Monthly Archives: February 2012

Centered in the Circle

Hula Hoop Escapade [Guest Blogger Nicole Haley finds the beauty in the center.]

by Nicole Haley

Last night I started re-reading Muriel Barbery’s, The Elegance of the Hedgehog. One of the two central protagonists in the book is an extremely intelligent and incredibly disillusioned 12-year-old girl named Paloma. Paloma is surrounded by privilege and endless striving. She is convinced life is absurd and has no real meaning: “People aim for the stars and end up like a goldfish in a bowl.” And so she makes a plan to kill herself on her 13th birthday. But at the same time, she sets herself a challenge to keep two journals – one for the mind, in which she writes profound thoughts, and one for the body, to record tangible aesthetic beauty – “things that, being the movement of life, elevate us.” After all, she says, “if there’s something on this planet that is worth living for, I’d better not miss it.”

Paloma’s first entry in the “Journal of the Movement of the World” reminds me of hooping and the potential we have to spin inwards and experience a deep and restorative calm. I remember watching hoop dancers and experiencing this sense of peace. I wanted what they seemed to have. It’s why I started hooping. In the book, Paloma is sitting in the living room while her father is watching a rugby game. Usually she’d scarcely look at the television screen, but something about a player on the opposing team entrances her. It’s not about his physical size or his athletic skill – though they are both considerable. What is so captivating about this player is the way he is moving.

Paloma explains: “…when we move we are in a way de-structured by our movement toward something: we are both here but at the same time we are not here because we’re already in the process of going elsewhere …”. This player was different …”he was moving and making the same gestures as the other players … but while the others’ gestures went toward their adversaries and the entire stadium, this player’s gestures stayed inside him, stayed focused upon him … that gave him an unbelievable presence and intensity.” In the hooping world, some might refer to the state described above as “flow.” But it’s more than that. I’ve watched hoopers like this with movement so liquid it appears they are gliding to a transcendent state.

Manic Focus: Circles with Lisa Lottie

The brand new music video for “Circles” by Manic Focus features someone who knows all about circles – Lisa Lottie. Her extraordinary circus hooping talents paired up with impeccable production by Digital Skylight and, well, we can honestly say this gave us chills. Manic Focus is based in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Lissa Lottie is currently based in London, England, UK. Download the song on Soundcloud. A Video of the Day.

Chi Chi Revolver on Bargain Hunt

Chi Chi Revolver and her father, Fred, were recently contestants on the BBC television show Bargain Hunt in the UK. The premise of the show is that two teams of amateur collectors have an hour and £300 to acquire the best bargains at an antiques fair. Host Tim Wonnacott then calculates the ups and downs when their purchases are sold at auction – but that’s not really important. What is important is that Tim turned up with 30 hula hoops to surprise the hoopstress and she went for spinning all of them, to the amazement of Wonnacott and viewers alike. She lives in Worthing, England, UK.

Hoop Church Spins Up Community

Hoop Church

Hoop Church

On Sunday afternoons at Hot Mama’s Cafe on East 6th Street in Austin, Texas, a group of people gather for what they call “church.” There’s no choir, pews or sermon — instead, a large amp plays dance music while men and women with big smiles greet each other while performing both simple and intricate dance moves with hula hoops. Culturemap Austin reports there is a pastor; Michelle Amaranth, an ordained minister also jokingly called the “minister of hooping.” Like a more traditional church, a sense of camaraderie and peacefulness pervades the space and newcomers are welcomed with open arms. Hoop Church, as it’s officially known, has been hosted by Hot Mama’s for two years and it has existed in other spaces for at least three years prior to that. From fitness to circus arts to meditation to choreographed dance, the hooping community in Austin embraces a diversity of desires to pick up a hoop. Bethany Lynn Corey got into hooping because, “I needed some kind of artistic release and hooping offered me that. I found a great community of people and that keeps me passionate about it.” When asked why so many others are becoming passionate about hooping, she says, “It takes a lot of people back to their childhood in a really fun way and you’re allowed to play as an adult.”

The Kinetics of Hula Hooping: Do We All Hoop the Same?

spinart [’s Editor Philo Hagen gets kinetic.]

by Philo Hagen

Little scientific attention has been paid over the years to the complex task of hula hooping. That’s why the Sensorimotor Neuroscience Laboratory at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, decided it was time to do something about that. To counter the lack of data, an investigative team set up motion-capture equipment to track in detail the gyratory hooping movements of a set of three accomplished hula hoopists. The kenetic researchers set out to study and measuring the rates of chemical or biochemical reaction. While the low number of subjects participating in the study makes the findings a little suspect, their research is still fascinating to hoop geeks like us. The analysis of their results, published in the journal Human Movement Science, show for the first time that hoopers utilize slightly different methods of invoking and sustaining our hula hooping oscillations. If the study can in fact be translated to to the masses, this would mean that all of us hula hoop just a little differently.

Conducting a biomechanical analysis of lower limb joint coordination during hula hooping, the team set up a lower extremity inverse dynamics model that incorporated kinematic input and force platform data that was developed to compute the angular velocities, moments about and powers produced at the lower extremity joints. Amazing, right? They discovered that abductor moments and powers proved to be really important in one’s ability to hoop and maintain hooping oscillations, something shown to be true in all three participants. However, further analysis of their hula hooping also showed that there were variables between all three of them in terms of involving the flexor and extensor moments and powers of the ankle, knee and hip joints, variables that ultimately result in the adoption of varying hula hooping strategies by each of the three participants.

Hoopin': The Trailer

The latest from Ivan Panda Productions is a trailer for a (we are assuming) make believe film called “Hoopin’. In a world of professional hula hooping, one man dared to dream of winning the championship. Skip is gonna need all the help he can get to beat the reigning champion hoopster, Hoops Mc’Gavin, so he enlists the help of the best trainer around. For those who enjoy this as much as we did, check out the deleted footage as well. They’re from Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA.