From its humble Australian beginnings, to a pop-culture phenomenon, to its prevalence in circus culture, and now re-emerging in the Gong as Hoop Fitness, the hoop has done the loop courtesy of local gal, Heidi “Hoops” Hillier.
Heidi teaches locally when she is at home, on the beach and at fitness centres, runs a summer hoop workshop in the Rocks Annual Village Bizarre Festival in Sydney, and has just completed presenting new work for one of Australia’s biggest circus festivals, The Hoopla Festival in Darling Harbour.
“Hula Hooping is fun and a great core work out. It will strengthen your back and abdominal muscles.” says Heidi, “Combined with fitness drills, it’s the perfect way to tone your bum, legs and arms. Hula hooping challenges your mind and releases endorphins which helps to live longer, happier lives.”
Heidi is now conducting one hour Hoop Fitness classes on Saturday mornings from 9am at Sandon Point Headland (next to carpark, under the big tree), starting from tomorrow, Saturday 6th April (and remaining saturdays in April – bookings essential) – hoops provided!
“This 1 hour class involves core skill building, multiple hoops, fitness drills and additional thrills – like laughing and enjoying a magnificent view with like minded and lovely people.”
Heidi Hoops’ Ten Tips on How to HOOP like a pro:
What props or equipment are essential for your craft?
Hula Hoops, obviously. Stacks of them. Big ones, small ones, thick ones, thin ones, plastic ones, metal ones, and cane ones. There are hoops for kids, adults, hand tricks, multiples, juggling, body hooping, hoop dancing and they come in lots of wonderful colours, plain, sparkly and striped…even glow in the dark.
Also a well balanced set of heels and of course a good costume or outfit is absolutely essential and possibly half the point! Although, anyone who has tried to move a hula hoop up the body knows it’s easier to hula hoop if you’re actually naked!
How much training per day, and for how many years, do you need to put in to get to your level?
2-3 hours a day of solid technical hoop drills for a couple of years got me on my way, but the longer you keep training or the more you train, the higher the skill you can master, it all depends on what your goals are. But there’s also tricks to learn and bizillions of sequences to explore to make you a master of the Hula Hoop so it’s a full time commitment!
If you had to single out 3 characteristics that you need to be ….
….a good performer what would they be?
- Vulnerability, its more important and useful than ego, but with it you will need a thick skin.
- A desire to share and make people happy.
- A good imagination.
..A good hula hooper what would they be?
- Persistence (Repetition is key)
- co-ordination (although I slipped through the cracks!)
- Finesse (style is essential).
Don’t try this if you hate smiling or feeling good. Hula Hooping releases endorphins – it’s up there with chocolate, dancing and sex.
What sets the average … apart from the exceptional … is:
Imagination! It’s a creative art form, in my opinion, not just a spectacle. Sure we want to see all the big amazing cool tricks but it’s far more exciting if it’s delivered with intention, enthusiasm and some original ideas. When a performer is one with their, hoop, character, costume, concept, movement and audience – its like the heavens have opened!
(Please indicate any annoyances, difficulties, or hazards of your craft).
HOOPS DON’T TRAVEL WELL. Walking through crowds with a trolley full of hoops. Its not for the faint hearted, you’ve got to be assertive and pushy. And it’s devastating when they wont go through that door, up those stairs or in that lift – or worse, if they come loose and roll down the road…all 30 of them!
HOOPS ARE ADICTIVE! Each trick leads to the next and, as there are infinite tricks, before you know it your hooked!
HOOPS ARE DANGEROUS! Being hit on the nose or in the teeth with a hula hoop kills, but it is just part of the apprenticeship! Once I gave myself a black eye and a split lip.
DEMOLISH YOUR HOUSE! If you practice in your lounge room, you can smash up your house! I know a girl who lost her rental bond for hoop gouges in the cement roof!
SLIPPERY WHEN WET!
Once I saw a hooper friend of mine perform in a torrential downpour in Austria because the audience didn’t want her to stop. The more it rained, the more ridiculous and difficult it got, and the more they enjoyed the show. I was deeply impressed as she continued to her hula hoop finale with her 3 volunteer assistants. They were drenched, she was drenched, her wig was so wet it just fell off and her sound system was sitting in a flash flood river, the hoops were flying like saucers but she finished the show and was a hero! The crowd went nuts.
Please draw a diagram, take a picture or add in a visual which best describes a basic move/trick/pose in your act. Be as creative as you want! (even a link to a video, website could be added here).
A sure way to look like a amateur whilst performing is:
Looking self-conscious or reacting to mistakes. You need to practice so much that you automatically do the tricks so you can focus your attention on performing and connecting with the audience –that’s what its all about in the end, the audience and their experience. And make sure the hoops are freshly taped and look great with your outfit – it’s a dead give away if they look like they’ve been attacked by the dog.
No matter what, don’t forget to:
Pack your hoops on the way to a gig!
One last golden piece of advice you’d offer to the aspiring hula hooper is:
Technique it everything! But once you mastered it, toss it aside and make art!