World Hoop Day mentioned in Bay Area Newspapers. Link here by Angela Hill
- To wrap yourself in the hoop community with articles, videos and photos, go to www.hooping.org.
- For local hooping, go to www.bayareahoopers.org, www.lucashooping.com, www.theinfinitehoop.com.
- To learn about Hoop Camp 2012, scheduled for September in Santa Cruz, go to www.hoopcampretreats.com.
- For international hoop news, go to www.worldhoopday.org. World Hoop Day is a nonprofit group that holds a multicontinent hoop jam one day a year and raises money to donate hoops to kids around the globe.
And, yes, even plain-old, goofy, no-skill-required hoop jams — strictly for the fun of it, held in public parks or dance studios in the Bay Area and beyond.
You can’t be sad when you’re hooping. “It’s impossible,” says Crissy Gugler, 40, of Sunnyvale, who once taught hoop dance — performing dance moves with the hoop as a “partner” — but was so overwhelmed with requests for classes that she began steering people to other instructors. She now organizes hoop jams — basically a bunch of people swirling hoops around their waists and/or various body parts, doing their own thing in different parks around the South Bay.
“We’ll find a spot, hope for nice weather, put on some music and jam together,” she says, calling her group The Infinite Hoopers. “Grandparents do it. Kids do it. We like to find really public-view parks where lots of people walk by and see us rocking out and having a great time, and we say ‘Come on in and try it!’ ”
Gugler also uses hooping for stress relief, and always keeps a hoop at her desk at her market research job. “If things get too frustrating, I’ll just step outside and hoop for a while,” she says.
Philo Hagen, who nine years ago cofounded the online magazine Hooping.org, now manages the site as his full-time job and says the humble act of hooping has changed lives, including his own. He also helped found Bay Area Hoopers, which is still going strong, holding hoop jams at different locations in San Francisco every Sunday.
“People are picking up a plastic ring and finding joy, especially in a time when there doesn’t seem to be a lot of that around,” he says. Hagen, 47, now based in Los Angeles, got hooked on the hoop when he lived in the Oakland hills. “This guy at a party had these large adult-sized hoops. I got grooving to the music, and I literally realized my head had shut up and I was having the time of my life,” he says.
“Some people hoop for fitness — I’ve lost 40 pounds doing it myself. Some just to rock out. And for some, it’s a very centering experience. I’ve found it quite phenomenal for meditating, grounding myself and getting back in my own rotation. There are so many elements. You get people from the 40-year-old housewife doing it for exercise, to the punk rock kid who wants to throw it down, to the hippie chick who wants to meditate to the groove. It crosses all walks of life.”
Hooping, specifically hoop dance, has a circuitous history with roots in Native American storytelling, then re-emerging as Wham-O’s Hula Hoop craze of the mid-20th century.
The modern hooping trend is said to have begun at underground shows and raves where bands would toss hoops into the crowd to get people moving, Goldstein said. It then took off in performance art and exercise, and even made it to the hips of first lady Michelle Obama, who was seen hooping away on the White House lawn as part of her health and fitness campaign.
There were indeed some trademark tussles when folks first started talking about “hula” hooping, Hagen said, but those have since faded away as most hoopers began crafting their own hoops out of irrigation tubing. And they’re usually bigger than the kid’s version. Oddly enough, the bigger and heavier the hoop, the slower it moves and the easier it is to keep it going. On a recent Monday night, hoop dance instructor Betty Lucas, of Alameda, twirls in and out of her custom hoop in a graceful perpetual motion, leading a hoop dance class in a studio at Rhythmix.
By Angela Hill of Oakland, Tribune, mercurynews.com, Posted: 03/14/2012 02:22:08 PM PDT, March 18, 2012 9:19 AM GMT, Updated: 03/18/2012 02:19:27 AM PDT
“OK, transition into the egg beater, then the butterfly,” she tells her dance class of several women as the voice of Sheryl Crow croons, “A change’ll do you good.”
“Now orbit, orbit, orbit,” Lucas says. “Then into elevator. Bring it down. Bring it back up. Feel that work out in your core. Feel that joy in your spirit.”
Now in her late 50s, Lucas said she discovered hoop dance several years ago when she was diagnosed with osteoporosis and had to stop long-distance running. She found the hoop to be a fun strengthening exercise. Then she turned it into her own worldwide business, not only teaching hoop dance and Hoop Chi (her invention of a hooping form of tai chi with slow, meditative movements), but training Hoop Chi instructors as far away as the Indonesian island of Bali.
In Monday’s class, hoops wrapped with neon-colored strips swayed around students’ hips, and up over shoulders, swirling around necks, knees and the occasional foot — and sometimes smacking down to the floor and rolling across the room.
“Don’t worry about that,” Lucas announces with a grin. “Chasing them and picking them up is part of the exercise.”