Recently I have seen many posts like the following on various Facebook groups
“So I’ve been hooping for a while(almost 4 years), and know a ton of tricks, but I have such a hard time dancing and “flowing”! How do I find my flow???”
Reading through the wonderfully helpful comments I also felt the need to offer my own.
My hoop story was a little different. For the first year or two I just wanted to dance inside my hoop to really loud, cranking dance music. Never a trained dancer, unless you consider countless dance floors around the world to be training, I just loved music and moving my body. In my mind that is exactly what dance is. Movement, expression and emotion to music or beats that you love.
“Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are great because of their passion.” – Martha Graham
As hoop dance evolved and more trickery came into my hoop world I noticed two things happening.
1. My natural dance took some what of a back seat to nailing tricks.
2. My own natural dance inside the hoop started to morph into movements inspired by others. Grateful for all the learning I really wanted to retain my own style, so I started to play with a few methods to amplify my own hoop dance.
“Dance is your pulse, your heartbeat, your breathing. It’s the rhythm of your life. It’s the expression in time and movement,in happiness, joy, sadness and envy.” – Jaques D’Amboise
Here are some of the ways that I maintained the dance in my hoop and explored it even more deeply. You might find them useful in your playtime.
Cut out the tricks. When we focus so much on drilling and perfecting tricks our energy goes into that and we can feel stuck in the mud with our dance. A method I like to use is Trick Restriction. The following video is an example of that. In this video I hold the hoop with only one hand in one place for the whole track and focus on the movement the rest of my body makes. Drawing the hoop in close and extending it out and away from my body is a simple hoop dance technique that makes use of space, creates new shapes and encourages my body to move/dance without doing any “tricks” at all.
Letting go in life and in hoop dance is something most of us are often striving for so it is definitely always a work in progress. But I often find that when I am not really thinking about what I want or need to do when practicing or if I am chatting while hooping at a jam certain repetitive movements come out that initially don’t “make sense”, they are not constructed, they are simply a natural sequence of movements.
This week’s tutorial is a perfect example. Try out one of my natural pieces of flow and see how it might alter movement with your hoop.
I will never forget the first time I successfully shoulder hooped after months of trying. I was getting so frustrated and just figured it would never happen for me. Then one day I decided to go and hoop somewhere I had never been before, changed my environment. And a track came on my iPod that I didn’t often hoop to, it was much more chilled than usual. And suddenly something shifted in my hooping, I had a major break through.
You know how they say if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got…or something like that. Well I am a huge believer in shaking things up and shifting stuff around to discover newness in your hoop dance and flow.
This video is a cool example of that for me. I was given this song in the hooping game, I stepped into a new space that I don’t often play in, I switched on this super chilled but beautiful track and found new movement and flow.
Develop your own Flow Sessions (sequences of hoop moves). Capture the sequence of tricks/moves by writing them down or by repeating them in order until they are physically memorised. Once you have a Flow Session that you feel in love with, inject dance into it. By that I mean move your feet, turn your body, express with your arms, take up space, match the moves to the beat, play with the pace of the tricks, use emotion or imagery to express the feeling of the Flow Session.