Tag Archive for Hoop Dance Practice

6 Tips To Make Your Hooping Practice Count

6tipsforhooping by Katie Sunshine

Is there anything better than spending a sunny afternoon or quiet evening at home with just you and your hoop? One of the things I’ve always loved about hooping is that practice doesn’t feel like work. It’s energizing, enjoyable, and rewarding. But are you getting the most out of your hoop practice? Whether you’re a new hooper wanting to nail down some new tricks, or a seasoned performer practicing your routines, these six easy tips may be just what you need to take it to the next level.

1. Warm Up. There’s a lot more to it than you might think. A good warm up increases your heart rate slightly, gets you breathing more heavily, and increases your body temperature – hence the name. And get this – if your body is warm, then your muscles are warm. Warmer muscles have a lot more elasticity in them. They’re not only less subject to strains and pulls, warm muscles have more range of motion for reaching, pulling, and stretching your hooping body. You might just take that hooping move farther than you ever have before, literally. I also highly recommend stretching if you’re going to attempt some kind of acrobatic hoop moves. Stretching comes after a warm up, when you’re muscles have more flexibility. Some good warm ups can be non-hooping activities like walking or aerobic stepping, or they could be simple hooping movements like waist hooping to warm up the core, and passing the hoop in your hands around your body to warm up your chest and shoulders. Need more warm up ideas? Check out 9 Great Warm Up Exercises For Hoopers.

2. Wear Something That Exposes Your Skin. As you may already know, those skimpy little outfits you often see hoop performers wearing are not just to get attention. Many tricks are much easier to do on bare skin. The hoop sticks to bare skin in some cases, where it might slide or slip right off of regular clothing. So when you’re practicing, choose an outfit that exposes as much skin as possible. When I first started my hoop journey, I would always practice in a sports bra and gym shorts because I often found the secret to unlocking a new trick was trying it on bare skin. Even now, after five years of hooping, I still plan my performance outfits to expose the following areas: arms, shoulders, and legs. So whether you’re in public or practicing in the privacy of your own home, consider donning that tiny bathing suit and start practicing!

3. Listen To Music You Like. For me personally, listening to good music while I practice makes all the difference in the world. Practicing with music that inspires you to dance and move also helps you find your flow with the hoop. Good music encourages you to move rhythmically, and if you’ve got your hoop then your discovering ways to incoporate the hoop into that movement which is key to unlocking a fluid dance sequence. And if you’re listening to music you already know and love, you already know all the spots that the tempo changes, things speed up, the right spot for a dramatic hooping moment and more.

4. Record Yourself. Having the ability to watch yourself hoop is invaluable. Many times I’d be following along with a tutorial and I would think “I’m doing everything like they say, but it still doesn’t feel right. Am I doing it right?” At that point, out would come my camera. I’d use the back of my couch as an impromptu tripod, punch up the video function and record myself doing the trick. Often times, when I watched the video back, I would see that I was, in fact, doing the trick correctly and that gave me the confidence to keep going. Alternatively, I’d sometimes see that I wasn’t doing the trick correctly, and I could see what I needed to fix. I’d say to myself, “Oh, Ok, I need to get that hand out of the way to land this trick.” Recording yourself also has the added benefit of documenting your progress. Weeks or months or years down the road you will have a video diary of all your progress and accomplishments.

5. Get Inspired. Nothing motivates you to practice and try something new like that wonderfully yummy feeling of being inspired! For artists and hoopers alike, inspiration can be an idea that compels you to create, that motivates you to get up and do something, and makes you say “I MUST create something beautiful right this very MOMENT!” There are things you can do as a hooper to encourage this feeling too. Something I like to do before a hoop practice session is what I formally call “research.” Research roughly translates into binge-watching all the videos on hooping.org. It’s actually a great way to get inspired. You might see a trick, or transition, or combination of moves you really like and think “Oh, I really like that! I bet I could get that with just a little practice.” Watching videos may also inspire new ideas for videos of your own – and there you go! Congratulations, you are now inspired!

6. Practice With Friends. This tip goes hand-in-hand with number five. There’s nothing more inspiring than being around other hoopers. Just as a painter or sculptor can get inspired by watching or being around another artist, we do too. When you see someone do something you like, you can say “Wow! that was cool, can you teach me that?” Nine times out of ten they will! Conversely, you can do the same if someone says to you, “Wow, that was really cool, can you teach me that?” It’s not only a great confidence booster, but teaching others new moves gives you a better understanding of them. Where you live may make this a challenge, but set a goal to hoop with others once a week, once a month, or as often as you can.

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Katie Columnist Katie Wilson, better known in the hooping world as Katie Sunshine, is a teacher, a painter, a performer, and above all a proponent for the powerfully positive change hooping brings to one’s life. She picked up hooping in 2009 at a music festival and she hasn’t put it down since. A Hoopie Award winner with many YouTube viral videos, Katie lives in Conway, Arkansas, USA, with her wonderful husband and her two lovable dogs.

Bex Burton: I Like You

Bex Burton Bex “THE BEX” Burton of Sense of Motion is back on her feet in this new practice video featuring snippets from her first home hoop session since spraining her ankle nine weeks ago.  Getting back into the flow of the hoop has really been a positive thing for her too. She says that she’s been “finally able to let go and flow and meditate on my upcoming life beyond New York.” That’s right, she’s leaving the Big Apple behind and moving to Boulder, Colorado next month – but for a limited time she’s still living in New York City and the music that she’s spinning to is called “400 Luxe” by Lorde and it’s available for you to download on iTunes.

Ask Hoopalicious: What Helps You Stay Committed?

Ask Hoopalicious Dear Hoopalicious,

What’s the one most valuable feature, attitude, mindset, complimentary practice….that one thing that helps you stay committed to your hoop practice religiously or compliments your hooping bad assery abilities?

Thank U hoop mama of ALL hoop mamas ;o)
Suni Shine

Hi Suni!

Thank you for your great question. I struggled for YEARS to get myself to have what I considered to be a regular practice or to, as you say, “practice religiously”. Discipline has never been my strong suit! I am convinced that the reason I have hooped for so many years consistently is my innate love for movement and community. My best hooping moments and most powerful practice times have always been at a jam, a party or generally in social environments. This is likely because I got my hooping start in the music festival scene, so Hoop Dance has a very festive and social connotation for me. Knowing this about myself has been hugely beneficial because it means that I know the environments in which I shine the most! Then I just need to be sure I get myself out to hoop-able environments or invite people over to hoop often enough to be hooping at least a couple of times a week.

I do have a goal (resulting from being inspired by the Aerialist community) to hoop regularly in a dedicated practice that doesn’t need to be social. It is certainly a shift and there is TONS of resistance! How I am handling this is embarrassingly simple… as it turns out. Ha! I am committing to myself to hoop everyday for at least 30 minutes, and hopefully longer, everyday. When it comes time, and I am feeling all that resistance, I just… DO IT ANYWAY. What always happens next is I get in my hoop (after a good amount of stretching), and after a few minutes of complaining in my head I begin to enjoy myself and all is WONDERFUL! Resistance is nothing other than a thought form we take too seriously (not to be confused with real intuition, but you will know the difference). And through this simplicity I am finding my way (even if it is kicking and screaming) to a disciplined, regular hooping practice. YES!

As for the general bad-assery, I attribute my passion for dance and inherent sensual nature to my ability to rock the hoop. When I hit my groove I am feeling nothing other than my enjoyment of the music and the feel of the hoop on my body. After some time in the “hoop zone” new patterns of movement begin to arise spontaneously because of the space of flow. My mind is in the co-pilot seat instead of the lead.

SO, long answer to a short question, but the short of it is know yourself. Where are your favorite places to hoop and how can you bring more of that into your life? What are your goals for hoop dance? What is your relationship to discipline and the resistance to it? When you hoop are you allowing your passions to rise and REALLY enjoy it or has it become a “task”? I hope this rabbit hole of inquiry will help you create a powerful practice that is just right for YOU.

In hoopiness~
Hoopalicious

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Hoopalicious Need some advice from Hoopalicious? Anah “Hoopalicious” Reichenbach has traveled the world teaching and performing and is highly regarded as the founder of the modern hoop dance movement. In fact, her Hoop Revolution™ curriculum is the foundation for most well-known hoop dance curriculums out there today so if you’ve got a question just ask at hoopalicious@hooping.org. Anah appears in The Hooping Life documentary and was our first inductee into the Hooper Hall of Fame. She lives in Los Angeles, California, USA.