Inspired by yesterday's intention to emotionally connect with the music during my hoop practice, today I looked up information about dances that serve as story telling tools. My search brought me to kathak dance, a form of Indian classical dance in which gestures and expressions are used during stylized performances to recount a mythological or moral tale.
Facial expression seems to be an incredibly important tool when dancing in this style. So often when I hoop I get caught up thinking about my body, my limbs, the external moving parts - and forget about the most expressive tool a human has - my face. Whether I drop into 'grumpy hoop face' or 'new trick face' I usually have a hard time even remembering to smile when I hoop, let alone convey story telling emotions throughout. I love finding other forms of art or movement and thinking, "hmm maybe I can use that..." and with my next practice I will try and put the story into both my movement and my face.
All these little tools that I have been stumbling upon - the 3 words to describe the practice, thinking of the hoop as a partner, and now conveying a story in both my face and movements - really add something to the practice. Even though at the end of most first trials with something new I am left with a video that is only about halfway there, and usually ...well, sorta awkward, these tools still help to keep me motivated and excited to practice. They really encourage growth in a new way, without having to study endless YouTube videos trying to find a new 'trick.' In a few more practices, who knows what I will keep or where it will go.
Finding a hoop identity sure does feel good, though.