I discovered hooping online, while checking out some links about the Burning Man festival. I came across a video clip made by a woman named Ariel, who was hooping in her livingroom. 30 seconds later, I was hooked! I watched the clip at least a dozen times over the next two days, and followed her link to find hooping.org to learn how to make my own hoops. 100 feet of tubing later, I had three hoops to try.. and it was HARD! Ariel made it look so easy, and I could barely keep the thing spinning at my waist.
Ten minutes turned to thirty, a half-hour became one or two hours… I was hooping before work, on my lunch break, and after work, outside on the pool deck at the UBC Aquatic Centre or downtown at the underground rink at Robson Square with the breakdancers. I learned to hoop above my head, on my neck, and then get it back down to my waist. I then figured out how to do overhead and behind-the-back passing. After much struggle, I could get the hoop to spin down to my knees and NOT fall to the ground.. about three weeks later, I got the knack of bringing the hoop back UP from my knees, and whooped out loud with happiness!
Hooping.org and its collection of video links have been my main method of learning new hoop moves. The Hula Hooping Tribe on Tribe.net has been the other online haven, where a post titled “Getting it Up?” spawned an answer eight hours later that included a link to a video that Ariel made just to show me a few variations on lifting the hoop overhead from my waist. That sort of willingness to share is the epitome of hooping. There is no elitism, anyone can hoop… and people who hoop are happier.
I continue to push hoops out into the world. I took 4 hoops to the 2005 Car Free Festival on Commercial Drive, not sure if there would be a place to play, but people were lined up to take turns as we danced behind the DJs from Beats without Borders. At the 2005 Vancouver Jazz Festival, and 2005 Vancouver Folk Music Festival, I hauled 15 hoops to the fields at the open stages and set them free… as soon as people realized the hoops were there to be shared, they were in use non-stop! Robson Square hosts BC Dance Sport ballroom dancing on Friday nights during the summer, and there were always kids and adults waiting for me and my hoops so we could play on the sidelines while the dancers swirled around the rink.
Weekly hoop classes have become my focus now, along with helping to produce and present the annual Madskillz festival each June! Vancouver has a growing population of hoopers, and you will find us at beaches and parks, dancing in the streets and at music festivals, or just spinning it up in someone’s back yard, and the cross-pollination with other prop manipulators and jugglers continues to blow my mind each time I see someone moving a hoop in ways previously unimagined. I love these circles of joy!