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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Old School Hooping

Here are some clips I found from the 50s and 60s. Enjoy!


Friday, May 18, 2012

Lesson #6: The Vortex

You can learn this trick once you're confident doing the Corkscrew (see Lesson #5).

The Vortex involves moving the hoop from Lasso down to waist height (but not touching the waist), transferring it to the other hand behind your back and lifting it back up to Lasso again in a continual motion.

Again, I will explain this trick for those who hula hoop to their left (anti-clockwise), so if you hula hoop to the right reverse the hand and turning instructions.

Start with the hoop in Lasso in your left hand. Turn on the spot to your left and bring the hoop down over your head to waist height (similarly to the Corkscrew), but do not let go of the hoop or let the hoop touch your waist. Instead, transfer the hoop to your right hand behind your back and, while continuing to turn to your left and leading with the elbow, lift the hoop back up to Lasso.

The Vortex takes a lot of practice (and a lot of hitting yourself in the face)...but once perfected it looks very graceful and impressive.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Lesson #5: The Corkscrew

You can learn this trick once you're confident hooping around the waist and doing the Lasso (see Lesson #4).

The Corkscrew can be learnt in two parts. First moving the hoop from your waist up to the Lasso, and second moving the hoop from the Lasso back down to your waist.

I will explain this trick for those who hula hoop to their left (anti-clockwise), so if you hula hoop to the right reverse the hand and turning instructions.

Start with the hoop spinning around your waist to the left. Place your right hand on the centre/small of your back and let the hoop move over it. Leaving your hand in place, start turning on the spot to your left. Then, when you feel the hoop move over your right hand grasp it and, while continuing to turn to your left and leading with the elbow, lift the hoop above your head so that you are now doing the Lasso.

Then, while doing the Lasso with the hoop in your right hand, start turning on the spot to your left. While continuing to turn, lower the hoop back down over your head to your waist and give it a big push.

This trick is hard to get your head around at first...but practice makes perfect!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Lesson #4: The Lasso

The Lasso is hooping around your hand with your arm held straight above your head and the hoop spinning on a horizontal plain. You can practice this with your arm held out in front of you and the hoop spinning vertically around your hand first, then move onto the Lasso when you're feeling more confident. The aim is to have the hoop spinning as flat as possible above your head.

To come into Lasso start with the hoop in your right hand if you hoop to the left, and your left hand if you hoop to the right. Hold the hoop out in front of you and start to turn in the direction you hoop in, then slowly bring the hoop in towards your chest and up over your head. As you turn and bring the hoop above your head you want the hoop to roll across your thumb and into the palm of the hand. While doing the Lasso the hoop should remain between your thumb and your forefinger at all times! 

Once you're confident doing this trick in one hand, practice it with the other hand, transferring the hoop from one hand to the other. You can also try turning while doing this move.

The Lasso is useful for more advanced tricks, such as the Corkscrew and the Vortex.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Lesson #3: The Tutu

You could do an entire hooping routine with off the body tricks. The Tutu is a good place to start.

Hold the hoop horizontally out in front of you in your right hand with the palm of your hand facing down. Move the hoop across the front of your body and pass it to your left hand (palm also facing down), and then move the hoop behind your body and transfer the hoop back to your right hand (palm still facing down). Continue this motion as if you were creating an imaginary tutu around your waist.

Once you're comfortable with the Tutu move, you can also lift up your right leg (either in front or behind you) and pass the hoop under your leg, then follow by lifting the left. The more flexible you are the more impressive this trick looks, so I recommend stretching beforehand.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Lesson #2: Turning with the hoop

Once you're comfortable and confident hooping around your waist, you can try walking forwards and backwards with the hoop.

You can also try turning with the hoop. If you hoop to the left, start turning to the left and the hoop will move slower (if you hoop to the right, turn to the right). Turning this way will help you with later tricks (I feel like I'm constantly turning in my routines). 

Then try turning in the opposite direction to the way you hoop, so if you hoop to the left turn to the right, and if you hoop to the right turn to the left. This will be a lot harder as the hoop moves faster. I rarely use this move, but it's still fun to try.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Lesson #1: Hooping around the Waist

Hula hooping is not an easy thing to learn or teach (especially in text), so I will try to be as eloquent and straightforward as possible in my lesson posts. Be patient when you're learning a new trick, hula hooping is not a skill you learn overnight. And remember...HAVE FUN!

Ok, first things first. When hooping around the waist you want to be standing up straight with feet shoulder width apart. Hold the hoop against the small of your back so that when you push it around your body it will start spinning around your waist, or the thinnest part of your torso. To give the hoop the best chance of staying up, you want to give it a nice steady push so that the hoop is as horizontal or flat as possible.

Then, imagine that you have a large pencil extending from your nether regions down to the ground, and move your hips in a circular motion as if you were drawing a circle on the ground. Some people find it easier putting one foot in front of the other and moving their hips in a thrusting motion. It works best when you simply don't think about it at all...just let your body get into a rhythm and go with the flow! Find what works for you and eventually, with practice, you can sharpen your skills to have your feet together (looks nicer), and keep the hoop going with smaller, more graceful movements of your hips.

I practiced hooping around my waist for over 6 months before moving onto other hoop tricks. A good foundation will help you with more advanced moves.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Match Made in Montreal

While I was living in Montreal last year I teamed up with another Australian performing artist, the beautiful singer/songwriter/ guitarist Madeline Leman. Maddy describes herself as "a spicy mixed bean wrap of folk/acoustic/pop with a fresh side of country". She seamlessly combines poetic lyricism with soulful melodies to create a mesmerising stage presence. And her lusciously long auburn locks (and I mean LONG) never fail to captivate a crowd.

Maddy and I performed at local organic markets, including Marché Fermier and the McGill Farmers' Market, until it was too cold for Maddy to finger pick and my hoop turned to ice. We were accompanied on occasion by the talented Derek Harrison. 

Check out Madeline's Facebook page HERE and her Sound Cloud HERE.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Tandem Hooping

Ah...the moment when two people jump inside one of my hoops and thrust their bodies in unison in an attempt to tandem hoop. I want to tell them it wont work, and that you need a REALLY BIG hula hoop designed for two people, but I just don't have the heart. Besides, it's too darn entertaining to watch them try.

Here are some ladies showing us how it's done.

And I am officially trying to get my hands on a large tandem hoop for next festival.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wonders of the World Wide Web

Aspiring hoopists, YouTube is your best friend.

In Melbourne, although hooping is gaining popularity, it is not a cheap or easily accessible skill to learn face to face. Classes that I recommend are House of Burlesque in Fitzroy, Puzzle Dust Circus in North Carlton and Prahran, and the NICA Short Course in Prahran.

But if you want to save your money and learn some basic skills, YouTube is definitely the way to go. I recommend this charming American lady (see videos below). Don't be put off by her pink double tracksuit and tramp stamp, she teaches everything from hooping basics to advanced hoop dance moves, and breaks them down in a really simple and easy way to understand. What's more is you have the liberty to pause, rewind and watch them over and over.

I maintain that my best tricks were learnt from YouTube.

And remember, bruises are normal. When I was learning bruises would pop up on my hands, hips, arms, knees, neck and nose! (And still do.) YOU ARE GOING TO HIT YOURSELF IN THE FACE. It's all part of the learning process.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Winter is Coming

When it comes to hooping the golden rule is the less clothes the better! The more skin you show, the more the hoop will grip and gracefully move up and down your body. This is part of the reason why it's so hard to keep motivated throughout the Winter.

I experienced this to the extreme while living in the brutally chilling yet beautiful Montreal. In Melbourne I can occasionally brave the cold and venture outside to practice, but in Montreal I was strictly confined to inside hooping...unless I wanted to lose some fingers and toes.

My advice to combat the Winter time...practice inside, strip down and turn up the heating! On the bright side, hooping inside with space restrictions sharpened my skills and meant I learned a lot more isolation and shoulder moves (see video below).

Check out my other videos on my YouTube channel HERE.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Spin on Street Art

Here is some cutting-edge hooping. This is the graduation piece of No Mi Che from NICA (National Institute of Circus Arts) titled "Oroborus". The performance was held in 2007 in Centre Place, home to some of Melbourne's most reputable street art. No Mi Che spins her paint injected hula hoops around the canvas and paper clad lane, and finishes with a shower in paint reminiscent of the infamous Flashdance scene...or perhaps more of Nickelodeon Slime Time.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Hoop Hunting?

Looking for a place to buy hoops? I recommend two stores in Melbourne. The first is The Singing Whale in North Fitzroy, where I bought my first hula hoop and many of my childhood delights.  They are open 7 days a week and stock a variety of colours and sizes (I recommend the large) as well as weighted and non-weighted hoops.

The second is Juggle Art in Collingwood, a family business that has been manufacturing and distributing performing art products for decades.They are open Monday to Friday and stock a range of hooping gear, including aluminium hoops, circus hoops, dance and travel hoops, glohoops, hoop tape and hooping DVD's!

Another option is online at Coola Hoops or Etsy! Although postage is quite pricey.

When it comes to the question of weighted or non-weighted hoops, it really depends on what level you're at and what you want to get out of hooping. Personally, I prefer non-weighted for fluid hoop dance moves and multiple hoop tricks. But some beginners prefer weighted hoops for learning the basics, particularly hooping around the waist. Not to mention they'll give you abs/buns of steel!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Balancing Act

This is Gypsy Gomez. She is the daughter of my hula hoops coach from NICA...and she is incredible. Performing for the Silver Circus, she spins up to 50 hula hoops while balancing on a GIANT disco ball.

Unfortunately my disco ball balancing skills are still a work in progress.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sofar Sounds: Melbourne

Last night I performed at the elusive Sofar Sounds, a movement bringing music lovers together in secret living room locations to experience some of the world's most cutting edge artists. These pop up gigs are held in 15 cities across 5 continents. Sofar Sounds aims to create an intimate and spellbinding atmosphere, which was gloriously achieved by Hannah, Leyla and the Sofar team at Melbourne's second show last night.

Four bands performed in a living room in Brunswick, with the venue address released the day before the gig and band names kept under wraps until the night! And Sofar Sounds does not disappoint. The performances were hypnotising and the energy electric.

The innovative concept began in London in 2009, and is dedicated to bringing the best of new music to unplugged and intimate private settings. It was an absolute pleasure to add my performance piece to the mix.

Stay tuned for photos and footage.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Record Breaking Hooping

I have often thought, in times of boredom and procrastination, maybe I could attempt the world record for continuous revolutions of a hula hoop. Surely it would be doable...right?


The current World Record is nearly 75 hours! That's more than 3 days! This begs the question, how ever did the record holder go to the toilet? But on closer inspection of the rules, it is stated you are allowed rest breaks of 5 minutes per you ample time to do your business.

I think my main hindrance would be 3 days of sleep deprivation. Without my regular 8 hours a night I'm an absolute zombie...but could I still hoop?

Perhaps for the 40 Hour Famine in August I'll attempt 40 hours of hula hooping, and then work my way up to the big 75. Would you sponsor me?

Check out some other hula hooping record breakers below, including largest spun hula hoop, running a 10 kilmetre marathon while continuously hooping, and hooping underwater (huh?).

Monday, April 16, 2012

Donations for Rotations

Busking is the perfect way to practice hooping in front of an audience, see which tricks impress and which don't...and of course earn a bit of poo change on the side. Although I do get funny looks at times, it occasionally proves to be quite the money maker.

Here is a clip and photos of me busking at Charles St Artists Market in Brunswick, and some photos from Fitzroy Market where I will be performing this Saturday 21st March!

Seen me around? I've also busked at the Sydney Rd Street Party and Abbotsford Convent Markets.

Check out my other videos on my YouTube channel HERE.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


I thought I would share with any aspiring hoopists out there this video of Klara Lova, who first seduced me with her mesmerising flow. Combining some desert hooping, fire hooping and pretty flash video transitions, I could not tell you how many times I've watched this.

I've also thrown in a hoop dance performance piece from Mona "Shpongled Hoops", one from "Shakti Sunfire" performed in Colorado, and an act from Cirque du Soleil's Alegria performed by the joint defying Elena Lev. They always seem to get me in the zone.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hooping in the Making

This was my first hooping video filmed in 2010, back when I had a backyard big enough to accommodate hooping...oh the perils of inner city living. The video was later featured on (little to my knowledge).

I also featured in an ad while I was in Montreal last year for Sid Lee Collective in collaboration with Une Banane and Elektrek ClothingClick HERE to watch the "making of" video.

And you can check out my YouTube channel HERE

Another video coming soon!!! Any suggestions for theme/ costume/ music? Post a comment here or on my Facebook page.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Boogie Sixxxxx

Described as a "boutique camping festival committed to providing diversity in music, arts, booze and food", Boogie runs over the Easter long weekend on a breathtaking farm in Talarook. 

This year was my second year performing at Boogie, and possibly my best show yet. Hula hooping at the "Hill Billy" After Party stage each of the three nights was exhilarating to say the least.

Boogie, what can I say. Those were three magical days and nights that I wish I could live over and over. And I'm sure that 999 other people would agree with me. But alas, we must return to reality and live out another 353 days until we can once again fall under your spell.

Thank you to all those who continue to make Boogie possible.