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:
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!
I find it is quite easy to get sucked into the quest for perfection in my hoop dance. To 'nail' a trick and even have a move synced up with music...it's like that's all I work for when I pick up my hoop. To feel like a professional performer even if it's just for 5 seconds...I catch myself doing this in my home office, my kitchen gets a lot of playtime, even the hallway gets to become my stage.
My intentions are automatic - pick up hoop, try to feel like a star. What usually happens, is something closer to: pick up hoop, look for phone to play music, walk around with hoop on my shoulder till I find one of the kids with my phone, negotiate with said child, find song, attempt Lisa Lottie style body roll down the back to catch with the foot while in a not so graceful arabesque, chase hoop into next room, serve hot dogs again for supper.
This is my life, trying to squeeze in a bit of imaginary stardom - once in a while it does work though! Most of the time I am recovering from a major blooper.
Did you know that a raw potato cut in half will unscrew a broken light bulb from its socket?
Did you know Mr Clean Magic Eraser cleans up walls, ceilings, kitchen cupboards and floors from gaffer skid marks?
Did you know that 8x8 is just enough room to waist hoop...and no other tricks at all?
Did you know that 37 inch hoops are just that much too big to do tricks inside the house standing up and kneeling?
Did you know that popcorn ceilings are really hard to clean / hide your hoop skid marks?
I know these from personal experience - all great lessons in there...and a lot of laughs too. If you have any bloopers come share them with us and let us laugh along with you. https://www.facebook.com/groups/hooperbloopers/ is your safe place to post your awkward moves and hoop screw ups. Even Lisa Lottie shared a blooper ...we are all human...so ditch that perfection quest and enjoy the journey!
From all the hoop pages, groups and performers I follow on facebook and Instagram the big theme for January is definitely centered on growth and possibilities. Every coach and career counsellor I know (my other passion) is working on their action plan for the year. Creating goals and making them visible - either in a calendar, vision board or post it notes - all help bring our swirling daydreams into tangible, visible desires which then let us see where action must take place!
So what are you desiring for yourself this year? A new fancy hoop? A new flow toy....wand, staff, poi, fans? How about buugeng?
Yes, this is a thing! I am still inspired and excited to discover new ways of flowing and the communities that have been created as a result.
But back to what is big right now...I'm seeing a few things going on other than creating your master plan for 2015...like highly reflective tape...this tape is brilliant...literally. I may have to order some just to see it in action...because on video these hoops look like they are radioactive bright!
Another major trend is hoopers hooping on the road...taking their hoops to wonderful destinations and creating connections with other cultures through the hoop. And never mind the beautiful vistas and imagery....I think a hoop could fit into any landscape and be a thing of beauty;) Art and Community are both trends I am seeing so far in 2015. Here is just one project that is sharing the joy of hula hoops with others in impoverished countries:
The last big trend...at least in my neck of the woods is how the weather has impacted our hoop practice...cuz it's flipping cold out where I am and my house just doesn't bring out my moves like a gym or a park can! I found a nifty list of the pros of Winter hooping just so I could keep a positive perspective. I hope these help...at least they will be something to think about as you patiently wait for Spring;) Oh and if you are new to hoop dance you will want to check out the wonderful articles and updates on Hooping.org or follow them on Facebook to keep in the hoop loop!
And on that note, I invite you to hoop it up with me on fb, instagram or in class - we can keep each other warm this winter and discover how a plastic ring can truly send us in new directions<3 If you haven't signed up for my monthly email - filled to the brim with encouragement, hoop motivation and juicy hoop offerings that are being cooked up as I type - well what are you waiting for?! Hint: a fire workshop is just one of several things that will keep me warm this Winter!
Warmest of Hoop Hugs,
Carron is passionate about all things HOOP, improving your hoop dance practice and creating a hoop dance community!