Seven Steps To Begin Your Hoop Journey
Starting your own personal hoop journey is an exciting and daunting process. There is so much to learn and now that you are ready to get started, here are a few tips to get you going.
1. Find a good starter hoop.
If at all possible it is highly recommended to play around with a few sizes and types of hoops to see what works best for you, but if you do not have access to a variety of hoops to play with you can always try some of these suggestions.
You can go to almost any hoop company website and find a selection of starter or beginner hoops, these hoops are typically made out of ¾ PE.
¾ Refers to the thickness of tubing, and PE is a type of plastic tubing that is a little heavier than your standard dance hoop. This weight slows the hoop down when in use, and makes it easier to understand the motions needed to do certain tricks. Starter hoops typically have many tape options. Tape is extremely helpful for beginners because it adds even more weight to the hoop. Deco tape is used to add a little flair to the hoop and makes the circle just a little prettier, whereas grip tape helps the hoop stick to you.
But what size? Everyone is different, there is no “One Size Fits All” starter hoop but there are a few things you can do to find a good size for you! Measuring from the ground up to your belly button gives you a good starting point, but also keep in mind your body type. If you have a little more to love, add a few inches, and if you are on the smaller side you may want to subtract a few inches from that size.
If ordering online isn’t your thing, you have a couple other options.
You can go to your local hardware store and pick up some tubing (typically PEX or PE), tape (electrical tape, deco tape, or duct tape will all do just fine), a connector, and a tube cutter.
Simply cut the tubing to the size you need, soften the ends of the hoop by using either hot water or a blow dryer, place the connector in one end and then secure the other end with the connector. You will then spiral the tape evenly around the hoop, and you are ready to hoop!
Or, what I did for my first hoop was purchase a pre-made standard children’s hoop from any store. You start by find the staple that is keeping the hoop together and pull it out. If there is no staple you can simply drill a small hole in the hoop. You will then drain out all of the beads or water, and tape the hoop back together!
2. Get up and play.
Picking up the hoop and getting a feel for the circle is so important to gaining hoopspiration. You never know what you are capable of until you try, so pick it up and give it a whirl. How do you feel about the weight of the hoop, the size of the hoop? Can you spin the hoop on your arm, neck, or waist? Spend some time just holding it and getting a feel of what you will be working with. You will be surprised on what you can do just by picking it up and spending some time with your circle!
3. Get inspired.
Everyone has a different hoop style and watching others can help show you how different hoop dancers progress, and give you ideas on moves you want to try on your own! You are already in such a great place for inspiration because that is what Infinite Circles is all about. Read through the articles on this site, check out the face book group https://www.facebook.com/
and watch for featured videos on this site! If you see something you want to learn don’t hesitate to comment and ask, hoopers love to see others learn and are thrilled to point you in the right direction!
4. Reach out to your local hoop community.
There are hoopers all around the world, and chances are you have at least one or two in your area! Look up your state and the word hoopers (Example: California Hoopers) on Facebook and reach out! Attending a flow jam will not only give you tons of inspiration, an excuse to get out of the house, and a way to make new friends; it will allow you to connect better with the flow community at large.
Who knows, you may even have some hoop workshops in your area! Attending workshops is a great way to get ideas on new things to learn, feedback on technique, and a break down of what to do for some awesome tricks.
5. Look up tutorials.
If you are having a hard time finding workshops and local flow jams, or just prefer to learn on your own, have no fear the internet is here!!! If you are looking to learn a trick, there is most likely a tutorial for it. Be sure to check InfiniteCircles.Org each Tuesday for a new featured tutorial, or you can scroll through https://www.facebook.com/groups/ICtutorials/?ref=ts&
A few tricks to get you started hooping:
Sustained Spinning- Sustained spinning is something that is easy to learn and allows for a lot of personal creativity. Once you have down the basics you can add your own flair by adjusting where your hands sit, the speed that you move the hoop, and the placement of the hoop in connection with your body to create fun and interesting shapes.
Escalators- Escalators are one of my personal favorites, its just a flick of the wrist and a catch or two to create an illusion of the hoop traveling around your body. These are fun to do and have countless variations!
Anti- Spin Flowers- Anti Spin flowers are an great introduction to off body hooping because it allows you to really feel how the hoop responds to the slightest motion of the hand and gives you a chance to get comfortable with the weight of your hoop.
Waist Hooping and Vortexes- Hooping around your body comes naturally to some, and is incredibly difficult for others just be patient with yourself and try turning in a circle with the hoop and it will come to you with time! Once you have down waist hooping, try lifting it off your body above your head into a vortex!
In this video you can see the sustained spin, escalator, anti-spin flower, waist hooping, and vortex demonstrated along with some variations!
6. Record Yourself.
Watching yourself is an invaluable tool to getting started. Setting up a camera during a practice session can help you see what you love about yourself, and what still needs a little work. While watching the video I recommend choosing two things you like about what you see, and one thing to work on. You may love how your waist hooping and vortexes are coming along, but want to work on your hand placement during escalators.
7. Have Fun!
This is the most important thing to remember while starting your personal hoop journey. Many times you can become so focused on trying to nail that new trick that you forget that the process is supposed to be enjoyable. If you are becoming frustrated, try working on something else or change your scenery: find a new park to play in or experiment with new music! Just remember , the only time you are not “doing it right” is when you are not loving the process.
The entire Infinite Circles team is thrilled to have you here in our hoop community so please explore everything we have to offer. We are here to help and support you!
Here are some tutorials for the moves listed in the article
Sustained Spinning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byJXPnNCqxQ
Anti-Spin Flower: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3t7KWbeszaM
Waist Hooping: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DR0hc7lT0hE&list=PL0EEF724FB2FAB032