Monthly Archives: November 2011

Occupy Your Hoop: Hooping and the Revolution

Occupy Toronto: Photo by Kelly Finnamore

Occupy Toronto

[ columnist Casandra Tanenbaum takes a closer look at hooping and the Occupy movement.]

by Casandra Tanenbaum

Whatever your political views and personal opinions on the values or strategies of the Occupy movement, it appears as though the action has made an impression on the public imagination, for better or for worse. It is 1:54 am, EST, and I am sitting at home in Florida, watching live streaming video of Occupy L.A. as the Los Angeles police department line up in the streets under the overhead chatter of helicopters. I have been watching the Occupy Movement grow from the seed of an idea sent from Adbusters magazine to my email inbox many months ago, and have been variably aghast and amazed at the tenacity of occupiers, around the world, to gather in committed action to voice their personal, political, economic and environmental concerns – and hula hoop.

Hang around long enough to snap a photo of any occupation and you’ll likely catch a hoop in motion. Occupiers have hoops and they are neither afraid nor ashamed to spin them in the streets, on the sidewalks, atop vehicles, in parks, around parks, and pretty much EVERYWHERE. As the weeks turn into months, and as fall lurches into winter, I have been wondering about the hoops and occupation connection. What is the function that hooping fulfills in this exceedingly strange ongoing global event?

Occupy Wall Street: New York City

Occupy Wall Street: New York City

First, let me slap my own head. There are hoops-a-plenty these days and in ANY arena where a large group of young people gathers, publicly or privately, amidst drumming, chanting, singing and dancing, we are bound to see a hoop or two. Or twelve. Be it a music festival, a house party or, perhaps, a large-scale public protest styled as an urban encampment. Having said that, what relationship exists between personal expression in hoop dance and the spectacle, power or experience of protest?  What passion for transformation, personal or political, is driving people to Occupy The Hoop?

Phil Jones: The Golden Race

Ashley Jones is the featured hooper in the brand new music video for “The Golden Race”, the latest single from Phil Jones, her husband. The song, which is about a man’s search for enlightenment in a sometimes dark world, has already been picked up by MTV. They live in Kauai, Hawaii, USA.

Pete Moyer Breaks Hula Hoop While Juggling World Record

Pete Moyer, aka Pete The Juggler, has set a new world record for juggling three balls while hula hooping. How long did he last? One-minute and 17.41 seconds. Moyer isn’t a stranger to setting world records either. He currently holds several including Longest Basketball Shot Made From A Three-Ball Cascade, Longest Time To Juggle Four Dinner Rolls On Thanksgiving Day, Longest Time Juggling Three Balls While Lying Down, Smallest Purchase At A Gas Pump and others. The record obviously requires that you juggle and hula hoop at the same time and the time starts when both begin. While you have to juggle three balls, you may use any size balls, though you must juggle in the cascade position. The hoop needs to be continuously spinning around your waist and when either the juggling or the hoop stops, so does the time. He lives in Hillsboro, Illinois, USA.

Nurturing a Hooping Habit

Habitual [ columnist Abby Schwartz breaks down ways for the rest of us to nurture a hooping practice too.]

When announced our Fall Integration Challenge back in October I thought, “Cool, a new 30/30 Challenge!” After all, I had come close to completing the earlier ones, but for one reason or another I did not make it to the finish line. This time I was going to be on board. I had a clean slate and would kick butt. Cut to three days into the challenge and I found myself at the end of the day having failed to hoop for 30 minutes, and instead of just picking up and continuing on the next day in the spirit of getting right back on that horse, I gave up. There is something about obligation that can transform a loved activity into a chore, at least in my experience, and it hasn’t just been about hooping either.

I love to read. I devour books. Yet several times I have tried to join book discussion groups and almost immediately found myself rebelling against having to read an assigned book, even one I would have chosen for myself. With hooping, I’ve noticed that once I got past the honeymoon phase, which lasted a surprisingly long time, “real life” started to tug on me again. While my enthusiasm is still there, my level of commitment to daily hooping has begun to ebb and flow. While I used to hoop every day without even giving it a thought, now my hooping session varies depending on my workload, my family’s needs and how I am budgeting my time.

And yet, hooping is one of the few activities that consistently keeps me grounded. I know from experience that 30 minutes a day, even broken up, of physical activity keeps me from getting too overwhelmed with stress. And that’s on a good day, when stress is coming from positive sources. Hooping adds another dimension to exercise as well. There’s that calming, meditative effect that happens almost immediately when I pick up a hoop. It is rhythmic and soothing and primal, and when I skip it, I notice. It shows up as knotted muscles and cranky moods. My family apparently notices it, too. There are days my husband will ask, “Did you hoop today? You should go hoop for a while.” I know that I want to get back in the hoop habit, but how can I accomplish this without falling into that mental trap of obligation? I decided to explore a little more about habits and how to nurture one.

Stella Mwangi Hula Hoop Single Spins It Up

Stella Mwangi

Stella Mwangi

This summer we told you about Scandinavian pop star Stella Mwangi including a track called “Hula Hoop” on her new album “Kinanda”. Well now she’s released it as a single and the brand new video for it hit the internet this weekend, something that will most certainly impact the Northern European hoopersphere, if not well beyond. Why? For starters, Mwangi is one of the most popular singers in Norway right now having won the Melodi Grand Prix 2011, as well as hit number one on the Norwegian pop music charts earlier this year with her song “Haba Haba”. Perhaps you’ve heard her songs in films or on the television shows “CSI: NY” and “Scrubs”. And then we also have the Mohombi factor. Mwangi teamed up with Swedish pop star Mohombi for “Hula Hoop” – and he just scored a top-ten hit in seven European countries with “Bumpy Ride”. With the two of them together and a video that includes some footage of several as yet unidentified hoopers spinning LED Hoops, the single is bound to spin more people into picking up a hoop for themselves. This is Creme is calling the video “legendary” while writes, “It’s the music and the production that hypnotizes here… it’s a deceivingly catchy little number that burrows its way into your head without being too obvious about it.” Available on iTunes, watch the video below: