First Herndon Hoop Class Starts in One Week!

My first hoopdance class at the Herndon Community Center starts next week. I’m a little anxious but mostly excited. I know I’ve got at least eight people in the class already. Woo! There’s still time to sign up, so if anyone is looking for a beginning hoopdance class in Herndon, VA, head over to the Herndon Community Center to sign up. It’s $70 for in-town residents and $93 for out of town residents.

A video from this morning’s practice, for your viewing pleasure. The first move I did was the sliding door (front).


I’ve been working on some new tricks. Some are cool, big tricks, others are simple things I’d like to add into my regular moves, such as breaks and reversals. I spent a while today working on the sliding door trick. It’s feeling better and I can finally do it from the side, rather than just the front, though it’s better going right to left, than left to right. I worked on the continuous sliding door too, but that’s tough. I’ll get there. Other things I’m working on are (still) bunny ears and (still) elbow attack, as well as working to do better angles and barrel rolls. There’s been some other stuff in there too.

I haven’t made a hoop in a while, and on Monday I kinked my first hoop. It was a cheapie 1/2″ PE 125psi hoop that was horribly decorated. It was sort of a fluke hoop that I made a long time ago and ended up liking. Now I need to either cut it down and reconnect it or take out the connector and use it in another hoop. I’m itching to make some new hoops and I still have lots of pex and a bunch of 1/2″ PE so I think I’ll do some this weekend, but I really want to go buy some more 3/4″ PE and get some more tapes.

I’m still waiting on my level four DVD, my hoop technique DVD and my minis DVD from Hoopnotica. I ordered them three or so weeks ago, but since the minis DVD isn’t finished yet they aren’t shipping it out until it is. I’m eagerly awaiting them! Though there’s plenty to work on in the meantime. I get most of my moves from YouTube videos and tutorials, but I really like to have  the DVDs as a sort of catalog of sorts. Reference materials.

I’m also trying to figure out if I want to keep the New Balance/Vibram shoes I got or get a pair of Vibram Classics. I think I really want Vibrams, so I’ll probably bring the New Balances back. They’re more for running anyway.

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Anticipation

I teach my first class in less than 10 days. It’ll be a test class at Aol’s Dulles headquarters. I’m anxious but excited.

I really need to work on a couple curriculums. I’d like to do a normal hoopdance instruction one and then a more fitness-oriented one. I need to go through at least 12 classes, since that’s how many I’m doing for the community center. Then I can develop more as I go on. I’d love to do classes focused on just flow and maybe kids classes.

Video from today’s practice.

July: Both Busy and Slow

July was an off month.

I took it easy with my regular job most of the month, because I work a lot during the fall, spring and winter, so I let myself do just above the minimum, squeaking by most days. It was a nice change of pace. Got to do what I want. Sleep a little more. See my friends more.

I also started performing with my hoops. I performed at the Town of Herndon’s Fourth of July Celebration and at Reston Festival, where I did street and (impromptu) stage performances. It was fantastic and really helped me build my confidence to hoop in front of a crowd. Now that I’ve done it, I think I can hoop in front of just about anyone. Here’s some of the Reston Festival photos.

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Last week I completed my Hoopnotica teacher training exams. They were grading them today, so then I’ll just be waiting on my results and hopefully by next week I’ll be certified! I’m pretty excited about this.

During the month of July I also didn’t practice nearly as much as I was before. I wasn’t feeling it. Plus the temperatures here were ungodly hot. Like the day it was 106 degrees with a heat index of 120. I didn’t even want to hoop inside the community center. I didn’t push myself to progress or learn any new moves. And though I felt a little guilty (am I not as into it as I thought I was…?), I told myself, it’s fine not to push myself to the limits all the time. It’s cool. Relax. Take a break. You’ll be into it again soon.

And so the past week has been all about getting back into daily practices and having fun and learning new moves—and suddenly I’m really excited again. I’ve (finally!) learned how to solidly one-leg hoop. It feels so amazing to get that down. I started working on that one in like April. I learned a couple other moves on how to get out of knee hooping as well that are really cool.

My first hooping classes at the Herndon Community Center start in just a month and a half. But wait! There might be more! I might have classes as soon as August 15! I approached my employer (well the parent company of my employer, Aol) and suggested I try teaching a couple hoopdance classes at their headquarters, which I live fairly close to and they’re totally interested. I hope it works out well! And the Reston Community Center is really interested too.

Looks like a hobby I love might actually earn me a little cash. In the meantime, here’s a video I took today.

It’s Been a While

A lot has been going on, but mostly I’m trying to enjoy the summer. I swear I’ll update soon—but for now I’ll leave a before and after photo of my dog’s first haircut. He’s Gordie Howe; the half-Schnauzer wonder-mutt. I miss his fluffiness, but I’m sure in this 100-degree heat he’s happy to be a bit more unencumbered by lots of fur.

A Great Weekend for Hooping

I had a blast this weekend in my hoops.

On Friday we ended up going to Friday Night Live, where the weather was gorgeous. It was packed so I couldn’t hoop until about 9:30 p.m. when the crowd with young kids started clearing out. I brought out the glow hoop immediately and got a ton of oohs and ahhs and people cheering me on. It was great, and I handed out a couple business cards after to people who asked about it.

Saturday we went to the Northern Virginia Brewfest in Leesburg. Brought my hoops, of course. Spent a good amount of time trying beers, ate some lunch, then spent a lot of the afternoon/evening hooping. I impressed a couple crowds, got a free drink because of it (though I originally turned it down—I can’t drink and hoop very well and I was full from eating dinner/lunch).

I handed out a BUNCH of business cards, which felt great, and had a lot of people ask me about classes, hoops and how the heck I learned to do it. One woman even bought a hoop from me—I made it today so now I have to get it to her. The brunette lady who likes green. I can’t wait to get it to her. I hope she likes it. Here it is!

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Today we got a lot done. Laundry. Cleaning. Covered a fire for work (I’m a journalist). Went to Kohl’s and traded the Nu Wave Oven we got for Christmas in for a new toaster, a vacuum and a bathroom scale. Went to Home Depot to get info on tiling the patio. I bought 200 feet of pex tubing (in 1/2″ and 3/4″), couplers and a pop riveter. I made four hoops tonight (well, remade two). I also put together another four naked hoops that are ready for taping. Time to get ready for work tomorrow and go to sleeeeep. I love sleep.

Bunny Ears! Freakin’ Bunny Ears!

Soooo… I decided on a whim to try bunny ears today. I tried it once before but it seemed so difficult at the time I stopped after just a few attempts. Today I spent a little bit of time doing it over and over, remembering Babz advice (bend over with a flat back!), and a lot of pointers to myself (stick your elbow up! not your arm, your elbow!). The result was a success!

I sort of can’t believe it. It’s a pretty hard trick. The first time I got it I was like, “Whoa. That just happened.” Then I was kicking myself for not having a camera on. I spent the next 15 minutes doing it over and over until it happened again, and got it three times. I wonder how long it’ll take me to do it again.

Practice, practice. Even when you get really frustrated with something you’re working on, there’s the potential for so much joy in hooping. It almost makes it better. When you’re thinking you’re stuck and you’ll never get it and suddenly that trick you’ve been slaving over happens. That moment of success, the feeling of triumph. The smile, laugh, shout, and joy radiates out of you.

Moar Hoops!

I want to make more hoops. I want more hoop tape. I want more tubing. I want a pop riveter. Today I took photos of all my tapes (which isn’t a ton) and a bunch of color combinations to put on my Facebook page so people could see them and get better ideas for what they might want. Here’s some of my favorites:

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I need vinyl tapes in yellow and pink. I really like my twins taped in vinyl and I’m afraid I won’t like them as much if I use gaffer and that’s all I have. I may try it anyway. Right now my twins look awful because they’re the first hoops I taped so they’re a hot mess. I do like the colors. Purple/orange and red/orange.But I think I’d like to do them in yellow, white and pink. It’d be a great look for the summer and reminds me of lemonade. I could do a white hoop with yellow and pink gaff and a yellow hoop with white and pink swirls. Or maybe make them both the same…

Need moar hoop supplies!!! Rawr!

I sort of practiced today. I just rocked in my living room for a few songs, then I practiced one-legged hooping (I suck at it, but am determined) and breaks, which I’m finally starting to get now that I’m working in smaller hoops. And actually trying. I haven’t really tried breaks in quite a while and I was still using 39-40″ hoops. Breaks don’t work well with massive hoops.

Twins, Jamming and Sliding Doors

Some random, thrown together footage of my practice from a couple days ago:

Tonight I went to Friday Night Live (www.herndonrocks.com) with Steve and some friends and brought along my hoops. Hooped most of the evening—it really all started when the rain came and everyone cleared out. Without the crowd I felt less self conscious and suddenly there was a lot of space to hoop in. Then I went a little nuts when they started to play “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by The Darkness. I was obsessed with that song in college.

Anyway, eventually the rain stopped I had an absolute blast hoopdancing barefoot in the wet grass. When it got dark enough, I got the courage up to bring out my LED hoop, attracting even more attention. People were so positive about it though. I’ve never hooped in front of that many people publicly and everyone was entranced, wanted to know more about it, cheered me on and thought it was so cool and unique. They loved it! Hoops make people smile.

There was one bad interaction, but it was just someone who was insisting their daughter be able to borrow my $150 LED hoop. Sorry, but only myself and those I trust get to use it. Eventually they dropped it, but the girl was using my regular hoops. Her grandma was saying she’d love to get her an LED hoop for her birthday so I directed her to MoodHoops since they’re priced so well, especially for something you might get a child.

Anyway, I loved getting to share my (regular) hoops with some cute little girls, and even some adult ladies tried them out. I love it that I can put a smile on people’s faces with something so simple. I hoop because I love it, I enjoy myself and it’s good for me. But it makes it even better when my hooping can make other people happy too.

More hooping tomorrow! Taste of Reston is taking place, and The Living Well Expo is part of it this year. There’s a hooper from the Manassas/Gainsville area, Tina B Hoopurr, who’s doing a hoop jam demo and I’m totally joining in. It’s just down the street and really, I just can’t help myself. If I can go out and hoop my booty off and meet other hoopers and teach others to hoop and share the love—I’ll be there.

This was taken when I first got my LED hoop. I wanted to get the pretty LED trails.

The Sound of Progress

“The sound of the hoop hitting the ground is the sound of progress.”
– Caroleeena

My hoops were hitting the ground a lot yesterday.

I finally went to practice at the community center where I would have some room to really move without worrying about hitting the television or watching for cars (I sometimes hoop in the parking lot at my condo).

I decided it would be fun to work on multiples and challenge myself with three hoops. I’ve dubbed it seizure hooping. It’s not elegant and it’s far from perfect but it’s a work in progress. The entire time I was still having a blast.

Often people will see the final result of hours of practice when hoopers do their thing in public. People don’t really see the learning process or how difficult or frustrating it can be, so I made this video to show some of that.

I was working on:
Two hoops – chest/waist, chest/knees, waist/knees, knees/halo, waist/halo, chest/halo
Three hoops – knees/chest/halo, waist/chest/halo

How I Ended Up in a Hoop

It was the Sunday before Valentine’s Day and I was reading Post Secret. There was a video on and the song in the video was by a band called Donora. I fell in love with the band and on Monday I started looking for more music by them when I came across the video for “I Think I Like You.”

When I saw the girl in the video I was entranced. I watched it again and again. I HAD to figure out how to learn to do that. I started YouTubing for more videos with hula hoops, then Googling hooping. I came across Hoopnotica’s website and ordered the beginner’s kit (blue and silver travel hoop, three instructional DVDs and two CDs of their own music mixes) plus an extra, regular hoop (the Desert Rose).

I couldn’t wait to get my new hoops in the mail. When my fiance came home I showed him the videos I’d found and talked to him about how excited I was to do it and how “maybe eventually I can teach classes!” He thought I was a little nuts but was thrilled to see me so excited about something outside of work (I’m a bit of a workaholic so he thought this would be a welcome release for me—it is.)

My new hoops came on Saturday night (Feb. 19—my hoopiversary) at 7 p.m. Right before we were to leave for a friend’s birthday party at a bar. Since we were on our way out the door, I opened the box and took everything out, pulled out the hoops and told my fiance to give me a few minutes to at least try out the hoops. It took a few tries but I could keep it on my waist for a few rotations. Yay! I was sad to leave my new hoops at home.

I came back home and the fiance went to bed and I popped in the first instructional DVD. I went all the way through it (mostly just watching since I couldn’t do some of the moves yet), and ended up hooping for about two hours, slightly tipsy, in the middle of the night. I was so sore I couldn’t pick up the hoop again for three days, but I was already hooked.

Since then I’ve hooped nearly every day for at least a half hour. Sometimes for up to three hours. My first public hooping experience was on March 27 at Lake Anne with a three-year hoop vet named Maddy. She’s amazing. That girl has skill. She was so encouraging and friendly and I kept in touch. Now I try to hang out with Maddy at the artisans market while she sells hoops and we hoop together.

To build up confidence and get comfortable hooping in public I’ve hooped a couple times on the town green, have brought my hoop to a couple outdoor concerts, hooped at the park near my house and yesterday hooped at Relay for Life. So far it’s been an amazing journey and I already love sharing it with others. I’m pretty sure I’m hooked for life.

Now, three months after starting my journey I’ve committed to getting Hoopnotica certified over the next few weeks and I start teaching my first hoopdance class in September. I’m anxious, I’m worried, but most of all I’m thrilled. I really feel that this is something that has improved my quality of life and I’ve lost weight—probably about 15 pounds now. I’m making my own hoops, I’m spreading the word, and hopefully I can help other people achieve their own hoop bliss. Or at least have a good time.

So if you’re ever out in Herndon or Reston and see me hooping away, come say hello. I usually have an extra hoop with me so you can even try it out if you want. My classes start on September 15 at the Herndon Community Center so visit www.herndon-va.gov and click on Parks and Recreation and look for the fall brochure. Classes will be about $70 for in-town residents for 10 weeks and $93 for non-residents.

Here’s a video featuring Hoopnotica:

And here’s one of my favorite videos that keeps me inspired to hoop:

Just to show you, EVERYONE can hoop. No matter your age, ability or size. The key is to have the right size hoop. Children’s hoops are for children and we use adult-sized hoops:

Not only have my hoops helped me gain confidence, relax and take my mind off of work, get creative and have fun, but I’m excited that I’m improving my health and body as well:

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