Monthly Archives: July 2011

Mat Plendl: Inside The Hoop

Mat Plendl

Mat Plendl

by Lara Eastburn

Mat Plendl could very well be the most incredible, jaw-dropping hooping performance artist most of you have never heard of. So why hasn’t he shown up as brightly on our hoop-star radar? Because he’s been around for a lot longer than we have. That’s right, Mat began performing with hoops in 1972 at the age of ten. Foot-hooping, duck-outs, jumps, kick-starts, hooping with twins and multiples — all the moves we know, love, and aspire to — Mat perfected them with unprecedented precision and made them his career over 30 years ago. In the 80’s he was a four-time favorite on The Johnny Carson Show. He toured for 15 years as a top NBA half-time show attraction. Today, he counts over 50 television appearances and stars regularly in the acclaimed Teatro ZinZanni show in San Francisco, California. I gave Mat a call this week to get his incredible story first-hand. And – no surprise – I got schooled.

Remember our article about the legendary origins of modern hoop dance from back in January? Well, my hooping friends, get ready for the mind-blowing Prequel! You’ll want to settle in (and be sitting down) for this peek into everything we didn’t know about the beginnings of modern hoop dance.

Robin Rapture Hoops Up New Hampshire

Robin Rapture The Nashua Telegraph in Hudson, New Hampshire, reports that things are spinning up there as well. “She’s turning heads and hips with her hoops. Robin Ann Peters (pictured), known on the hula-hooping circuit as ‘Robin Rapture,’ is changing the way people exercise. She started a business called Hoopium, making custom hoops, teaching classes in the new exercise craze and performing. The latter comes easy for Rapture, as it runs in her family. Her grandmother danced and influenced her stage presence.” The piece on Robin includes video that you can watch below:

Hooping and Weight Loss

Happy Woman Holding Scaleby Philo Hagen

Back in the early days when we started hooping I must admit that we weren’t really interested in fitness. We were just out there doing it because it was fun, because we wanted to play, because we wanted to dance, because we wanted to express ourselves. The whole hooping for fitness thing actually turned out to be a bit of a surprise. But when people who hadn’t seen us in awhile said, “Wow, you look great, what have you been doing?”, it started to become apparent even to us that hooping could be a great tool for getting in shape too.

Over the years the fitness aspect of hooping has, rightly or wrongly, become increasingly predominant in the public eye as well. In my early years of talking with the media about the return of the hoop it was rare for a reporter to ask about fitness. Over time, however, it became rare for them to ask about anything else. It seems to me that there are loads of people out there in the world that really want to get in a hoop and play, but they can only allow themselves to do that or take time out for it if they have a practical reason for doing so.

How many calories do you burn hooping? Can you really lose weight with a hula hoop? Will hooping whittle my waist down? Do I need a heavy hoop to shed some pounds? Hooping.org gets numerous emails with questions like these daily. The short answer is that hooping is really great for fitness. The longer answer, however, is a lot more complicated.

Fox News Denver Discovers Hooping

Danielle Odette

Danielle Odette on Fox31 News

Fox31 in Denver, Colorado, tuned into Danielle Odette of Hoop Horizon and The Spin Summit, reporting that “What was once a kid’s toy is now Danielle Odette’s bread and butter. You might even say she is jumping through hoops on her way to success. ‘I teach hooping,’ says Odette. “Hooping allows us to express our unique individuality,” she says. “The hoop brings out and empowers people to be creative.” But unlike most art forms, hula hooping requires a good deal of stamina and coordination. “The more time I spend in the hoop, the more I’m connected to it,” Odette says, “and the more I activate different muscle groups.” She says getting started is easy; all you need is a hoop, hips and a little help. Check out the full news report video with appearances by Nick Guzzardo, Gail O’Brien and Maegan Wilson below – it’s a good one: