As I am gathering data for my new page on hoop size selection, I have been mulling over many different aspect of the art of hoop dance or hooping. As hoop dance is an ever growing art form, my ideas about it have shifted in many ways as more and more people contribute to its flavor and variety. Where foundation used to be just "can you hoop all over the body?", foundation now includes off body movements as well! So what the heck is a "foundational" move? I consider a foundational move to be the simplest possible expression of a movement. For example, waist hooping is foundational, while dancing freely around the room while hooping on the waist is intermediate/advanced. So the foundational lexicon would include, the simplest form of hooping all over the body as well as the simplest expressions of an escalator, roll, fold, toss, wedgie, coin flip and breaks (if I missed something, please comment!). Any of the fancier versions I consider to be variations. As you gain skill and proficiency the art of the dance tends to expand into the variations, though any foundational move can still be done artfully.
So, why have as many of the building blocks of hoop dance solid as possible? Think of it this way, if you are building a house, it needs a solid foundation. The foundation doesn't need to be artful but it needs to function reliably and support the structure of the building. While you don't HAVE to learn all the moves mentioned above, if you do, you will have more foundation under you to build a grander and more refined structure above it. It's up to you. Build a foundation that can only hold a one room garden shed (though ti may be the most fabulous garden shed, ever) or build a foundation that can support a multi-level castle with porticos and sweeping arched doorways. It's up to you!
Advanced hip hooping... yup. Its a thing.
The trend in hoop dance to start with smaller hoops has created some beautiful things and also some draw backs. Where the norm used to be that you started with a 40 - 45 inch heavy hoop and learned to hoop fluidly all over your body before you sized down and went off body, it seems the new norm is to start the complete opposite way. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE the new styles created by focusing on smaller hoops, but I also see that many hoopers lack a big piece of the puzzle and don't even realize it. For a long time I thought... "well, it's art. Not everyone has to paint landscapes when they like portraits!". But then I noticed things like the propensity for "small hoops only" hoopers to have more hunched posture and hardly hoop on their bodies at all, except to transition to another off body move. The tendency for hoopers now a days to only turn or do breaks when they are shoulder hooping has caused many to miss out on the heart open posture that used to be the hallmark of a hooper body. Not to mention certain moves like shoulder rolls and duck outs that have all but disappeared because you have to have shoulder hooping down pat in order to do them. To be honest, it makes me a little sad. But.. again, I digress. Back to my painting analogy.
If you LOVE to do portraits that's awesome. But only if its a choice based on the understanding that landscapes exist. If you didn't know you could paint a tree, you would be stuck in your small view of what painting could be! If you learned to paint flowers and trees, then you could CHOOSE to add them to your portraits and they would have more depth and nuance. To be clear, I am not trying to say you HAVE to learn body hooping or you suck or anything... I just want you to have all the colors in your palate and get all the benefits you may be currently missing. I myself have learned so much from this new generation of hoop dancers and am so grateful I have seemingly ever growing generations of hoopers to steal moves from. ha! Kidding. ok, kind of not really ;)
So, next time you jump into your flow zone, challenge yourself to hoop on body for one full song with a larger hoop than you are used to. For us OG hoopers, white knuckling their body rocking hoops, my challenge is to dance with a smaller hoop than you are used to OFF body for one whole song. I am curious to see what you will discover!
In much love and Hoopiness~ Anah
(it has turned out to be a bigger project than I realized,