Monthly Archives: September 2005

My Experience Hoopdancing at Nightclubs: Part II

I have done 21 nightclub performances since part one of this article and have learned a LOT! (63 five minute sets in all .. wow) I am sharing this to open up a dialog about hoop performance, so I can also learn from you, too! I hope my experiences encourage you to think about hooping at a club near you as a way to activate your own practice or hooping career. I won’t repeat anything from part one of this article which was already published here, but you may want to read it first.
In this installment I’ll speak to: booking gigs and contracts, rates, how to get club gigs, when you don’t feel like performing but have to, dancing, photographers, led hoops, dealing with a crisis on stage, bad music, fans, presentation skills and tools to improve your shows. This is a long article, but worth it. Read on!

The Group Hoop

bay area hoopers

The very first time I hooped I did it on the back patio at a party with friends and I’ve preferred doing it with others ever since. Every Sunday afternoon for the past two-plus years hoopers have been coming together in the Bay Area to get our groove on, teach one another new tricks and collectively take time out from life’s little problems to spin ’em aside with the centrifugal force. We had a blast last weekend at Willard Park in Berkeley, and the week before at the new Hayes Green in San Francisco – the site of the David Best gazebo. The lovely and talented Vicki emailed me tonight from Vancouver to let me know that she’s working to get a group hooping together up there. What can I say? The more, the merrier.

Hooping, Fire, and Elitism

I ask this question to those of us who started hooping within the last couple years: what kind of community would we have if some of the true grandmas and grandpas of hooping were proprietary about the hoop? What if these people, rather than teaching playshops and sharing hoops, begrudged those who were excited by the hoop as encroaching on “their thing.”
I think new hoopers are some of the best hoopers they are – as my own hooping practice waxes and wanes over the years, I find myself consistently inspired by new hoopers. People like Dawn here in Seattle, who just started hooping in June. She’s now Seattle’s most enthusiastic hoop group organizer and hoop zealot!
It’s interesting to compare the rise of hooping with the rise of another spinning toy: poi. Specifically, fire poi. I wrote an article a few years ago about how stagnant Seattle’s fire spinning had become and then a year later I interviewed Anah in Los Angeles and asked her to compare hooping and fire spinning.
Anah articulated for me something that makes perfect sense:
Fire spinning thrives off an inherent certain elitism. Part of the appeal of fire is that it is dangerous and seems difficult. Not to discredit the art and passion that goes into my dear friends’ fire spinning, but I think even they would agree with me that it’s not as inaccessible as it first seems. The ever-increasing numbers of fire performers speaks to this fact as well.
Hooping, in contrast, is by its nature VERY SIMPLE. Anyone can do it — young, old, scrawny, large, muscular, woefully out of shape, whatever. ANYONE CAN DO IT. There’s no manufactured danger or elitism with hooping. There’s no safety measures to learn. Its joy is in its accessibility. The joy lies dormant in everyone.
To then get greedy with the hoop, to hoard the experience in the name of your own ego, feels like a misunderstanding of what to me is at the center of the circle: this joy is anyone’s. It’s everyone’s! Doesn’t the world need more joy?
To those who enjoy hooping for its newness and its novelty, please understand that your enjoyment won’t last long. At we get queries from national journalists on average once a month. Hooping has been written about in the NY Times, the SF Chronicle. It’s everywhere and its only getting bigger. You can’t own hooping. You can’t keep it for yourself. You’re bound to become very frustrated in a very short period of time, because I’m telling you: hooping in 2005 is like poi in 1999. The trajectory is the same, and if you lost interest in poi when it got popular, you’ve doom yourself to a pretty short attention span for hooping.
I realize I’m coming off as harsh and condemning here, and for that I apologize. I guess I would just encourage those who hoop because it’s cool or unique to examine your own motives and ask yourself if you’re really learning everything that the hoop has to offer — or if it’s just another trendy toy to play with until it bores you.
And to those just discovering the joy of the hoop: WELCOME! We need you. Make hoops. Share hoops. Spread the revolution!

Call for hooping videos! is proud to announce the official 2005 Film Festival! So get out your camera or dust off your playa footage and send it on in!
You can submit raw footage or make your own mini-movies. It’s surprisingly easy to do with just a digital camera and a PC. Most digital cameras have a movie function and self timers if you want to shoot yourself. For those with Windows XP you can use Windows Movie Maker which is hidden in the Accessories file (or you can download it). It is very intuitive and makes editing a snap; add titles, music, transitions, etc. I made this video in an afternoon and don’t forget Ariel’s hooping classic “Getting it up.”
The deadline for submissions is October 1st, so ya better hurry! We’ll be showcasing the submissions in a hooping film fest after they all pour in. Get your Hoop on!
Here’s the technical stuff…
Server space and bandwidth is limited at, but has offered to host the files and provide direct links. If you can host it yourself, that’s even better.
Send your links or files to The attachment size limit is 10mb, so nothing gigantic unless you can ftp the file.

Hooping with bruises

There’s a great discussion over on hooping.tribe today about hooping with bruises.

Yikes. So I’m a beginner hooper, and after two plus hours of happy hooping yesterday, my waist is blue and black! I’ve employed some of the suggested remedies (arnica, ice etc.) But I’m wondering what you veterans out there suggest: should I keep hooping today and for all days despite the pain (and perhaps therefore toughening myself up?) Or should I take a break till the bruises subside.

The overwhelming response (which I agree with absolutely) is that if you’ve got bruises from hooping, take a break! Bruising isn’t like a sore muscle — you can’t stretch it out by hooping more. Give yourself a few days off, or try hooping on different body parts until the bruising and inflamation goes down.
And a reminder: bruising will decrease as your skills increase! When you’re first learning how to hoop or mastering a new trick, you’ll be battered and blue. But as your body learns how to move with the hoop, the bruising will go away. We promise!
Also, here’s another post about hooping and bruises.

Hoop Dance Fusion DVD

Aspiring hoopers everywhere can rejoice! Diana Lopez, of, has released the first comprehensive instuctional hoopdance DVD. In Hoop Dance Fusion, Diana and a cast of hoopers demonstrate warm-up exercises, hoop basics, knee hooping, shimmying, transitions, hand hooping, and the hoop orbit. There are lots of fun hoop videos that demonstrate how to create your own creative hoop dance with the foundational movements of hoop dance.
I appreciate the balance on the DVD between the instructional hoopdance techniques and ample footage of hoopers getting creative and dancing. In the free-style hoop footage, the cast is hooping in a park, by a pool, fire-hooping on the beach, and Diana performs a tribal-style hoop performance. I loved seeing both men and women hooping in this video, and hoopers of varying ages all smiling and grooving.
At a few moments, while watching the instructional hoop class, I thought that new hoopers might get discouraged with seeing the graceful agility of Diana performing techniques when they try the techniques for the first time alone in their homes. Diana performs with ease, moves that I remember struggling with for weeks. Sometimes it takes lots of practice and persistence to master a move. Then I watched my absolute favorite part of the DVD: the outtakes. I know that novice hoopers will have faith when they see that even experienced hoopers drop the hoop in the bloopers.
In the very special outtakes, you get to watch Diana and the hoopers fumble their hoops, throw their hoops, and bonk themselves. Sometimes everyone drops their hoop to the group simultaneously. Diana adjusts her clothes, and even accidentally hits the cameraman with the hoop during a close-up. It’s fantastic! It completely humanizes hooping.
In learning to hoop everyone drops the hoop, and by editing a video of hooping, those human elements can easily be glossed over. I really appreciate that Diana choose to add those human elements, because having a sense of humor and learning through the process are essential elements of hooping. I recommend this DVD to anyone interested in hooping for fitness, creative dance, or to just have fun.