Dance the Hula Hoop Polka!
Listen to a sample of the music by Frank Wojnarowski and his orchestra.
I recently unearthed the out-of-print book Easy Going Games by Barbara Sher, MA, OTR. The author is an occupational therapist who uses play therapy in working with children. Easy Going Games, published in 1987, describes numerous games for children that enhance motor skills by using mismatched socks, squares, and hoops. The author’s philosophy regarding educational play supports game facilitators in making their own toys. In this effort, the book describes how to make your own hoop:
“Hula hoops can be used in many more ways than just a moving waist bracelet and can help players enhance a variety of motor skills. If you can’t find store bought hula hoops, it’s easy to make your own by using black plastic 3/4″ pvc pipe available at any building supply store. Cut off 5 or 6 long chunks, and using a coupling or peice of dowel, form them into circles (smear some plastic pipe glue, if you have some, to the ends of the couplings first). A 10-11 ft length makes a nice large size for running through and a 8-9 ft length makes just about the right size for most games. But, feel free to experiment with size.”
There are eighteen hoop games in this book, including such titles as: Leaping Lizards, Ridiculous Robots, Hoop Croquet, Triple Hoop Maze, Foot Hoop, Leap Hoop, Eggbeater Hoop, and Race Car Hoops. The specific motor skills that are increased through these games are indexed in the back of the book. The hoop games are effective in enhancing eye-hand coordination, general coordination, memory, rhythm, motor planning, spatial skills, strength, creativity, balance, cooperation, and eye-foot coordination. The games in this book are ideal for kids in PreK-6 grade.
It is exciting to find an out-of-print book that describes the handmade hoops that modern hoop dancers have an affinity with, and the healing benefits of hoop play.
Easy Going Games: Using Mismatched Socks, Hoops, and Squares by Barbara Sher is available for purchase used through Amazon. Barbara Sher’s recent books include: Spirit Games and Self-Esteem Games.
About a dozen hoopers from the Bay Area got together in Jason’s backyard this week for a brief class on fire safety followed by everybody taking a spin at fire hooping – the majority for the very first time, myself included. It’s certainly a different sensation with the flames licking your body, the heat warming your skin, the sound of the fire swooshing around you hypnotizing all. Jason posted photos from the gathering and many are quite beautiful.
While I’ve often thought about dragging my hoop and a hat down to Fisherman’s Wharf to spin some tricks for spare change, more for fun than for profit, I have never actually gone out and done it. I’ve been inspired though by this story of Emery Carl in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
So picture this: There’s a guy standing on a street corner Hula-Hooping his heart out. He’s 27 years old, stray-dog skinny and 6 feet, 4-inches tall (yes, you heard right: Hula-Hooping). And just as he gets not one but two Hula-Hoops whipping around him like race cars around a track, he begins playing a guitar and blowing on a harmonica simultaneously (and, more importantly, tunefully). (…) Then, as a sort of showstopper, this guy balances the guitar on his chin and begins patting his head, rubbing his tummy and spinning in circles, and all the while the Hula-Hoops keep whirling these mad O’s around his waist. Seattle Post-Intelligencer
While we favor the large over-sized hoops, there are still certain things that you really can’t do with them, like turn yourself into a giant Slinky for example. Here’s a weekend story from The Republican.
Alesia Goulevitch found herself impersonating a giant Slinky on a gazebo yesterday. The native of Belarus in Eastern Europe helped kick off this year’s 17-day run of the Eastern States Exposition with displays of her hula-hoop expertise. At one point, Goulevitch, dressed in a sequined body suit, light fishnet stockings and heels, had 50 hula hoops accordioned across her backward-bending body so she resembled nothing more than an oversized version of the walking-spring toy. Goulevitch, who said she holds the world record for spinning 100 hula hoops at once, said she twirled her first plastic ring when she was 8. She declined to give her age, leaning against a railing after the afternoon performance on the gazebo at Storrowton Village. But she did talk about her technique.
“You start with one and you really have to feel the hoops. I’ve been with this so many years, I try to do more, hoping to do more,” she said. The Republican
Siona LaFrance has an article in The Houston Chronicle called, “Hula-Hoop twirls again” and it’s actually pretty good and features the insights of Betty Hoops.
“You may have thought it went the way of, well, the Hula-Hoop. But hooping — and for those who are serious about it, it’s just hooping, sans the ‘hula’ — is making a comeback as a waist-trimming workout, a movement art and, in some circles, a spiritual exercise. The new wave of hooping brings a new kind of hoop: larger and heavier than the plastic variety that got millions of Americans swiveling their hips in the 1950s. The heftier hoops, say enthusiasts, are easier for people to keep in motion and have more bodily benefits than their flimsier cousins. “It’s not only an immediate workout, where you can burn 100 calories in 10 minutes,” said Betty Hoops, the professional name of a Boulder, Colorado, hooping instructor, performer and hoop maker. “It’s a whole-body experience, very similar to yoga. It puts people back into their bodies, makes them feel alive again. It can really stimulate that mind/body connection.” Want more? Houston Chronicle
Hooping and cycling are two of my favorite things to do. I think both are good for the planet, in their own little ways. However, I have never tried to carry my hoops while riding before. For some reason, I just believed that I couldn’t do it safely, and so I didn’t. I walked or I arranged a ride or I didn’t take hoops.
Tonight, on my way to hoop group, I just didn’t have time to walk. And so I decided that I was going to ride with them, come hell or high water. And you know what? It wasn’t hard at all. As I rode, I reflected on how often we hold beliefs about limitations, whether our own, or those of others, or of the universe… and how often those beliefs are false. It’s a big life lesson, I think. I can’t believe I had never even tried! I was just convinced that it wasn’t possible. How many other things am I wrong about thinking I can’t do?
I think I’ll try hooping WHILE riding, next time. 😉