Updated: May 17
No matter where you are in your hoop journey, there's always an opportunity to grow. Here are some major tips that I hope will help you excel! These are tips I teach my students and utilise in my own performance practice. Points I found both through experience as a performer, but also some points that were passed on to me by someone else that I find useful. You will find this list is composed of both physical and creative challenges, but take what you need and leave what doesn't work for you.
& E n j o y ! x
Warm-up! Any style of hooping this should be vital, it'll help you avoid injury and aches, your body will thank you.
Practice BDSM: Body dynamics: change how and where you move your body, together or in parts. Use levels, extend, contract, and play with angles. Dance movement: find ways to connect your favourite dance moves or style with hoop tricks. Speed changes: Play with moving slow or fast, then mixing the two to create more power. Musicality: Use the music when you move. Consider this a new anthem!
If you're not, SPIN BOTH SIDES. You are developing muscles when you hoop, and if you're only hooping on one side expect it to be disproportionate. If you're hooping on your waist on one side, expect your waist to tilt and to walk lop sided (true story: this happened to me at one point).
Focus on your own journey: You don't need to compare yourself to others and you don't need to copy others. This may be easier said then done, however you can find barriers (i.e. limiting social media use) to keep yourself focused on you. You don't have to perform, you don't have to learn x trick to be a hooper, you can make up your own moves. Do what feels right for you.
Cross-training is the secret! If you're skilled in any form of dance or circus skill you probably saw that it translated well with hooping; strength, flexibility or contortion, dance for example go excellently. Hooping is such a universal tool, and you can up your game if you're multi-skilled. I'm not necessarily saying to combine these skills, you can, but even if you enjoy running or rock climbing, you'll find it helps support your hoop training. You might also find you pick up other skills and tricks easier.
Dear performers: train it like you're on stage. Once you have your act locked down, practice as if you were in front of the audience. Challenge your setting too, the audience isn't always *just* in front, so play with different angles to look out at.
If you hoop on your body, you should be training your core. I often hear hoopers, especially circus style hoopers, say their lower back hurts. If you want to get stronger at hooping on your body, you should be strengthening your abs and not relying on your lower back muscles to do all the work.
8. Use a mirror...also don't use a mirror. I was grateful for this tip when I first started hooping, and maybe you need to hear it. Take mirrors as a luxury; when you have it, take advantage of looking at your moves so you can adjust technique and style. Don't be afraid to look at yourself! However, it's important to not get too attached, it won't always be there and it's important to be confident with moving with self-awareness of your own body.
9. Challenge your footwear, it's a game changer...the end.
10. Don't be afraid to slow down. I'm not talking about just flow hooping, but any style of hooping. Slow down your drills or try slowing down your sequence of tricks. Slowness equals time to process what you're doing and your chance to build real strength and control without relying on fast movement.
11. Seek Critique from an outside eye, if you're a performer. Ask someone who knows how to give critique and understands what you're trying to achieve. A fresh set of eyes might catch what you may have missed. This can be a professional performer, a director, or someone who would be in the audience. Ask the right questions and find ways you can excel and not just receive a "that was great!". Just be willing to grow.
12. It's not that deep, like the first point it's your own journey. A hoop is a hoop is a hoop. Remember why you wanted to start hooping and remember to play.
Find any of these useful or have any new points you would add? I'd love to hear! Post them in the comments or tag me on social media.