans have use hoop games (such as rolling a hoop and throwing poles through it as it rolls) to learn practical skills for harpooning and other hunting. In the late 50’s, two toy inventors from the U.S. learned that Australian children used rings of bamboo for exercise, and patented one of the biggest toy fads ever, the Hula-Hoop. The term ‘hula’ was used based on the Hawaiian dance movement it was said to resemble. Out of respect for Hula dancing and Hawaiian culture, as well as in cultivation of a new movement of hoopers, many of us have chosen to drop the ‘hula’ from the hooping altogether, or to change the spelling to ‘hoola’ -reclaiming and differentiating it from it’s culturally appropriating ancestral term. This newer hooping resurgence has sprung up in the last one to two decades (out of the Western U.S.), inspired in part by the String Cheese Incident jam-band (who are known to throw hoops into the audience) and the Burning Man Festival. Hoops from this modern movement are usually large and weighty, made from plastic poly-tubing, and most often decorated with colorful tape. What a history, eh? It’s nice to know that people have been enjoying all the beauty and benefits of hooping for millennia! Long live the eternally lovely hoop~