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The Evolution of Hooping

By: Ellie Williams
The Evolution of Hooping

by Modern Spaceman

11 months ago

Everyone is looking for a way to curb their anxieties and satisfy their soul. Here’s where hooping comes into play. Hula hooping has evolved from simple tribal rituals into a choreographed and mesmerizing art form, practiced by people of all ages, shapes, and sizes. Traditional wooden hoops were regarded as sacred to North American tribes and were used for healing ceremonies. Symbolizing the “never ending circle of life”, dances involving the hoop brought visions and clarity to the members of the tribe. These rituals quickly became a source of entertainment for westerners migrating to the US, pushing hoop performances into the commercial realm.

Hooping competitions, such as the Tony White Cloud Memorial World Championship Hoop Dance Contest, were heavily concentrated with Native American participants. This remained the case until the introduction of hooping fitness classes, which sparked the hobby of hooping in the western world. Now, hoops are made of reed and plastic hose instead of wood, making them easier to obtain and practice.

Modern hooping involves intricate body and footwork derived from dance, aerobics, and yoga. One of the few organized hula hoop groups in the US, Orbital Evolution, combines hooping with other tricks, such as juggling and comedy. This group performs during the day, but their evening performances are even more special. Their black light hoop shows are sweeping the entertainment industry of Tucson, Arizona and spreading to the Millennial's love for music and creativity.

As the prevalence of hooping at music festivals and on social media grows, the population of hoopers flourishes. We talked to a few hoopers to see how the artform affects theirs lives. One young hooper discovered her passion through the sea of social media. She explains, “I always saw a hoop as a circle, but really, it’s a medium for dancing.” When hooping, it’s all about the flow. Whenever she listens to music, she’s always thinking about which tricks and dances fit the beat. The bodily connection to music creates pure bliss and happiness. “When I’m hooping, no one can stop me; I can do whatever I want with the hoop.” Her love for hoops trickled through her inner circle and spread the hobby to others searching for an outlet of creativity, tranquility, and fitness fun! Modern hoppers alike perform for themselves and their personal motives, but are happily welcomed in music festival crowds due to the hypnotizing flow of the dancer.

Everyone has their own style and personalities, which applies to hooping as well. You can take one song and give it to five hoopers and they’re all going to give you a different execution. This chance for improvisation and individuality is one of the coolest parts of hooping. Each person masters their own tricks and methods, keeping the flow arts beautiful, malleable, and unique. Little do these modern hoopers know that they are practicing variations of traditional Native American dance rituals. Hooping isn’t only fun and entertaining; it’s an active hobby available to anyone with an old plastic hoop in their garage. It increases stamina and energy levels while also influencing mental acuity, balance of emotions, and blocked energy. So pick up your hoop, have fun, get fit, and find your flow!


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