Monthly Archives: September 2003


I was trying to explain to a friend how hard it is, once you’re used to dancing with a hoop, to go back to dancing with just your body.
The best comparison I could come up with is that it’s like when you’re dancing to drum ‘n’ bass, and all of a sudden someone puts on a house record. I like both, but jeez: the transition between the two is difficult.
I feel almost naked dancing without my hoop now.

Hooping in Berkeley

bah: martin luther king fountain

Bay Area Hoopers gathered at Martin Luther King Park in Berkeley today. It turned out the Thai Music and Crafts Festival was gathering there as well. The soundtrack of the day proved interesting with the occasional Thai vocalist making an appearance in the background of our breakbeats. It was also the hottest hooping day ever recorded. When Cinthia and Missy got there they couldn’t find us all sitting in the shade cooling our jets. God bless Min Jung and her water mister. Jason brought a few new hoops he made this morning that ended up going home with the hoopless, like today’s BAH newcomer Marta – who had previously hooped with Aimee and Donovan and I at Burning Man. Vera had her sister Bianca with her, visiting from Germany. Amy totally delivered in the new tunes department with the Antibalas music everybody liked.
Eileen, who picked up a hoop for the first time with us a few weeks ago, is already hooping like a regular – even knee hooping. Katie, hooping with us just as long, dazzled all of us on her back, on the ground, hooping on one foot. Soon we were all flat on our backs. For a lot of us including myself last week’s knee and leg work continued – and today it paid off for me big time with A) the worst hooping pain and array of developing bruises I’ve yet experienced, and B) that next knee step accomplishment of knee hooping, removing one leg, hooping on one leg, then sticking the leg back in trick. Does anybody have a name for that? Donovan picked it up shortly thereafter too. All of this, in my opinion, speaks volumes to the beauty of hooping with others. I think we challenge one another in a way that wouldn’t happen hooping alone. We also teach what we’ve learned, we progress faster and we continue growing.
We’ll be hooping again next week, and if you want to know where check out our list. Happy hooping!

A Few Tips on Leg & Knee Hooping

Interested in doing some simple below the waist hooping? There are tons of tricks to do with your legs and knees once you get these basics down so mastering these basics are really worth the effort. When teaching students how to get to hoop going around their knees, I tell them a few important hints to help them along their way:
1. Try to imagine your knees as your hips, just as your left and right hip have to move the hoop now your knees have to.
2. When the hoop is moving from your hips to your knees, speed up your hoop. You need to go a bit faster to catch the hoop around your knees because you are working harder against gravity.
3. Initially I tell them to put one foot a bit in front of the other, try to have the hoop hit just above your knee-cap on the forward foot and and just above your calf on the back foot.
4. It is going to take a bunch of trying before you get it right.
5. To get the hoop back up to your waist, as it goes around your knees, lift up one knee to “hand” the hoop to your thigh or waist.
Time to practice!

Leg and foot hooping

At today’s BAH gathering at Dolores Park, we started to incorporate a lot of legs and feet into our hooping routines. Hooping with your legs and feet can be daunting at first because, as with every limb, you have to re-learn how to assume control over the hoop. Additionally, a lot of leg tricks require the hoop to be off the body, at least temporarily, and this is something that can really disturb a hooper’s comfort zone since there’s nothing like the hoop pressing against your torso to make you feel all warm and fuzzy and secure.
But once you overcome those barriers and relinquish control to your legs and feet, you can have a lot of fun! Below are some tricks that BAH members practiced today.
Here is Philo doing the knee hoop. Both Philo and I first saw Christabel do this at the Moontribe ten year anniversary in June. We were utterly impressed. Philo has now mastered this trick, and I am utterly jealous.

Amy got really into the Rockette move today. She threw her legs up in the air, left, right, left, right, passing the hoop underneath the leg each time.

This is a perfect example of hoop trick recycling. Seth today showed us a trick that Ariel had taught him at Burning Man. It involves sticking out your leg and rolling the hoop on your foot for about a fourth of a rotation before passing it back to your other hand. Jason extended this trick by bending his knee and using the foot to guide the hoop all around the back side of his body before passing it back to the same hand that placed the hoop on the foot.
Finally, here is myself doing a trick that Jason taught me today. You start out with the hoop on your hand above your head. You lower the hoop to about your waist but don’t put it back on your body. Step/jump out of the hoop one foot at a time, then bring it back around. At first I was tempted to switch hands but that isn’t necessary.

Foot and leg tricks are a lot of fun! Once you dare, you can’t stop.

Hoop rack

My roommate Joe had the most brilliant idea: He thought that I should build a wall rack to hang my hoops on. So far, I had always leaned my hoops against the wall in the hallway, and now that I am up to six hoops, they were taking up quite a bit of space, and sometimes they even fell over and blocked the hallway completely. I definitely needed a better solution for hoop storage.