Friday, 20 July 2012

What is hooping?

At its most simple level, "hooping" is the act of spinning a hoop round your waist. You can go that far and no more, if you wish, nothing wrong with that.

But most hoopers find their hoop twirling about their hips, legs, chest, shoulders, neck, hands, head ... even their nose. They find themselves tossing the hip, reversing it, throwing it, shimmying it, swishing it, wrapping it, kicking it, spinning it, dancing with it, jumping through it. You name a move, someone, somewhere will have tried that move with a hoop.

There are several different kinds of hooping. The oldest is cultural hooping, the kind seen in some Native American groups. The ancient Egyptians swung hoops made of vine branches, so it's been around for a while.

Then there's circus hooping - the sort of hooping involving very bendy girls in sparkly leotards doing eye-popping routines with 20 hoops at one time. Circus hooping is probably beyond the realms of possibility for most of us but it's sure fun to watch. Hooping seen in rhythmic gymnastics is closely related to circus hooping. It's my least favourite kind of hooping, probably because I don't like the idea of using hoops to compete against others.

Then there's exercise hooping. Pretty simple, really: using a hoop to burn calories. Exercise hoop classes can be found in gyms, exercise clubs and on DVDs. Exercise hooping is done with a heavy, large hoop which spins mostly on the body. It's fun, but the emphasis is on working out.

The final type of hooping is hoopdancing, and this is exactly what it sounds like: a form of dance using a hoop. Although it requires a lot of hard work to do well, hoopdance is easier to pick up than something like ballet. It's creative, expressive, graceful, and the best fun you can have with your clothes on!

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