Friday night I did a little hoop performance with Kara at a party here in Seattle. As I’ve written about before, I have somewhat conflicted feelings about hoop performances, and I was thinking a lot about some of my issues while I was preparing for the performance Friday.
Here’s the thing: when I’m playing with my hoop, part of the fun is trying new things. Can I catch it on my foot and toss it over my shoulder? Can I throw the hoop up, and then step through it? Chances are that the answer is usually, “No, I can’t quite do that, but it’s fun to try!” If I’m dropping the hoop and falling all over the place, that means I’m stretching and playing and trying new ways of moving.
But in a performance, you don’t want to drop the hoop. You want to show people the best that you can do, and for me, that all too often means playing it safe. Who wants to drop the hoop when people are watching? (Side note: I started my hoop performance by dropping my hoop before I’d even gotten started, so clearly I jinxed myeslf.)
So during performances, I tend to find myself playing it pretty conservative. Which is nearly as much fun.
I also find that some of the things that LOOK the coolest don’t feel like much of anything from inside the hoop. For example, on Friday I tried laying my hands on my hips, palms in, as I was hooping around my waist. It was so simple that I’m not even sure it qualifies as a trick. Basically, the hoop was rolling over the outside of my hands while I just hooped normally around my waist — but according to friends who watched the performance, the effect was somehow super booty-shaking, and it got the biggest response from the crowd…despite the fact that I’d already done step-outs, foot-carries, and other more complicated tricks.
The moral of the story? When I’m performing, I’m focused on what LOOKS cool. And for me, the funnest aspect of hooping is that it FEELS cool.
I know there are a lot of hoop performers out there — I’d be curious to hear other’s thoughts on this.