Tag Archive for Casandra Tanenbaum

Hoop Jealousy Doesn’t Spin Very Well

jealousy I like to think that my energy while hooping is always light, bright and full of fun, that hooping is nearly always a pure, wholesome experience of flowing connection between myself and my moving circle.  I like to think that the hooping world is a blissful bastion of angelic interactions, somehow separate from the human ills that plague families, friendships, communities and our world at large.  Alas, casting a wary, sheepish glance around my psyche I notice that there lurks a gloomy goblin, wielding my weakness as a weapon, working feverishly to convince me I’ll never be as good a hooper as THAT one over there.

OOOOOhhhh. Jealousy.

Do you know the feeling?  Even if you have convinced the world of your impervious nature, once or twice you’ve been bit by the jealousy bug.  We all have.  For some of us, it is what started us hooping in the first place, a feeling of: “I want THAT for myself, what ever THAT is.”  I remember the first time I saw another hooper, she seemed to have one specific flow of movement, and it was so wildly different from anything I ever did that I felt immediately diminished in her presence.  Lacking the luster of her specific movements, I turned my envy into fuel for my practice, trying to retrofit my spinning into an alien, albeit tantalizing, combination.

While I was able to wrest some positive power from the scenario, I quickly found that riding this particularly sticky emotional wave doesn’t always lead me to the promised land of blissful flow.  In fact, the pattern can be deceptively sadistic: left unchecked my thoughts lead me through a labrynth of brambles, from “WOW! That’s cool, and it looks like fun,” to “I want to look like HER/HIM/THEM” to “I’ll NEVER make it look as smooth as they do,” to “I’m a loser, no-good, ugly waste of space!”  The path can take hours, minutes or even seconds, but it almost always leads AWAY from joyful fulfillment, not toward it. Worse, as I’ve practiced over the years, the “jealousy” pattern can lose traction to become “hoop snob,” a wholly different monstrosity, though they are cut from the same cloth, manufactured by an evil corporation selling the brand “I AM NOT ENOUGH” in every flavor under the sun. And it’s all lurking right there under my bushy eyebrows.

Truth be told, there can be a devastatingly thin line between “hoop crush” and “hoop envy/snobbery.” And yet they come from opposite sides of the universe in terms of emotional energy!  When we admire a member of our community for brushing up against ultimate perfection for THEM, we are exalting in our individuality and cheering ourselves forward toward aesthetic excellence.  On the other hand, we can easily TAKE the spotlight for ourselves, to either magnify our faults and invite the world into our private pity party, or to blow our miniature successes up to epic proportions in an effort to get others to give us the credit we keep refusing to give ourselves.

Within each of us is a rockstar hooper grasping for mastery, however we each define it. We can fool ourselves into believing otherwise, clinging to mimicry and shallow praise, letting our own psychic goblins have their way with us. Or we can shadow-box our way to the sublime fruits of pleasurable movement, shedding our caustic self-sabotage camouflage.  We can practice from EITHER end of the emotional spectrum at any time.  The choice, of course, is ours.  For my part: I am learning to adore YOU and MYSELF simultaneously, and it is getting easier every day I practice.

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Casandra Tanenbaum Casandra Tanenbaum has been spinning hoops and words for years at Hoopsofly and Florida Poetry Events and now she’s even getting people in shape with Hoola-Fit. If you’re in the great state of Florida, you know Casandra. She lives in Lake Worth, Florida, USA, and is the organizer of the annual Florida Flow Fest.

Top Ten List for April 20-26 2014

Top Ten List It’s time for our weekly Top Ten List where we count down the top ten most buzz worthy posts of the past week (as based on reader response), starting things off at number ten and working our way up to the number one spot of the week. What was hot in the hoopersphere this go around? It’s time for us to find out. Here’s Hooping.org’s Top Ten List for April 20th – 26th, 2014.

10. La Gatoun spun up a super sweet illustrated hula hoop story with music by Sphinks: Spinning Childhood Dreams of Hula Hoops (182 Points).

9. Meg Amor made her hooping.org debut and it proved to be a beautiful smash: Introducing Meg Amor (187 Points).

8. This stunning photo made a lot of readers pretty freakin happy – Fire Hooping in the Mountains with Nolita Ananda (204 Points).

7. Our own Matthias Elliott schooled us in his new video – Ghosts and Vocabulary in Isoland with Matthias Elliott (208 Points).

6. Coral Jade spun up a new hula hoop demo that is a total winner: Circus Hooping with Coral Jade (221 Points).

5. Our top photo post featured Cameron Doss Hooping at Coachella (282 Points).

4. Casandra Tanenbaum examined the five elements and how they relate to hooping style – Five Energy Hooping: What’s Your Element? (296 Points).

3. The results of Classic Rock Week on Hooping Idol 4 were revealed – Hooping Idol 4: Classic Rock Week Results (379 Points).

2. Our highest rated video of the week featured Hooping Idol judge Ayumi Mitake – Ayumi Mitake: Hoop Dance with Cherry Blossoms (444 Points).

1. And at number one this week with a bullet was Classic Rock Week – Hooping Idol 4: It’s Classic Rock Week! (1,581 Points).

Top 5 Features

1. Hooping Idol 4: It’s Classic Rock Week! (1,581 Points).
2. Hooping Idol 4: Classic Rock Week Results (379 Points).
3. Five Energy Hooping: What’s Your Element? with Casandra Tanenbaum (296 Points).
4. Spinning Childhood Dreams of Hula Hoops with la Gatoun and Sphinks. (182 Points).
5. Hula Hoop Fitness Spins World Wide Exercise Fun with Philo Hagen (176 Points).

Top 5 Videos:
1. Ayumi Mitake: Hoop Dance with Cherry Blossoms (444 Points).
2. Circus Hooping with Coral Jade (221 Points).
3. Ghosts and Vocabulary in Isoland with Matthias Elliott (208 Points).
4. Introducing Meg Amor (187 Points).
5. Kaleida Kinetic (155 Points).

Top 5 Photos:

1. Hooping at Coachella (282 Points).
2.. Fire Hooping in the Mountains with Nolita Ananda (204 Points).
3. Beth Lavinder in Bali (138 Points).
4. Hoop Love with Benjamin Berry (115 Points).
5. Peep Style Hula Hooping with the Easter Bunny (101 Points).

That’s our Top Ten List and Top 5’s for this week and remember if you see something you appreciate here (or on any of our social networking sites), it only takes a second to “Like” it or leave a comment and share the hoop love, and you get to make someone’s day while you’re at it. YAY! Each like, share, note or comment is worth a point in calculating our weekly Top Ten. And with that, we invite you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest if you’re not already doing so and we hope you had a very happy hooping weekend everybody!

Five Energy Hooping: What’s Your Element?

5elementalhooping by Casandra Tanenbaum

I’ve been looking backward over my hooping journey and noticing the twists and turns (pun intended), the inspiration and perspiration that have all contributed to my practice and craft. While building a path publicly outward, bringing the hoop into the spotlight of my life by performing, teaching classes and workshops and creating large events, I’ve simultaneously been building a path inward, and I’m careful to notice how and why I do what I do. These noticed moments are often startlingly clear snapshots. Let’s take a look. Here, I am whirling dervish of joyful union with all living things. Here, I am trying to ignore the incredulous onlookers at my gym Here, I am stuck on-stuck on a-stuck on a new move. Here, I am a raging thunderstorm without borders. Here, I am beautifully posed and balanced. As a human being, pattern-seeking and interpretation machine, I have been collecting these and other snapshots to form some kind of ordered tapestry, a system to make sense of it all.

What does it mean that I move the way I do, the way other hoopers do not, the way that just feels right to me? Why do I find some moves easy to learn, only to be discouraged by the challenge of others? Through my own self-study as a student in the Contemplative Education Graduate Program at Naropa University, I’ve had an opportunity to build meditative practices that have transformed my relationship with the hoop and the hooping self I am continuously becoming. I have discovered, in a profoundly personal way, that there is a constantly shifting dance of energies moving with, against and around me in every moment, energies represented in Tibetan tantra as the elements that compose all of nature: earth, wind, water, fire, and space. These energies play together to create and color all that is, according to the philosophy of Buddhism. As I study these energies, their aspects and their dance, I hoop! The moving mandala of the hoop continues to reveal wisdom within my own lived experience of the five energies. I’ve been hooping my way towards a map of the liberating qualities they bring to my hooping practice: how do I hoop with warm, sensual EARTH energy? Or clear, cool WATER? What action does WIND bring to my hoopdance?

Top Ten List for March 9-15 2014

Top Ten List It’s time for our weekly Top Ten List where we count down the top ten most buzz worthy posts of the week (as based on reader response), starting things off at number ten and working our way up to the number one spot of the week. What was hot in the hoopersphere this go around? It’s time for us to find out. Here’s Hooping.org’s Top Ten List for March 9th – 15th, 2014.

10. Coming in at number ten this week is a performance from Henna Matanuska in Tampere, Finland (114 Points).

9. We loved this beautiful photo of Lenna Nakauchi in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia (119 Points).

8. Kirby Bright was caught spinning his twin hoops in Live Oak, Florida, USA (129 Points).

7. Tiana’s latest exploration in Oakland, California, USA, captivated many – Tiana Zoumer: Analyse (134 Points).

6. This sweet photo of Tiia Maaret was taken on the beach in Alameda, California, USA (142 Points).

5. Marria Grace Kicked It Up in this awesome pic taken in Oakland, California, USA (148 Points).

4. And our top photo of the week goes to this slackline hooping shot of Corinne Watson in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA (171 Points).

3. Our top video of the week was this great tutorial by Jon Coyne in Seattle, Washington, USA – From the Knees to Your Waist with Hoopsmiles (175 Points).

2. Casandra Tanenbaum wrote up something for those spinning things up in places without much community – This is For All the Lonely Hoopers (278 Points).

1. And at number one this week is Philo Hagen’s closer look at the question we all hear, a lot – Is That a Hula Hoop? (301 Points).

Top 3 Features

1. Philo Hagen Is That a Hula Hoop? (301 Points).
2. Casandra Tanenbaum This is For All the Lonely Hoopers (278 Points).
3. Ana Fernandez: The Real Nashville Hooping Housewife (87 Points).
4. Hooping The Orange River in Africa (85 Points).
5. Blooming Inside The Hoop (67 Points).

Top 5 Videos:

1. From the Knees to Your Waist with Hoopsmiles (175 Points).
2. Tiana Zoumer: Analyse (134 Points).
3. Henna Matanuska (114 Points).
4. Barbara Francesquine and Camille Bastos (113 Points).
5. Matt Porretta (103 Points).

Top 5 Photos:

1. Corinne Watson (171 Points).
2. Marria Grace Kicks It Up (148 Points).
3. Tiia Maaret (142 Points).
4. Kirby Bright (129 Points).
5. Lenna Nakauchi (119 Points).

That’s our Top Ten List and Top 5’s for this week and remember if you see something you appreciate here (or on any of our social networking sites), it only takes a second to “Like” it or leave a comment and share the hoop love, and you get to make someone’s day while you’re at it. YAY! Each like, share, note or comment is worth a point in calculating our weekly Top Ten. And with that, we invite you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest if you’re not already doing so and we hope you had a very happy hooping weekend everybody!

This is For All the Lonely Hoopers

This is For All the Lonely Hoopers by Casandra Tanenbaum

People often ask me how I learned to hoopdance. With a shy smile, I admit to hours upon hours of solitary practice and reviewing countless videos to expand my skill set.  My house, and backyard patio were my first practice spaces, amidst scuffed, scratched walls and that one low hanging cable that made it impossible to do practically any tosses. Personal practice is fun, rich with powerful lessons for movement and life and, after some time, it can become achingly lonely.

Unless you are lucky enough to have a community of hoopers around you, hoopdance can feel like a very isolated activity. Thankfully, we can participate online, share and comment on posts and videos, but there is a significant difference between “talking about hooping” with someone and actually hooping with someone. Often I see status updates from newbies or recently relocated hoopers crying out for someone to come find them and hoop with them! It is as if we intuitively know that the fruit of our practice becomes much sweeter when shared. You might be thinking, perhaps with a wistful sigh and downward glance, “well, that’s nice. But REALLY, you don’t understand: I’m the ONLY ONE HERE.” Well, that might be true. Or, then again, it might not!
 
For over a year I practiced in local parks, dodging curious stares and scoffs from passersby, never meeting another local hoopdancer. Little did I know: they were doing the exact same thing, IN THE SAME PLACES, on different days!  We were merely orbiting within our own personal hooping universe, blind to each others’ presence.

So how do we peel off our own and each other’s blinders?  For me, it starts with the root of what drives my dance: the MUSIC! Like MANY other hoopers, my first introduction to hoopdance took place at a festival.  Music provides the occasion for the dance, and live music events are bound to bring hoopers out of their houses.  True, some music venues don’t allow hoops, but many do, and you’ll never know unless you try, right?  Music festival season is beckoning you and your hoops to outdoor fun soon. Bringing your practice outside to public gatherings and events is a surefire way to inspire and excite people, and to invite them to hoop with you.  You never know if the skeptic you just handed a hoop to will become your new best friend or hoopdance addict!

Just talking about hooping opens doors to creating a community of hoopdancers.  As a newbie hooper, I remember feeling silly as I talked about my hoop habit.  On the one hand, I was embarrassed to have such a limited movement vocabulary and on the other… well… it’s just a kids toy, right?!  Over time, I discovered that simply talking about hooping was one way of growing our circle, expanding the “hoop” to include more and more playful spinners in our joy. Really, how can we expect to achieve our dreams unless we are willing to speak them into being?  One day, out of the blue, a barrista at a local coffee shop overheard my conversation with a friend about hooping and put me in touch with HER hooping friend. Suddenly, BOOM! Community!

With all the beautiful leaps and strides in promoting hoopdance to the world, people everywhere are opening up to this precious gift of movement. You, at your computer, wherever it is that you call home, are part of a vast and growing international community. Know that we are also your neighbors, your co-workers, your fellow drivers on the freeway. Your hoopdance community already exists, all around you, even if you can’t see it, feel or touch it. It starts with one, and that ONE is YOU!  Be bold, and keep pushing: what goes around comes around.

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Casandra Tanenbaum Casandra Tanenbaum has been spinning hoops and words for years at Hoopsofly and Florida Poetry Events and now she’s even getting people in shape with Hoola-Fit. If you’re in the great state of Florida, you know Casandra. She lives in Lake Worth, Florida, USA, and is the organizer of the annual Florida Flow Fest.

Loving Our Limits

Loving Our Limits by Casandra Tanenbaum

While engaged in Hooping.org’s Fall Fun & Fitness 30/30 Challenge, I enjoyed confronting one of the most fascinating conundrums about creative life: limitations are truly freeing.  We human beings seem to LOVE defining our endeavors with restraint. Our awareness of fleeting time or money sharply illuminates priorities, activities and attitude.  We are specially designed to make the most of what we have, and we all do this exceptionally well, every day.  Scarcity, often considered a villain, is really a liberator, and so it is for hoopdance as well.  Scarcity allows us to fall into the generous loving pattern of discipline.

I love hooping outside, in the grass, having gleefully kicked my shoes off.  Outside, all tosses become ethereal.  I love hooping in big dance studios, too, using the mirror to catch subtle cues and gestures, and precise placement in flow.  Of course, my dream hoopdance studio has at least two mirrored walls and really high windowed ceilings, gorgeous, raised wooden floors, a ballet bar, and an incredible sound system.  What happens, however, when you take all that space away?

Visiting my mothers house as the 30/30 Challenge began, I brought my practice into the limitations of HER environment:  furniture, light fixtures and glass topped tables all begging to be broken.  As much as I admire chaos, I had my relationship with my mom to consider.  And really, how often do I find myself apologizing to other dancers in crowded shows because I INSIST on throwing things that ought not be thrown in small spaces (ahem).  A little discipline, I thought, might just do me some good.  It might be boring, but since it was ultimately for the greater good, I decided to go for it.

Within 3 minutes I was totally engaged.  My legs, arms and core were REALLY WORKING: I had no space to turn, honestly, and I had to lunge to engage in any overhead maneuvers at all.  After leaving my mother’s place and returning home, I found myself craving the insights that came from a limited space, and actually started practicing in my office at home.  This choice reveals an ultimate irony: a year ago, I moved a beautiful glass bottomed fan from the living room (aka: the danger zone) into my office, convinced it would be forever safe from torment by my plastic rings. Oh, well!

Let me just say, I am falling in love with the practice of small, contained movements in tiny spaces.  Collapse the vertical limit, for example: how long can you stay in dynamic flow without bringing the hoop overhead?  How LOW can you isolate?  What happens with your arms?  Your legs?  Do you move with a smooth sophistication?  Can your dance EXPLODE within restraint? What happens if you bring in the walls about 6 inches on all sides.  NOW what, hooper-star?

With the arrival of Autumn and many of us and our hoops making our way back indoors, cultivating a love of discipline in hoopdance practice is the real gift of the 30/30.  Discipline needn’t cut into our love of movement, it can grow lovingly around us, crafted into a solid container for us to flow within.  It can challenge, heal, inspire or deflate us: it is all a matter of perspective.  Cultivating space within me to flow with WHAT IS, I liberate myself in ANY practice space, no matter how small.  And keeping the furniture intact?  That’s just a bonus.

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Casandra Tanenbaum Casandra Tanenbaum has been spinning hoops and words for years at Hoopsofly and Florida Poetry Events and now she’s even getting people in shape with Hoola-Fit. If you’re in the great state of Florida, you know Casandra. She lives in Lake Worth, Florida, USA, and is the organizer of the annual Florida Flow Fest.

Hula Hoop Fitness Exercises

Hula Hoop Fitness It’s a well known fact that hooping has amazing health benefits, but now it’s time to learn some basic moves you can work into your daily fitness routine! Over at Kurriosity.com, the “social network for healthy living”, Kurriosity Korrespondent Brittany Cascone meets with Casandra Tanenbaum of Hoola-Fit to learn some key exercises that will help anyone improve their health, regardless of their history with the hoop.  Moves featured include waist hooping, hooping squats, figure-8 hooping, and even an intro to isolations. This video is almost like four tutorials hooped into one! Casandra even includes a few helpful tips such as keeping your arms moving so you burn more calories. Best of all, all you need for this work out is a hoop and anywhere between ten and thirty minutes of free time. Before you know it, you’ll be feeling the burn from your triceps to your hamstrings! Casandra lives in Lake, Worth, Florida, USA.

Hooping Publicly and Privately

Public Private [Hooping.org columnist Casandra Tanenbaum examines her public and private hooping.]

by Casandra Tanenbaum

Hoopdance is an experience of movement for the partner of the hoop. Certainly the hoop is important, but focusing on the hoop leaves out a pretty large territory to play with – our bodies, our selves. My body, as both a visual and sensory being while hoopdancing, answers to the call of the music, the tones requiring it’s full attention, not just the part of me that is holding on to my hoop – or at least that is the case when “on display”. Hooping in public, whether in front of a crowd or just one person, puts a different SPIN on it. Super self-conscious of how I look to my audience, it is hard to let ANY body part get lazy, yet when I’m alone in the dubious privacy of the fitness studio, I am often aware of the fact that at any given moment most of my flesh is not in direct contact with the hoop. It is intriguing that so much of my personal hoopdance practice involves working on specific tricks and techniques related specifically to the hoop, rather than to me.

Sometimes when I’m practicing it’s as though I’m saying “Hey! Left shoulder, right lower leg: you are not particularly important right now, it is really all about the hoop, so… take a break!” The result looks like a banal accumulation of forced drills with a lot of trial and error, and a constant clattering of drops. In public I feel an obligation to be the consummate representative of the beauty, grace and strength of hoopdancing. I almost can’t help but undulate my hips purposefully as I spin the hoop above my head, twirling in dizzying patterns to impress the casual observer, so why do I not give myself a complete and total experience when I’m alone? Since noticing the vast chasm between these two approaches, in practice and in public, I have been purposefully reversing my roles to interesting results.

Top Ten List: February 3-9 2013

Top Ten It’s time for our weekly Top Ten List everybody! We’re counting down the top ten most buzz worthy posts of the week (based on reader response) and we are starting things off at number ten and working our way up to the number one spot of the week. What was hot in the hoopersphere this week? Here’s Hooping.org’s Top Ten List for February 3rd – 9th, 2013.

10: We things off this week with an incredible practice sesion from Ulyana Khavrona (80 Points).

9: Coming in at number 9, Casandra got us Loving Our Limits (82 Points).

8: One of the top photos this week was this Rainy Day Hooping shot from Hungary (84 Points).

7: Another highly rated photo was this great shot of Hula Hoop Joy in Gaza (85 Points).

6: And our highest rated photo this week was of the lovely Melissa Boyte (87 Points).

5: Our highest rated video this week was of Jessi Harris and Her 30/30 Hooping Challenge Experience (121 Points).

4: At number four it’s our latest contest. Want to score yourself a teaching spot at Hoopcamp? Our 2013 Hoopcamp Presenter Invitational (157 Points).

3: Next up was our annual Hooper Valentine Exchange: Share The Hoop Love with Our Hooper Valentine Exchange (234 Points).

2: Drew schooled us on how to Take Better LED and Fire Hooping Pictures (286 Points).

1: And at number one this week – Hoopers Rise For One Billion Rising (449 Points).

That’s our Top Ten List for this week, and remember that if you see something you appreciate here (or anywhere online), it only takes a second to “Like” it or leave a comment so share the hoop love and make someone’s day. YAY! Each like, share or comment is worth a point in calculating our weekly Top Ten. With that, we invite you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Tumblr if you’re not already doing so and we hope you had a very happy hooping weekend everybody!

Loving Our Limits

Loving Our Limits [Hooping.org columnist Casandra Tanenbaum takes a closer look at how limitations create opportunities.]

by Casandra Tanenbaum

While engaged in Hooping.org’s Spring Renewal 30/30 Challenge, I enjoyed confronting one of the most fascinating conundrums about creative life: limitations are truly freeing.  We human beings seem to LOVE defining our endeavors with restraint.  Our awareness of fleeting time or money sharply illuminates priorities, activities and attitude.  We are specially designed to make the most of what we have, and we all do this exceptionally well, every day.  Scarcity, often considered a villain, is really a liberator, and so it is for hoopdance as well.  Scarcity allows us to fall into the generous loving pattern of discipline.

I love hooping outside, in the grass, having gleefully kicked my shoes off.  Outside, all tosses become ethereal.  I love hooping in big dance studios, too, using the mirror to catch subtle cues and gestures, and precise placement in flow.  Of course, my dream hoopdance studio has at least two mirrored walls and really high windowed ceilings, gorgeous, raised wooden floors, a ballet bar, and an incredible sound system.  What happens, however, when you take all that space away?