This month I'm exploring ways to make myself look better while hoop dancing. I'm not talking about hair and makeup or costumes...although those are FUN...I'm talking about grace and lines.
Over on my Facebook page I have a series of weekly posts rolling out this month where I pick one element for us to work on together. The challenge is to really focus on these during a song. You can add in a 2nd focus when you are ready - and if you are a total rock star then do all 5 at once...but I wanna see video of you! ;)
So here are my top 5 tips for improving your dance within your hoop:
It's true - I keep a hoop in my office. I don't think I'm alone in this either - More and more people are taking their hoops to work to bust out some flow on their lunch break. And guess what - they are happier at work because of it!
Get ready for the 5 ways hoop dancing has helped me at work - and I would love to know how the hoop has helped you in your career - Here we go!
1. Work Life Balance - ugh - it is such a buzz word and many say it's a myth to try and achieve - in my other job as a career counsellor my day is filled with coaching clients over the phone, a lot of computer / desk work, researching resources online, filing and other office duties. So it's like an office job with an emotional drain element. Having a hoop class or jam to look forward to after work helps me feel like I have a happy thing to balance out the demands of my job. Life is yours to live - and if it's all work and no play...well it's not balanced! Hooping has allowed me to tip the scales back where they should be.
2. Stress Management - I'm lucky I work at home - I can pick up my hoop and blast a song or 2 if I know my next client isn't for another 30 min - Or if I have a particularly challenging counselling session that has left me feeling frustrated I know I can take a 5 minute mini break and come back to my desk feeling so much better. Really it's magic - one song and it's like I have hit the 'reset' button. And then I'm ready and refreshed for my next client.
3. Creativity - Not only is hoop dancing a way to tap into my creative dance side, it has also allowed me to be more creative in my problem solving at work. When I'm dancing and trying to figure out a trick, transition or grip I use different strategies: video myself, watch a video of another, close my eyes, learn the ending first, come back to it later, try my other hand or other direction, break it down step by step, and all with the approach of inquisitiveness. I can translate these strategies to problem solving at work as well - looking at the big picture, breaking it down piece by piece, taking a break and coming back to it later, trying a new angle or perspective. By unlocking these creative problem solving pathways in hooping I have prepared my brain for creative problem solving in my work. Neuroscience baby! Just google neuroscience and hoop...it's real!
4. Health - posture and core building being the 2 visible health benefits - but increased energy and endurance are also big improvements! Employers know that a healthy worker is a more productive worker - with EAP programs now offering Health Coaching, benefit packages including gym memberships, workplaces organizing running clubs - employers are clued into how important it is to promote healthy living. (Sick employees cost Canadian employers over $16 Billion each year according to the Conference Board of Canada in 2013...so you know that number is probably higher now) Hoop Dance has inspired me to get off my butt and get active! I'm now interested in keeping this momentum, to reduce my risk of disease, to develop my muscles so I don't throw out my back as much. It's like a never ending spiral of benefits;)
5. Life Long Learning - this concept is one of the key characteristics that employers love in their employees. Workplaces want us to be interested in growing, developing our knowledge and skills, contributing to our teams and engaging in a productive way at work. Hoop Dance has opened up a whole world of learning for me. Movement: I have taken several hoop dance teacher trainings, joining other movement classes like Aerial Hammock, Dance Fitness and Belly Fit. Technical skills: learning social media strategies to grow my community online, website, email services and marketing strategies. And Career Development: I now have first hand experience in how self employed fitness instructors are juggling all of the above. When I get a self employed client I know what kind of multi tasking they are faced with and what strategies might work for them. The world of online business is no longer a hazy question mark for me either. SO much learning!
There are sooo many ways that Hoop Dance has helped me in my career - I can think of a few more!
If you think your hoop has helped you at work I would love to know how - comment here or find me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/revolutionhoopdance
I am going to go into more detail on #3 in The Hoop Loop and you can get in on that fun by clicking on THIS
Spin with you soon hoopers!
I always want to look like a circus performer - perfectly executed tricks, no fumbles, impeccable timing and set to a killer song. Always.
Is this realistic? Um...of course not! High expectations for a perfect song or sequence of tricks is such a trap! And I totally know better - so I have come up with some tips that have helped me - and I hope they help you too!
Check in with myself - What am I doing here? What is my goal? A fun little play to a couple of songs? A drilling session on that trick I couldn't get last time? A workout for my core? My reverse direction? By getting clear with myself before I even start allows me to set clear expectations for what I hope to get out of my time in the hoop.
Make small goals - Perhaps you have heard the common strategy of SMART goals? Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely (or some similar variation). What this strategy leaves out is the size of our goals! My goal is to be able to bend backwards and go from standing into a bridge. Great! How about we work on stretching first, perhaps do some yoga, look up a few back mobility tutorials? It all starts with one baby step and it's great to have a map of where to go next.
Make time to PLAY - It is great to be diligent and have a notebook to keep on track with what you want to accomplish in your hoop practice. Like, that is awesome and I wish I was that organized! What often happens when we go off the agenda and have a few play songs to really connect with just our dance or the song - not judging ourselves or checking to see how awesome we look in the mirror - to just dance and play for ourselves - that's when the magic happens! Making time to play as a part of your practice will allow new ideas to flow, new moves to be discovered (ahem...I have a tutorial for a new (to me) move I can't wait to share with you all!) and bliss achieved. And isn't bliss the complete opposite of feeling defeat and frustration?
Keep picking it up - Dropping is normal, it's learning, it's our body getting smarter and our brain developing new pathways. Reframe how you think about dropping the hoop! When it drops, use that as an opportunity to pick it up with flare! Get creative, use only your foot, try spinning when you pick it up, get groovy and bust out some awesome moves before you pick it up, as you pick it up and after you pick it up! We can't grow if we don't make mistakes and how we react to those mistakes can deeply affect how we see ourselves and our abilities. This goes for your hoop practice or for your career (yes, I'm a career counsellor too!).
Set it aside - Are you constantly missing that move that just won't click? Pissing you off to no end and then BAM you smack yourself on the bridge of your nose with your hoop? Oh yea...been there! Time to set that move aside and get back into that happy place - take a deep breath and re-centre. I have found that moves that just won't click after hours and weeks of trying to get it will magically happen with ease after letting it simmer for a little while. I think sometimes we want something so much it won't happen when we try so hard. Our mind and body need time to figure it out and by drilling and missing over and over we are programming the wrong muscle memory. So set that hard to get trick aside and come back to it after some time has passed and you will see how some simmer time can unlock a brilliant hoop move or two;)
I hope these tips help you in reaching a happier hoop practice, a healthier approach to those frustrating moments we all have inside our hoops.
I would love to hear your experiences with your practice and how you have saved yourself from the hoop - comment below, like us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/revolutionhoopdance) and follow on Instagram (@carronhoops) and subscribe to The Hoop Loop - a monthly email with tips, tricks, updates and all the goings on!
There are so many variations of what a performance can be - a flowing improvisational dance, a demonstration at a trade show or other event, busking, cabaret circus style (my fav!) ...the list is endless.
Many hoop dancers perform informally and don't even know it- be it in a class, at a retreat or on their front lawn. Some performances have costumes, music, makeup and a stage - while other performances are simplified with just a connected dancer and their circular partner (their hoop of course).
photo by Dawn of Destiny Photography
Some questions you can ask yourself if you are wondering about performing and your hoop journey:
1. What motivates me? Do I dance for myself? Do I dance to connect to the music? Do I dance to nail tricks? Do I dance for others enjoyment? Do I dance to build connection with others? Do I enjoy the preparation process? You may answer yes to all of these - which is great!
2. What are my expectations when I dance? Am I setting intentions around my dance and exploring where my dance can evolve?
3. How do I define 'Performance'? A child's birthday party, a festival audience member, a live audience or video recording? A paid or unpaid gig?
4. Have I already performed and not really recognized that event for the achievement that it is?
By exploring the above you may discover how you have already performed with your hoop - be it one trick, a sequence of moves or a full song. Once you have identified where your performance journey has started you can then look at where you want that journey to go. For many, creating performing opportunities is not of interest - and for others they have discovered a passion for sharing their skill with others.
Our hoop journeys are unique - embrace yours and spin to your own rhythm!
If you are thinking about performing here is a great article I found with some tips to take your hoop journey to that next level:
I would love to know how you feel about performing! Leave me a message and share your insights! And as always you can sign up to receive my monthly email - filled with encouragement, tips, tricks and updates on what our community is up to!
Carron is passionate about all things HOOP, improving your hoop dance practice and creating a hoop dance community!