This first video is a short snippet of me trying out a few things when I first started hooping. It seems like a million years ago, but was really only about 3 or 4. That big green hoop was one of the first I had ever helped to make and I still have it today.
This second is from earlier in the week. My goal here was not to perform a bunch of tricks or show off all i could do - it was really just to be in the moment, listen to to the music and move as I was feeling (and as my very, very small hoop space would allow - you’ll hear me crash into something more than once.)
Watching these two videos I am struck by so much. One, everyone starts somewhere! Don’t worry about being clunky or silly! Two, I am so much more at ease with myself now. I am not afraid of the camera - and pretty much forget about it - and my clothing, movement and expression all reflect much more confidence at the outset.
That doesn’t mean it’s not scary. Sharing something about which you care deeply is a very difficult thing. In the first video, any rockiness or mistakes I look at as sweet, and with some nostalgia. In the second video, the mistakes SCREAM out to me, making my face burn with embarrassment that someone else might see me making a mistake.
Then I start to think about that scene in Back to the Future, when Michael J. Fox is chatting with his future father in the school cafeteria. George McFly is an avid Sci-Fi author, but never lets anyone read his work because “what if they don’t like it. i just don't think I could handle that type of rejection.” Of course, in the beginning of the movie we see George has lived a life ruled by fear. The alternate ‘happy ending’ has him having shown his work, fear and all, and ending up a successful author.
Who wouldn't want to read that?
If you haven’t seen the movie, or don’t know what I am talking about (really? TBS shows it ALL the time, come on now) the take home message is that it is very hard to put something of yourself out there, but you have to stand up to fear or you will never get the opportunities for which you are waiting.
You can’t wait for it to be easy, or for the time to feel right - just move forward and go for it! Maybe in another 4 years I will look back on this and chuckle at where I was today - but, for now, I am glad that I feel good enough to try, to put myself out there and embrace the opportunities that are created when you stop worrying about what anyone else thinks.
Strongly emotional and powerful songs can create very successful practice sessions! Otis Redding’s fervent sincerity results in bursts of energy, long pleading notes, and slow builds to an emotional apex. These rhythms create the need to move at differing speeds and styles throughout your practice.
Using songs like these is a great way to play with scale throughout your practice. Make the moves you already know big and small as the tone changes by standing and sitting and keeping the hoop close to your body and then extending your limbs when the tone changes.
Try to think that if you video taped your practice and someone watched with the mute button on - they would still have an idea about what kind of song to which you were listening!
This was done with an LED Juggling Ball at night. It was fun (and more of a challenge than I expected) to draw out the letters before the camera finished capturing the image. Good thing I have a short name...haha
Leg hooping is a fun and much requested move - but, it can definitely seem daunting at first! There are lots of great videos to assist you in learning new hoop moves, but everyone's learning style is different. I have always liked written directions in front of me when learning something new. I find my mind can connect to my body much more easily if I have a narrative it can follow. In case you are like me - here are some detailed directions on how to perform some hoop basics! Leg Hooping:
First isolate to which direction you naturally hoop. I hoop to the left, meaning that when I launch my hoop I give it a push to the left to begin.
This is important, because once your hoop is down at your legs the leg to which your hoop is moving (in my case, left) will be the ‘propeller leg.” This means that it is the one moving to keep the hoop spinning. Your other leg will stand still acting to steady you as you hoop.
Begin waist hooping in your natural current.
Slow your movement down and you will notice the hoop drop to your hips and then to your thighs.
When the hoop is at mid thigh begin moving your propeller leg very rapidly in small circles.
Wait, that’s it? Uhm, Kym, my hoop totally fell...
That’s okay! The move is simple to break down, but there are many ways the body can react to these instructions. Here are a few trouble shooting tips if your hoop keeps dropping:
Remember to keep a narrow stance. When you are making circles with your propeller leg, make sure that your knees are close together, even gently grazing each other with each revolution.
Tempo is important! If your hoop continues to fall it is most likely due to your speed being too slow. Each time the hoop hits the front of your propeller thigh say the word “now” aloud. Even if you only get it going one or two times, you will notice just how quickly your leg needs to go to maintain the hoop.
"Knee hooping” is a misnomer - if you are actually hooping directly on your knee it is very difficult to maintain the spin. It also hurts! Start propelling your leg at mid thigh - start higher than you think you need to until you get the feeling for the move!
Circles people, circles! Is your leg jutting forward before the hoop has made contact with your propeller thigh? Are you performing a kicking action, more than smooth, small, quick circles? You can notice this if your hoop “jumps” each time it seems to come around. You can hear (and feel) a thud on your leg indicating your movement may be too early.
Glue your foot down - later you can walk while leg hooping, but in the beginning, so that you are not tempted to kick out, envision gluing your propeller foot down while creating the circle. Your foot may be pointed, but your toes should always remain in contact with the ground.
Give it a try! What do you notice? How many times can you get the hoop around without it dropping?
Blockhead has some of the best instrumental hip hop out there. Great for chilled out flow sessions or high energy trick work. The whole album is awesome, but one of my favorites is the title track - check it out !
So often I hear from new hoopers after they have mastered waist hooping, “What’s Next?” There are SO many tricks out there - and sometimes jumping into something way too complex can sort of kill your hoop mojo. The best way to stay inspired, and progress: build on what you know, have goals, and PRACTICE!
Where to Start: Move with your Hoop!
First you should build on what you know - which, at the very beginning, is waist hooping. So, keep your hoop a’spinning and take small marches and steps from side-to-side. As you march lean back slightly as you lift each foot to feel your low abs engage and help maintain balance. This move will help get you used to keeping the hoop up while your body is moving in space. An added benefit? A pretty awesome low ab workout remember though - this is FUN first and exercise second!
Have goals, but keep them reasonable and helpful! Beating yourself up for not getting something won’t help. Don’t think of success as marching all around town with your hoop spinning - take one or two steps. Then, four, six and so on. Soon you will be walking with your hoop and ready for the next step!
An ambitious way to build on waist hooping.
Where to Start: Your First Trick
Okay Kym, I'm marching with my hoop, but I'd really like to do something... cool. I feel ya. “Wow Factor” tricks are super fun. They take more work and practice - but they are worth it!
A good trick to learn as you are getting started is ‘the vortex/beam me up.’ Its a great way to remove your hoop from your body to end practice and do something that looks interesting and complex!.
Vortex with LCD Hoop.
Pretty Much everything involving a ribbon of lights has some Wow Factor.
I learned from the amazing Caroleeena, who has helped many a hooper learn new tricks with her detailed, clear, and excellent instruction.
(We also get to see her awesome birdie, Mulder, who I love instantly for the X-Files reference.)
Why do you hoop? Is it the same reason why you started hooping. Though hooping is awesome exercise, I feel like folks who start it to lose weight and then never find a passion beyond that seem to become more frustrated than those who find more connection with the hoop. In one of my teaching journeys I had a student who, no matter what the activity, always asked - and what will this work? Will this get rid of my hips? Will my arms stop jiggling?
It was difficult. I wanted to say - no your hips will stay put! They help keep the hoop spinning. Keep going and you may find that you dont mind them so much. Hooping should help you find and embrace who you are, not be a force for disguise.
Acceptance is an amazing thing. People have often said that they can’t do this or that move because they “have too many curves” or “that hoop is so small that i could wear it as a belt,” “it’ll get stuck.” etc. Okay. So why not try it out and find your way of doing this. I think few of us have something that we don't, now and again, wish was different. But whenever I find myself going there, I actually start thinking about dogs.
But yes, dogs. I think. What if I was born a dachshund, with a long slinky torso and short legs. (wait, this is pretty close to me...hmmm). Would i stare longingly at a large poodle’s curly fur, and long legs? Would I always wear big giant shoes, a fuzzy wig - ? No. Because I was born a dachshund, not a poodle. It may sound crazy - but humans somehow think that even if they were born a dachshund, they must look like a poodle. Why? We are all human, but the sizes, shapes, personalities - they are different.
Find your style. Embrace your level. Keep trying - but be you! Somehow, the hoop has helped me to do this. This is just my style. Don’t be afraid of yours. Find it. Look for it. Be yourself. Be inspired and find your passion.