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How are your hoops different than hula hoops?

My hoops are larger, heavier and more durable than the hula hoop you might be familiar with. Their size and weight make them much easier to use than mass-produced hula hoops, and they will last longer and be more fun!

Why start hooping with a big hoop?

Since hooping is more about dance, fun and creative expression than gyrating frantically to keep a small hoop going, bigger hoops are always easier to start with. Most people (ages 8-82) of average size will be able to keep a typical starter hoop (between 41-43 inches diameter) going with ease. People who are more generously sized in height or width, or have accumulated tension or blocks in their bodies may want to start with an even larger hoop and/or one weighted with water. Bigger hoops are groovy, easy, massaging and relaxing. I make smaller, lighter hoops for children, though most kids 8 and up can use the average 'adult' size. Feel free to contact me with any questions and see also the Hoop Store for more info.

Where do you get your hoops?

I make them by hand, assembling both the circle itself and decorating it with specialty tapes. The result is a durable, beautiful toy/tool that is a world apart from the flimsy rings (ie. Hula Hoops™) you might find at the store.

What are your hoops made out of?

My hoops are crafted using a base of durable pipe used commonly for plumbing. I order specialty fabric and mirror tapes from around the internet to create functional and beautiful designs that look striking both in & out of motion and provide excellent grip and traction.

But your hoops are so small, can I just start with a small one and start practicing from there?

It has taken me years of practice to create a smooth flow with a small hoop. Smaller hoops require a much faster reaction time and have a dramatically smaller window of space to execute movements. They lend themselves well to a fast, dynamic performance pace and level of hoop dance. In the beginning, you will learn MUCH faster by starting with a larger size, getting comfortable with movements inside their more generous “window of opportunity” and then moving down in size, if that suits your style. Many of my students end up using two or more hoops to have different options for learning and rhythm.

How do I actually start hooping?

Get yourself a properly sized and colored hoop and put it around your body, like you might have done when you were a kid. Feet slightly apart and one in front of the other seems to work for many folks. The hoop should be against the small of your back, hands gripping it lightly on either side, keeping it relatively parallel to the ground. From whichever direction seems natural, give the hoop a playful, firm and self-assured push and get it in motion. The motion of your core should be relatively elliptical, circular, but some people have more luck with a rocking forward and back at first. Your movements to keep the hoop going may be more pronounced in the beginning, they will become more minimal with practice. If you absolutely cannot keep it up, a larger size and/or the addition of weight- via a small amount of water- will add both ease of use and increased physical workout.

One of the fundamental moves when starting hooping is the Stall; that is, while the hoop is going around you, you begin to turn in the same direction as the hoop, with the goal being to synch up the rates of turn so that the hoop seems to “stall” and actually stops on a part of your body for some amount of time; initially most often on the small of the back. Being able to perform a Stall not only feels fun and looks neat, it also slows down the hoop's spin and keeps your window of opportunity for movements open longer. This move can add both flair and ease to lifts and other plane transfers.

How do I get it up the body with no hands?
That looks so cool!

We call that “chi hooping” and, as easy as it might look, is one of the more difficult things for most folks to master, as it involves a quick series of sending and receiving movements up and/or down the body. Stalling, as described above, can help to “cheat” it up a bit.

Start by getting deeply familiar with the rhythm of your hoop, everything grows from there. You cannot be too firmly grounded in core/waist hooping- in both directions. Core hooping is the foundation, the rhythm and the groove. Don't rush past the experience of truly gaining command of the hoop's rhythm on your body in favor of getting to “the tricks” right away. It will all come with time and PRACTICE. And getting deeply into the hoop's rhythm- the timing of the hoop's window of opportunity- is the best practice in the beginning, and the gateway to meditation, pe*A*ce, bliss.

Chi hooping, like many of the more advanced moves, is directly related to hoop “flight time”- that is, the amount of hours you have actually spent with the hoop going around you. To approach flow and grace, you can't get around flight time, so have fun with the journey and your time in flight will naturally unfold your own style, expression and skill.

Where did you learn how to hoop?

Most of my hoop dance and movement is self-taught and originates in self-expression, experiencing divine connection with the circle and lots of familiarity with its rhythm. Most of my “hoop life” has been spent in Carrboro, NC; a small, quirky town relatively isolated from the more sizable hoop communities on the West Coast and in NYC. From my travels, I have had the blessing of seeing many hoop styles from across the country and trading “tricks” around here and there. In Jan. 2004 I made the pilgrimage to L.A. to have the wonderful experience of learning from Anah Reichenbach aka. Hoopaliscious, who inspirationally introduced me to angle hooping, fun fur, and the joys of a serger.

Outside of my personal practice, a large portion of my hooping 'flight time' has been spent sharing daily hoop practice space, two years of co-teaching and several years of community building with my dear friend, Jon Baxter. Hoop teacher and visionary behind The Hoop Path™. Something magical happens when we hoop together; the channels open up in us in a powerful, exponential way. I have endeavored to take my work farther afield in recent years, but am forever grateful for the years we had together.


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