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We came whirling
out of nothingness
the stars made a circle
and in the middle
trans. by Daniel Liebert (Cedar Hill, Mo.:Source,1981), 11.
When hoopdancing, the hoop whirls around the body’s axis, and the velocity of the spinning keeps the hoop aloft. I love spinning with my hoop, that is whirling my body while the hoop is also whirling around me. I find spinning, both of the hoop and my body, to be deeply peaceful and centering. The practice of whirling is utilized in numerous sacred dances around the world, most notably by the Sufi dancers, the Whirling Dervishes.
The easiest way to spin while hooping, is to spin in the same direction that the hoop is spinning. Spinning in the same direction as the hoop, allows you to perceive the hoop spinning slowly around you. While the hoop is still spinning at the same speed it ever was, your simultaneous spinning allows you to observe more details of the hoops whirl.
Rotating your body/axis in the same direction your hoop is spinning makes learning tricks, especially hand tricks, way easier. When spinning, you perceive the hoop to be moving slower and thus have more time to complete the move, and bring more grace and flow to your dance. If you spin fast enough, you can catch the hoop on a chosen part of the body (i.e. the low back, shoulder, hand) and whirl together at the same speed.
Spinning in the opposite direction as the hoop is slightly more challenging. I find that I like to make multiple little steps in the opposite spin, rather than one big gliding spin, that I might use when spinning in the same direction.
My favorite way to spin, is to spin with my hoop in one direction, then change directions of the hoop, and spin with the hoop in the opposite direction. That way my hoop and I spin in both directions together, bringing balance to the dance, and performing advanced moves is a lot easier.
We can observe that while the Earth spins around the Sun, the Sun also rotates upon it’s own axis, and the planets and the Sun all rotate and orbit in the same direction (counter-clockwise when viewed from the north). As hoopdancers we too can whirl on our own axis (our spine) while the hoop spins around us.
bruised!, originally uploaded by not halfway there.
Here’s a lovely specimen of hooping bruise. Many hoopers get bruises just like this one on their hips — but only at first. As your body learns to anticipate the hoop’s movement, you tend to get less bruising. To read more about bruises and hooping, check this article or this one!