What is Hooping?
Hooping is an emerging form of dance that uses more durable hoops then the popular Wham-O kid toy, the hula hoop. Learning how to hula hoop is just the beginning! Hooping is also often referred to as Hoop Dancing. This movement is growing in popularity by incredible numbers as people pick up the hoop for all kinds of different reasons. Some love it for the childlike memories that is relives, others enjoy the physical connection and enjoy the health and exercise benefits of the hoop. Regardless of what brings you into the hoop, we can all agree that hooping is a fun filled activity that will leave you smiling. The hoop itself has a long history, which pre-dates the 1950s hula hooping fad by several thousand years but the use of larger hoops and the fusion with dance is dated around the early 90’s.
Where did this style of hooping come from?
Many veteran hoopers attribute the band The String Cheese Incident to the resurgence of hula hooping. The band was known for throwing larger, adult-sized hula hoops into the crowd during their shows to encourage guests to dance and move to the music. One woman in particular is credited as the mother of contemporary hoop dance. Anah “Hoopalicious” Reichenbach has been hoop dancing since 1997 and she was one of the first ever professional hoop dancers as we know them today. Anah has spoken of some of her first years as a hooper and that for a long time people would just hoop on the waist and integrate dancing. Over the past two decades hooping has seen a tremendous growth in popularity and has developed into a dance with a constantly growing variety of new moves.
Below is a copy of Anah’s first hoop demo. Watch closely to see how freely and comfortably she dances within the hoop. This video also includes footage of Rayna who started the company Hoopnotica.
What size hoop do I need?
When hoop dancing first began it was recommended to start with a much larger hula hoop. Beginners would start with a hoop that was around 42 inches or more in diameter! The larger size of the hoop will make it rotate slower and allows more time for you to react and respond when learning new tricks. Using to small of a hula hoop will make learning on body core hooping INCREDIBLY difficult. To measure what size of hoop might work for you, measure the height somewhere between your belly button and your rib cage. If you carry extra weight in your mid section you might find it helps to add extra inches to the size of your hoop. Buying from someone locally will allow you to test out several sizes or making your own allows you to make a range of sizes to find the one that’s comfortable for you. If you are more interested in learning off body moves (where the hoop is in your hand) you can use a much smaller size and a much lighter hoop but ultimately if you want to learn to dance comfortably with the hoop on your core (knees, waist, chest) then practice with a large hoop to begin with and as you feel more comfortable you can decrease your hoop size until it’s perfect for both on and off body hooping.
Are bruises normal after hooping?
Yes. Bruising is very common for beginners using big hoops. This can be for several reasons, one is that you may have a large and heavy hoop to help your learn to hoop. Overtime you’ll likely progress to a smaller and lighter hoop which will then cause less bruising. Another reason for bruises has to do with experience. When first learning it is common for hoopers to make mistakes, move awkwardly and cause the hoop to move aggressively instead of smoothly across the body. As you improve your flow you’ll gain control and the hoop with run smoothly reducing bruising dramatically.
Where can I buy a hoop?
Specially made hoops can be purchased through a number of retailers who sell hoops online. Check out our advertisers in the sidebar or do a quick Google search to see if there is a hoop maker in your city. Also try searching for a hoop shop on Etsy. If you are interested in making a batch of hoops, also check out www.Hoopologie.com for tubing, connectors, tape, and other hoop making tools.
How do I fly and travel with my hoop?
Check out our article on Traveling and Flying with your Hula Hoops
How do I make a hoop?
If you’d like to make you’re own hoop, check out our tutorial page on How to make a hula hoop.
How to Hula Hoop?
Some of us haven’t Hula Hooped since we were children and we might not even remember how to hula hoop. It’s not as easy as riding a bike. Go ahead and put one foot in front of the other, standing with your feet shoulder width apart. Begin by holding the hoop against your back at your waist, pull the hoop to one side and then give it a good even push all the way across your front. Keeping the hula hoop at your waist is not about rotating your hips in a circle but is more about shifting your weight from foot to foot. Sometimes even choosing a “leading” hip can help, as you pop that hip slightly forward every time the hoop comes around. If the hoop starts to drop, bring your feet together and begin rotating your pelvic area. Bend your knees and lower yourself, speeding up and rotating to scoop the hoop back up to your waist.
Where can I learn hoop dancing?
Just learning how to hula hoop is only the beginning of a beautiful and fun hoop journey. Everyone learns differently and there are lots of different ways to learn hooping. Some people teach themselves, some people buys DVDs and some take classes to get them started. If you like a class format and enjoy learning alongside a teacher we recommend checking out the online courses provided by HoopingClasses.com These online classes are similar to a DVD with pre-recorded lessons but instead you can view streaming videos online, download and post questions directly to the class instructor.
What should I wear?
Wear clothing that is comfortable and stretchy so you can move freely without being constricted. Natural fibers can be better because they are less likely to be slippery. Wearing pants or tops that are silky or smooth will cause the hoop to slip off your body easier so try wearing natural clothing that has some grip to it. As well wearing sleeveless shirts can be helpful when learning moves like chest hooping. If you have an empty house for the afternoon we recommend hooping in the buff, at least once. Not only does it feel great to move freely but your hoop will stick to bare skin better than anything else. Just remember to close the blinds. ; )
What are the benefits of hooping?
There are all kinds of physical and emotional benefits to hoop dancing. Hooping can hel build core strength, tone your body and works as a great cardiovascular activity. The best thing of all is that hoop dancing is a low impact exercise that can be done by people of all ages. Many experience hoopers will admit that hooping works as a means of meditation, to help calm the mind and forget about the day’s stress. Hoop dancing can open up the body to new ways of movement and encourage us to dance our own dance.
Will hooping help me lose weight?
Many hoopers have experienced changes in their bodies due to hoop dance. With daily practice, a balanced diet and with an uptempo hooping workout, hoopers can expect to see the benefits of adding hoop dance to their daily physical activity.
How else can I get inside the hoop?
Another way to get more involved with the hooping community is to start a local hoop jam and help others who want to learn how to hula hoop. Creating a jam will help you to connect with other hoopers in your area OR to turn some of your friends into hoopers so you can all enjoy the journey together. The most important thing to remember about hooping is that it can be so much more than just a fun activity. It can change your life, it can change your body and it can teach you how to be the person you want to be. It isn’t just about learning tricks or being the best, hoop dance is an opportunity to connect with your body and connect with others in the community.