Community

Thailand’s Hoop Jam Love Tribe

Love Tribe Hoop Jam Hoopers in Thailand gather on the beach in Haad Yuan and Ko Phangan for a weekly local hoop jam hosted by Francie Fishman, Nolita Ananda and Deon Abruzzo. Filmed by Johnathan Gilbert, it’s all about celebrating their “love of play” with the circle and this video that was mostly filmed using drones basically looks like we’re going to a giant beach party full of hoop action – with donations going to a local charity. Francie and Nolita live in Ko Phangan, Surat Thani, Thailand, while Deon lives in San Francisco, California, USA. The soundtrack for this is “Cirkus” by Gramatik and it’s available for you to download over on iTunes.

Welcome to Hooping.org 6.0

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It’s Hooping.org’s 12th Anniversary and to celebrate we’re spinning up a whole new revolution with Hooping.org 6.0. Just as we’ve done every two years since we began, we took a biennial step back to rethink, revisit and reimagine. We hooped and meditated on how we could be doing it all even better, and then we hooped some more. While it’s taken a long time to get here, twelve years to be exact, we know we couldn’t have done it without you too. Thank you for this special moment. From our little blog started by a few friends who’d just discovered hooping and made it their mission to share the joy and wonder of it with the entire world, to celebrating this beautiful and truly global hooping community that encircles us a dozen years later is amazing indeed. We couldn’t be more grateful, and we couldn’t be more inspired.

Back in 2003 we never could have imagined we’d be ever be seeing 2.3 million hits a year, but we are. We’ve learned a lot along the way, hit some highs, spun a few lows, and today we are here, clear and stronger than ever. We’re so excited about Hooping.org 6.0, and excited about the future. Here’s why:

Get to Know the High Country Hoop Troupe

High Country Hoop Troupe Ana Caicedo and Anna Norwood are both students at Appalachian State University and they’ve taken their spinning their love of hooping on campus and finding and building their tribe. Creating the High Country Hoop Troupe, we get to know members of the troupe as they hoop and talk about their love for it and their need for community – with Mackenzie Palladino, Barbara Roberts and Sara Lou Davis. They meet at 3pm on Fridays on Sanford Mall at the University in Boone, North Carolina, USA and the soundtrack for this is “Crave You (Adventure Club Remix)” by Flight Facilities, which you can add to your playlist quite easily on iTunes. Want to get your campus hooping? Here’s more advice.

Check Out the Very First Welsh Hoop Convention

Welsh Hoop Convention Ellie (Elliecoptor) Pilott of Ellicoptor Hoops and Esther Fuge of NoFit State Circus recently hosted the first ever Welsh Hoop Convention in Cardiff, Wales, UK. A day long intensive of hooping workshops with instructors including Lisa Lottie, Miss Polly Hoops and more, this video gives all of us a glimpse into the happenings at WHoopC, and some beautiful insight into the hooping community in Wales.

A Hula Hoop World Record Attempt in Toronto

activia1 by Liz Frederiksen

What do you get when you mix a hoop dance group, a corporate sponsor, and a lot of enthusiastic, but freezing cold Canadians? Record breaking magic, that’s what! Hundreds of hoopers recently took over Toronto’s Yonge Dundas Square to beat the world record for the largest hula hoop workout. According to Guinness World Records, an impressive record was set two years ago with 407 people, but Toronto area hoopers were not about to be intimidated.

I arrived at the event 15 minutes into the designated sign-in time, thinking I would have no trouble getting in. Instead, I found a nice long line up that stretched down the block. Registration was a bit of a hassle because of the waivers we had to sign, but there was a world record to break, and a free hoop for the effort, so I didn’t mind. Activia, the aforementioned corporate sponsor, decked the Square out in green, white and yellow, and they erected an incredibly large tent canopy as well. The organizers had an ingenious color coding system of squares on the pavement to help us stay properly spaced out and fully counted by our team leaders for the world record attempt. Once settled at my designated spot, it was time for the fun to begin!

Mandy Harvey Mandy Harvey, Sugar Hoops founder, and instructors Amy MacCutchan, Colleen Costello, Scarlet Deamon and Tomoko Couture, showed off their crazy hooping skills to get the crowd psyched up, as if we weren’t already. Mandy then led everyone in doing a warm up to get ready for our world record moment of glory. I was near the stage, but I kept turning around to see the rows upon rows of people behind me all following along. It was quite a rush to be part of something so big, and Scarlet told me afterward that it was incredible to see everyone moving in unison from the stage! What also amazed me was that Mandy, many of the instructors, and their friends and family, had made and taped all 500 of the hoops on hand for the day. I couldn’t even begin to imagine how much work was involved.

activia2 For our big moment, the announcer explained that she would sound an air horn and we would follow Mandy’s instructions for five minutes, at which point she would blow the horn again and the record would hopefully be set. Up to that point, the day had been quite lighthearted, but once that horn sounded, people really focused. Mandy took the crowd through some basic drills including waist hooping in both directions, stalls and isolations. When the horn sounded for the second time, I’m convinced the workers in the neighboring high-rises could have heard all of us cheering!

While it took a few days to determine whether or not we had indeed broken the world record, eventually the news came that we did not. Mandy shared that “only” around 380 hoopers participated. She noted, “I feel that we certainly did our part and pushed our limits and were more than successful especially considering how cold it was outside.” While the World Record attempt was a great rallying point, to me the real success is that hundreds of people got introduced to the joy of hooping. The camaraderie and enthusiasm, punctuated with many “aha moments” as people figured out how to hoop, could not be beat. I expect I’ll be seeing those green and yellow world record hoops in Toronto parks all summer long.

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lizfrederiksen Contributor Liz Frederiksen was a rhythmic gymnastics performer with Ritmika in the ‘80s/‘90s and participated in the SkyDome (Roger’s Centre) opening ceremonies and Argos football halftime shows in Toronto. After two decades away from rhythmics, she discovered hoop dance and is having fun learning the on-body skills to go with her off-body tricks. She’s a social media consultant and lives in the GTA with her husband, cat and growing collection of hoops! She’s on Twitter and Pinterest.

A Hoop Jam in Costa Rica

hooping costa rica Everyone is smiling, laughing and having a great time spinning it up at this hoop jam in Costa Rica. This short but sweet little video from Hoopnosis Costa Rica does a great job of capturing the fun spirit of a hooptastic get-together, and one hooper’s fantastic rainbow hoop fits right in as he rocks some on-body hooping. It all happens in San Jose, Costa Rica, and the soundtrack for this is “Atrevete Te Te” by Calle 13, and you can snag a copy for yourself over on iTunes.

It’s Time For More Hoop Love In Our Community

Hoop Love by Philo Hagen

We’ve been having an ongoing conversation in the staff lounge here at Hooping.org about the current state of the hooping community for awhile now. We’ve seen things that have disturbed us, and we weren’t really sure what to do about them. We’ve heard even more that have kind of made our skin crawl too. We’re not the only ones. Sharna Rose recently shared on Facebook, “Hoop life on the Internet is starting to repulse me. I sound old, but I remember a time when it was beautiful. I watch debates rise and fall, childish arguments escalate, more sex and money than love. Its becoming like false Gods causing wars between factions. It’s just a plastic circle. Oh dear how blasphemous I am.”

We love Sharna Rose, and we remember a time when it was beautiful too. And yes – it is just a plastic circle, but then again, it’s so much more. Back in April of 2003 when hooping.org began, there was very little about this thing called hooping online. I’d attended a party in the San Francisco Bay Area where Jason Strauss had handed me a large adult-sized hoop. Giving it a spin, I was transported out of my head and into my body. Being fully present inside the center of my own rotation was exhilarating! Once home, I scoured the web for information. I found out Hoopalicious was teaching classes down in Los Angeles. I also found Betty Hoops, who was teaching in New York City and sharing about some of the amazing benefits. That was essentially all that was out there though. Knowing that the world needed to know more about this super cool thing called hooping, a few of us got together and hooping.org was born. We arrived before Facebook, YouTube, even MySpace, and we’ve been keeping things spinning ever since.

When the site began we had community forums that not only proved to be invaluable, it’s where we all initially found each other. Baxter, Spiral and Stefan came rolling in. Anna, Babz, Bunny, Caroleeena, Christabel, Diana, Kandice, Kara, Lara, Rayna, Sass and many more spun in as well, and it really was a beautiful time. We were all in one place and we were so excited to find other people who loved this hooping thing as much as we did!

Hoop Love Now let’s talk a little more about this hoop love thing, shall we? You gotta remember that the roots of the modern hooping movement all trace to The String Cheese Incident, a bluegrass meets rock and electronica hippie jam band from Colorado. They began tossing these large adult-sized hoops out into the audience at their concerts in the mid to late 1990’s. Some of our hooping luminaries mentioned above discovered hooping at one of their shows, and once hooping.org’s forums launched a community began. Some of those same awesome hoops and hoopers started showing up at raves too, and at places like Burning Man, which in turn inspired more to step inside the circle. Whether we were hippies or ravers or burners, however, we all had one thing in common. We were all very liberal and pretty much rooted in a place of love, something that simply came along with our love for the hoop and our fellow hoopers. The Hoop Love was pretty much a given, it’s who we all were.

Two years later, hooping.org’s forums were hacked and everything was deleted. It was a sad day when we discovered our hosting company had never made those promised weekly back ups either, so we relocated our hooping community to Tribe.net. Many who were around back then will recall that time as the true renaissance of the modern hooping movement. And yes, my dearest hula hoopers, hula hoops were still something your grandma played with back then. Hooping was something new and different, and our dropping the word “hula” brought a language that helped conveyed that. Hula Hoop trademark lawsuits tossed at some by Wham-o really helped cement that philosophy too, even if we did end up falling in love with all of our hula hooping friends along the way too.

The Tribe years were golden, loving and supportive. We were still all in one place. The community was small enough too that if you saw someone at an event with a hoop, you either already knew them online, or you had six friends in common. Everything was going so well, until Tribe.net started collapsing. There were major outages, sometimes for days or weeks at a time. They’d gone from a staff of 35 down to a staff of 2 and when the second to last person handed in their resignation, I started working on bringing hooping.org’s community forums back, using an ill-fated software called Elgg. Meanwhile, SaFire and others started their own business rooted communities on Ning. Elgg was very cool, an entirely open source social networking package by the people for the people. It was all just so gosh darn politically wonderful, how could it go wrong? Well, it did, and after hooping.org’s Elgg forums folded back in 2010, we tried it again with a different software system that also ended up becoming problematic. We had to shut the second one down two years later as well.

Our hooping community on this brand new thing called Facebook, however, was growing by leaps and bounds. We thought we’d just stay there and at the height of it we had nearly 8,000 pretty active members – and then we were thrown another curveball. Facebook decided to kill off all of their existing groups, forcing everyone to move over to something new they’d developed – Pages. Tired and a little defeated at the time, I personally came to the conclusion that maybe hooping.org just needed to forget about the whole community thing. It was our third strike, even if it was through no fault of our own. Maybe enough was enough.

Since that time Ning too fell out of fashion. Pinterest and Instagram rose. Newer Facebook groups have tried making something happen in an effort to serve up a yummy slice of community. Some have been more successful than others. As for the community as a whole, however, we’ve really been all over the place – and the end result has been leaving a rather bitter taste in our mouth. We mean nobody any harm or discouragement in saying so though. In fact, we whole heartedly salute everyone out there who has been trying to make something happen. We have nothing but applause for all of them because we know first hand just how much work it can involve. It’s the primary reason we’ve been hesitant to step back into the community circle with a solution as well – until now.

hooplove In light of recent events we’ve all come to an agreement that it’s time to help bring the community norm of hoop love back, before we see it disappear once and for all. It’s been such an important dynamic within our community, and it’s one we here at hooping.org do not want to lose. We all deserve to be treated with love and respect, to receive support and encouragement in our hooping journey, to be lifted up on our path. That’s why we lined up the launch of our new Facebook community group with the stars themselves to help guide us along the way. Whether you’re astrologically inclined or not, humor us.

Uranus and Pluto have been battling things out over the last few years. There’s been a lot of struggle and disharmony as a result. They had their final tense battle on March 16th. Today, however, is not only the first day of Spring, a day of perfect balance between light and dark that promises more light in our lives in the months to come, it is also a new moon that brings with it a total solar eclipse. This eclipse in Pisces is one to purge hearts of sorrow and welcome greater happiness back into our lives. They’re calling it an 11:11 Portal, and what can we say – we do love our portals! That’s why we’re inviting you all today to step on through and join us in resetting the hoop love norm in our brand new space on Facebook, and everywhere else that you are currently spinning things up online and off. Our new Facebook group is an inclusive hoop love space for all, a place to grow and meet and become friends and hoop it up. It’s also a place where we can lovingly let people know that what may be okay somewhere else, really isn’t here, so can collectively celebrate this thing we all love so much. Our entire staff is stepping up to help admin the group because we collectively saw that this was something that really needed to happen. So won’t you join us? We’d be happy to have you in the mix.

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Having been at the helm of hooping.org for so long, I know that I see and hear things that most never know about. With that sometimes comes a unique perspective, and a rather paternal one. I care about this movement, how it started, where we’ve been, and I really care about where we are going. Let’s have that be a place that everyone who finds the circle will want to step into and really be a part of.

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Philo Hagen Philo Hagen is the Co-founder and Managing Editor of Hooping.org. He’s been spinning things up online and off since April 2003. Co-Founder of the Bay Area Hoopers and LA Hoopers hoop groups, Philo has performed internationally and has won Hoopie Awards for Male Hooper of the Year and Video of the Year. He lives in Los Angeles, California, USA.

Curvy Hooper Challenge 2015: Our Winners

curvesness2015b by Philo Hagen

Earlier this year we put out a call to all of the curvy hoopers out there to turn on their video cameras, step inside their hoops and spin it up for greater curvy hooper visibility. Yay! Our quest was officially underway and so many hotties shared their gorgeous hooping awesomeness online that we can’t even begin to share them all with you. Yes, you rocked our world and we couldn’t be more proud of and grateful for each and every one of you. Are you ready to see some of them in action? Good, because we can’t wait to share these too.

There was a little extra added incentive to the challenge as well, some prizes to give away. One lucky hooper would spin away with an “Everything But The Bed” pass to Hottie Hoop Camp 2015, the body-friendly hoop gathering taking place again this year in Surfside Beach, Texas, USA, on March 26-29, 2015. Hottie Hoop Camp is hosted by Blythe TwoSisters and Rowan TwoSisters of Punk Rock Hoops and we thank them for their amazing generosity. And a first runner up would also receive a brand new custom-made glamour hoop from Hoop Mamas too. So who are our winners? Answer: Everyone who participated this year and the whole community for having all of them be a part of it. We all give thanks to these hoopers for helping us ensure hooping represents and is inclusive of everyone. As for the incentives, it’s time to present our most noteworthy and favorite Curvy Hooper Challenge videos and we whole heartedly invite everyone to give all of these amazing women a whole lot of love and support in our comments, on their pages and more.

Join Our Inner Circle

Join Us! Hooping.org has been spinning the world wide web for 11+ years now and what you may not know is the site is almost entirely volunteer driven. We’ve got a wonderful team of hoopers that are making things happen, and like hooping itself, it’s a lot more fun when you’re sharing the journey with friends. Hooping.org is currently looking to expand our inner circle a little further too, so if you’ve got some free time and you’re interested in helping us spread the hoop love around the globe, consider joining our team. With more than 2 million hits last year, there’s no better place to do it and we’ve got a few volunteer hooportunities you just might want to spin your way into.

Writers: Have some thoughts and ideas you’d like to share with the hoop community at large through the written word? Or, don’t really have topics, but simply love to write and have a gift for gab? Hooping.org is currently expanding our team of writers. Your goal would be to write two pieces for the site each month, one that is a topic of your choice, and one that is assigned. A minimum of one piece turned in per month though is required. While a little blogging experience and rudimentary html knowledge is helpful, talent for the written word can supersede that and we can help with the rest.

Video Content Editors: Do you love watching hooping videos? How would you like to have a major voice in deciding which ones make it onto hooping.org? Our Video Content Editors get to be the ones sharing videos and tutorials with the hoop community. So if you’ve got a keen eye, a little writing talent, and some free time on your hands to help us share the coolest hooping stuff out there, consider coming into our inner circle. A little blogging experience is helpful, but not required.

Photographic Content Editors: Do you love photography? Do you spend a lot of time on Instagram looking at hooping pictures? We’re adding a new Photo Editor to help us find the most awesome hooping pics out there and share them with hoopers everywhere. Want to have a voice in figuring out which photos make it onto hooping.org and serve them up for all to enjoy? It’s necessary to have photo editing software and some knowledge of how to use it. Most Macs come with a great little program called Preview we can teach you to use too. Some rudimentary html knowledge/blogging experience for this one is helpful as well.

Hooping.org has one part-time paid staff member, so without volunteers we can’t keep this website spinning and we’re excited to have some new faces joining the team and helping us carry the message of hooping. Why? Because hooping changes lives! It’s a powerful tool for personal transformation, the best core strengthening exercise experience there is, a fun way to not take life so freakin seriously, and a dynamic circle for artistic creativity and self expression. You may not know it, but hooping.org is really helping to make the world a better place and you’re most cordially invited to join us in our mission. Just send us an email via our contact page and let us know what you’re interested in doing, what your applicable skills are (if any), where you’re located, how long you’ve been hooping, and what your availability is. Again, experience is great, but enthusiasm is required. We look forward to hearing from you and thanks for considering joining hooping.org’s inner circle.

It’s Our Annual Hooper Valentine Exchange!

2015valentine Here at Hooping.org we’ve been all about spreading the hoop love since 2003, and with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s time to announce our annual Hooper Valentine Exchange is on again this year. Would you like to have a hooper valentine in your life? Would you like to be a hooper valentine for someone else too? If you answered yes to both of these questions, that’s great – because participation in the exchange only works both ways. In order to get some hoop love, you’re going to need to give some hoop love. Here’s how it works.

Send an email to hoopervalentines@gmail.com before 10 pm PST on Tuesday, February 4th, 2015. Include your full name and your current mailing address so your valentine will be able to send you something. Your address and email will not be used for anything else, pinky swear promise. Then, on Thursday, February 6th, check your email because you’ll be receiving the full name and mailing address of the hooper valentine you will be sending some hoop love to this year. See, you give, you get. Pretty cool, right? And, if you’re at all absent minded, or if you’re not someone who checks their email regularly, be sure to mark your calendar or leave a note on your mirror – to remind yourself to find out on February 6th who you will be sending your hooper valentine to this year. Then, on Friday, February 14th, Valentines Day itself, we’ll be doing something new this year. We’ll share the list of our Hooper Valentine participants and who had who this year, and we’ll be inviting everyone to share little hoop love stories about their participation.

You see, in previous years, while the exchange has been super fun and quite a success, we have ended up with those hoopers every year who sent some hoop love, but didn’t get any in return. That doesn’t feel good. So, by making the participants list public and inviting people to share about their experience, we hope that will really strengthen everyone’s commitment to following through. So don’t ask to be included in our annual Hooper Valentine Exchange if you’re not fully committed to sending some hoop love to somebody. Cause this year we’re all going to know who our valentines are, and HEY! The real joy is in the giving anyway!

To help facilitate lower mailing costs and speedier valentine arrivals, we will do what we can to make smarter valentine connections geographically by country, or continent if need be. We may wind up with a hooper or two ending up with a valentine that lives far away, but we’re working to avoid that scenario, while being inclusive of everyone who wants to participate. The only requirement to participate is a desire to do so and a commitment to doing your part to make it happen.

So, what does a hooper valentine look like? Well, it could be something hand-made or store-bought. It could be something super extravagant or beautifully simple. It’s really all up to you. Whatever you want to send them. Just be sure to pop it in the mail with adequate time for it to get there before Valentine’s Day. Then, as Valentine’s Day approaches, keep an eye out for some hoop love coming your way too.

If you’re committed to the exchange this year, that’s fantastic! Yay! Send the email and you’re in. And please help us out by spreading the word about the Hooper Valentine Exchange too so we can spread even more hoop love to even more hoopers this Valentine’s Day than ever before. Hoopy Valentine’s Day everybody!