Thursday, 29 November 2012

Some thoughts on teaching.

My first term of teaching hoopdance is nearly at an end … boo-hoo!

My mother has always said I should be a teacher of some esoteric skill, and it seems she was right. I’ve adored this term of teaching more than I ever thought I would – it’s not merely something I have to do; I actually look forward each week to my class. I always come home from class feeling super positive and energised.

And I think I’m okay at teaching. I still have a lot to learn, of course. I’ve certainly learned a lot about the right and wrong way to teach hooping during the past eight weeks. I’m good at breaking a move down to show my students, I think I explain everything well, and I’m patient. I also suspect I’m good at conveying my utter joy in hooping [ie, obsession] to my students, something I believe is important for any teacher. But I do struggle with troubleshooting. If a student is having problems nailing a move, I’m not so good at working out why she isn’t succeeding. So that’s something I have to work on.

Next year I plan to do some formal training in hoopdance and hopefully that will round out my teaching skills even more.

I reminded my students during this week’s class that the course was nearly finished, and it was gratifying to see their disappointment. Nearly all of them have asked me to teach a level 2 course for them next year, and it looks likely that will happen. My students [aged between 30 and 70] are bright, bubbly, enthusiastic and positive women, and each class is full of laughter, clapping and encouragement. I feel so sad about saying good-bye to them for the year!

Do you remember the woman I met on the beach? She comes to every class religiously and is probably my most dedicated student, with a devotion to hooping that nearly matches my own. She’s a joy to teach! And it all happened because of a chance meeting on the beach.

Any way, I’m glad to say my teaching isn’t over for the year. I also teach a class at the gym I attend and this will run right till the end of the year. This is quite a different class – it’s a drop-in class, with new and experienced students coming along every week. That provides a whole different type of challenge, as I need to provide instruction for numerous levels of hooping. It’s actually a very relaxed, fun class, and I enjoy it as much as the other class.

I have plans for another type of hooping class for next year … more about that later!

Happy hooping,
Anne-Marie x

Sunday, 25 November 2012

The rock star of hoopdance.

Today I am sharing this video of the divine Anah "Hoopalicious" Reichenbach for you to enjoy. Anah was the second hoopdancer I ever discovered [after Spiral], when I went searching for hooping videos on YouTube. I just love her style. She's so funky. She's the rock star of the hooping world ... and next year [all fingers and toes crossed] I will get to meet her and learn from her!!!!!
I'm a member of a Facebook group for New Zealand hoopers. Recently I logged in and my hoop brother, Richie, from Taranaki, had posted me a one-word message: HOOPALICIOUS?! So I knew something was up. My feed for the hooping group came up and there I found this post:
"Hiya New Zealand!! Hoopalicious here ... I am thinking of coming to your part of the globe in late May 2013. Do you ladies and gents want a workshop? One day? Three days?? And what would be the best city? AND of course I will want to stay for an extra handful of days to enjoy New Zealand ... Who wants to play?!"
My newsroom colleagues wondered what was wrong when I SQUEALED!
As I explained to my football-mad beloved, it would be like David Beckham coming to New Zealand and offering to do a coaching session with his social football team.
Watch the video and you’ll see why I’m so excited at the possibility of learning from this incredible hoopdancer.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Hoop meets the gym.

Yet another item to be added to this year's list of Things I Thought I'd Never Do: I've joined a gym.
And not only have I joined a gym, I've been going to the gym several times a week. This morning I was at the gym! Working out! At 8am!
Of course, I have an ulterior motive in joining the gym. I go there to hoop. You knew I was going to say that, didn't you?
I live in New Zealand, where the only thing you can predict about the weather is that it will be unpredictable. It's often rainy, often windy. I love to hoop outside, but in winter and spring - when the weather is at its wettest, windiest and coldest - it's difficult to hoop outside. And there's not enough room in our house to hoop.Oh, how I'd love to have my own hooping studio! But failing that, I decided to join the gym.
The gym has a room off to the side with a nice clear floor space and a full-length mirror - absolutely perfect for hooping. There are weights in this room which people sometimes come in to use; but there are never more than a few people at one time there. At the start I got some odd looks from gym patrons when I turned up with my hoops but now they're used to me.
And I'm used to the gym. In fact, I love it. I still hoop at home when I can, but going to the gym is like a regular date with my hoop. I go to the gym after dinner, when it's very quiet, to do my practice. It makes such a difference having a mirror to practise in front of because I can see how my moves actually look, rather than just assuming they're okay by feel. So often I think my hoop is moving in a smooth vertical plane - I get in front of the mirror and realise it's wobbling all over the place! I also do some yoga and some work with resistance bands at the gym, both of which help to strengthen my muscles and joints.
Going to the gym has sharpened my focus. I set myself a new goal each week relating to my hoop practice, and spend my practice sessions working towards that goal. Hooping really does reward hard work. I can begin a week completely unable to execute a move and by the end of the week it's been smoothly added to my repertoire. It's a great feeling.
I'm still not sure what I want to do with my hooping. Will it only ever be a fun hobby? Could I one day be a professional teacher, performer, hoop-maker, or a combination of all three? I can't answer those questions yet ... all I know is that I feel driven to be the best hoopdancer I can be.