Hooping in the 21st Century


As a regular 19 year old college student Samantha is in the midst of starting adulthood. She wakes up daily stressing over what exam is when, where, and what she should be studying. As an almost straight ‘A’ student pursuing her dream to become a shark behaviorist she does not have much time on her hands to do some things she loves. With becoming an adult she works a part time job and has 14 credits in her hands before the semester ends. In her free time she is usually hanging out with friends, doing homework, going to music festivals, and enjoying the outdoors. Lately, she has picked up a new hobby that she has never been so excited for in her life. She picked up hula hooping. Yes, hula hooping, and it is not the ordinary hula hooping originated from the 50’s. This style of hooping involves tricks, and levitation of the hoop itself, and much practice.

Many people sam1are familiar with hula hooping because it has been around for so long. On the website dedicated to hula hoop industry we can learn that in the 1950’s the toy manufacture Wham-O invented the so called hula hoop that put a spin on a fun hobby that many children part took in. Astoundingly, Wham-O sold more than 100 million Hula Hoop’s in the first twelve months on the market, and even that wasn’t enough to meet the demand. The demand of this hobby was one our grandparents will never forget. Shortly after the 50’s the hula hoop died down, but today we start to see the hula hoop evolve once again, but in its own culture. May people including Samantha have dedicated time and effort to evolve the hula hoop into its own culture that it is today. Not to mention hooping has found its way into mainstream gyms and studios as a fun and effective form of exercise.

After the hula hoop died down in the 60’s many people probably thought they would never see the day again where people kept there selves occupied with a plastic hoop. On the website swarming with information about hula hoop history we can give a special thanks that goes out to the String Cheese Incident jam band that played a major role in restoring hooping. Band members have been throwing hoops into their audience since the mid 90’s encouraging fans to dance/hoop, spreading the word and fun. Similarly, since 2003 the annual Burning Man Festival of arts and freedom in the northern Nevada desert has been a hotbed of hooping, providing an uninhibited and clothing-optional forum for hoopers from all around the world, to share tricks, techniques and energy. See there is a similarity with the hooping Samantha part takes in. She considers herself part of the rave culture, where people come together listen to music, and spread the word of peace, love, unity, and respect. As a hooper this is how she shows the slogan P.L.U.R. as part of the rave culture she associates with.

As a young adult Samantha faces many challenges, just like anyone trying to find themselves. As a child she did ballet, wasn’t for her. She played soccer, didn’t like it. She even tried basketball, and once again did not stick with it. As a hooper she has found that she has an incredible amount of passion for it. It is the first and only thing she has found in her life that she 110% enjoys doing, and has stuck with it. She described hooping as moving meditation. It is something that she enjoys doing because it keeps her calm, busy, and her attention is always there, not to mention it boosted her confidence. It encourages her to improve anywhere in life.

The evolved way of hula hooping has come a long way. It doesn’t just involve the normal hula hooping you think of, around the waist and seeing how long you can keep it there. The new way of hooping involves tricks around the neck, waist, feet, arms, elbows, wrists, torso, and practically anywhere on the human body where a hoop could make a circle. These tricks include tossing the hoop, rolling it, and levitating it so it looks as if the circular hoop isn’t even moving. Watching someone hoop is rather mesmerizing. In Schulman’s article he talks about the first time watching someone hoop. “There was something very peaceful in the movement, something hypnotic almost.” The movement that these hoopers undertake are rather smooth and transitional making it hard to not watch sometimes and rather entertaining.

With becoming a hooper herself, Samantha finds herself frustrated at times. She will go hours on end practicing to get a new trick down that she has watched videos of online. Most of the tricks and so called stunts with the hoop is learned through watching videos of other hoopers online. She finds it rather fun getting ideas from people she hopes to be as good as some day. She watches videos of her inspirations including Rachael Sullivan, and Rachel Lust. Samantha also follows them over social media and watches their videos on YouTube. Everything she has learned to this day has come with self-teaching skills. She doesn’t have a teacher or many other people she knows that hoops. Basically she has taken it upon herself to improve and learn new tricks to perform daily. Self-taught skills requires a tremendous amount of patience, and many hours of practice.

Hooping has allowed Samantha to find peace within herself but it also has become a gateway to connect with other people. She has connected with many other hoopers across the states sharing videos and tricks with each other to get different ideas out of one another. Just like any other hobby, hooping has caused Samantha to make friendships and connect with other people, and some people even reach out to her to get a teaching lesson or two. Without a doubt she loves to teach and share with people what she has learned and passing it down person to person.

With hoping to become ‘good enough’ to perform someday in front of a huge audience she tries to take as much free time out of her days to hoop that she can. It is hard for her to hoop inside so outside is really her only option when getting tricks down. She will try to practice five to six hours per week, maybe even more depending on the weather and well her schedule, but she always finds some amount of time to spend hooping. While practicing she enjoys listening


to music to get the rhythm going. She listens to anything, from Pink Floyd to house music while she hoops. She finds that the more she hoops in a given time the easier it is for her to get a trick down. Practice is key! She has only been hooping for about four months now, and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

With hooping there comes variety. Anywhere from the hoops itself, to the type of hooping an individual part takes in. Surprisingly hoops can be more complicated than they seem. When Samantha started hooping she found it easier to use a lighter hoop rather than a heavier one to get the ease of the hoop itself. Now she finds herself using a heavier hoop because she has got the hang of it. In all they’re all different kinds of hula hoops nowadays including adult hoops, travel hoops (that are collapsible), professional dance hoops, fire hoops, and L.E.D hoops. Samantha has four different hoops that she uses. The lightest of them all is just a regular hula hoops, two others are a little bigger but have tape on them for design, and the last one that she has is an L.E.D hoop that she likes to use in the dark to give people a light show with flashing fluorescent colors.

Hooping in the 21st century has come a long way, and has taken some time to do. There is nothing to thank but the rave culture and its posi


tivity to do whatever your mind is up to do. Samantha encourages people to part take in hooping and have it become even more popular than it was back in th


e day. Not many people know of the new dance way of hooping, but watching it in amazement makes you almost appreciate the little things in life, and to appreciate others hobbies like if it was your own. It may not be all that easy but like Samantha said “You can do anything you put your mind too” and that is just what she did when it came down to hooping. She found something that not only entertained herself, but gave way to a connection with other individuals on more of a spiritual level. She hopes one day that people will consider thinking outside of the box, and opening their realm on other hobbies not because they like it, but they appreciate it.



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