“This is My Flow” by Tiana Zoomer

Jonathan Baxter’s Hoop Path Retreat No. 7, officially named “HP7: Sangha,” took place in the American town of Carrboro, North Carolina on June 20 to 23 this year. To open the show, attendees were blessed with not only an outstandingly artistic performance, danced to a beautiful choice in music, but also an incredible display of poetic ability by one Ms. Tiana Zoomer. Thank goodness those of us living oceans away can be there in spirit thanks to Youtube and whoever took the effort to record it all! Tiana’s words moved me as much as her dance. Mind, I do laugh and cry easily, but suffice it to say that this did it for me, and I hope it does for you, too, if you haven’t yet had the pleasure. Her video follows the transcription of her poem below:

“This is my flow”

This is my flow.
There are many like it,
but this one is mine.
I’ve committed to spend my lifetime divining the designs
that unfold when spinning in circles.
Embrace destiny beyond notions of destination and deadline.
To make play my practice,
and take bliss seriously.
To move meaningfully,
touching each second like the seam of infinity.
Living to learn in the moment,
Listening to all that’s always and almost been,
Ever mindful: the dance begins within.
I measure my actions by the depth of their intention,
Not surrendering my soul to violence coerced by blindness,
I honor the perfection of the honest expression.
Wake each day,
with the same calling,
to open eyes and rise,
to move matter to motion,
and make each moment matter.
I’ve learned this,
from 4 years of dancing with a partner who everyday offers me the same gift,
The infinite space within to move and be moved.
Yes, I’m talking about a hula hoop.
I know it might be surprising,
that a toy teaches anything enlightening.
But I inquire,
who leads in the dance between,
the inspiration and the inspired?
I believe,
We’re artists whose dreams paint the visions we call reality.
Mastering many mediums,
to express the truths that make peace with our mortality.
It matters only that we take the chance,
remove the shame from our senses and trust our dance.
I find it inspiring that the world never stops turning,
by these invisible forces, we’re given another day to create new ways of reacquainting.
Every dance we’re exchanging our stories,
styled by the colors of perception,
but there’s no denying the interconnection.
we’re telling the self-same story,
sacrificing our pride and glory,
for the connection forged in between,
in the space where you and I dance bare. bold and seen.
I claim my voice, because
for me freedom is not a choice,
but a responsibility I rise to everyday,
And I gotta let em know,
So I rise up and say,
“This is my flow,
There are many like it,
but this one is mine.”
It’s revolutionary by design,
And it may well be the quintessentially pointless art,
but it teaches me the legacy of movement I leave begins where my revolutions start.
And I get another chance with every beat of my heart.
So I’m going to let myself flow,
Let myself grow,
Summon movement from the sound that in my resonance is found,
Dance within this symbol of unity.
Celebrating the beauty of soul set free,
for you and me.
and all born by the power of grace and energy.


Who says your “40s” is to late to learn, anyway?

This month, Marlys Hersey posted in Hooping.org that is It’s Never too Late to Learn to Hoop. She started off her post by saying, “Starting to hula hoop at age 45 may seem silly, frivolous, some vainglorious attempt to recapture youth.” While I happily concur with everything she said about hooping being the perfect time to pick up your hoop (I started when I was 42, after all), after reading that first sentence I admit to feeling, well, not angry or shocked, just somewhat surprised. Grace Jones, much older above, is one person who’d likely feel the same.

Just WHO, I wonder, actually thinks starting to hoop in one’s 40s is bonkers? Moreover, who says 45 is old? Maybe living in isolation as a single female expat (i.e. no kids and indeed the same freedom I had in my 20s) in the the land of the rising sun for the last 20 some odd years has really put me out of the loop (but not out of the hoop, haha) in terms of social attitudes towards age? It is not uncommon to see seniors doing all sorts of nutty activities here in Japan. Or am I in denial about how old I am or what being in one’s 40s is supposed to mean or how we are supposed to behave at this period in life?

And “recapture youth”? Well, to be honest, I guess in my case I must have never grown up. I hesitated to start hooping in the beginning, but more because I wasn’t attracted to the circus element (I had’t really been fully exposed to hoop dance yet) and because I thought I’d look like a dork. However, concern about looking like a dork would have been my sentiment 20 year ago as well, I’m sure. Being middle-aged never had any bearing on my desire to start spinning.

Indeed, I think hooping has perhaps made me think even more that I’m still young. I hoop and therefore hang out with people half my age who have interesting perspectives on life, and listen to and hoop to music I would never have discovered otherwise. Yes, I guess these two points have reminded me of my age, but they’ve also widened my horizons and enriched my life. Umm, but that latter reality of not being in the know musically could be less to do with my age and more due to being imprisoned in J-POP all these years. (Sure, I love Japanese pop culture, but I’d be lying if I told you I have any warm feeling toward the music here!)

I guess everyone has their hangup(s) at the end of the day. For me, it’s my girth. I’m definitely what they call a “curvy” hooper, though I have lumps, not curves (hey, this is not self-depreciation, this is objectivity, people!). It’s the one thing that stops me from posting more Youtube videos of myself hooping. I do videotape, but more just to see what I’m doing right and wrong. Friends have prompted me to upload more clips (I currently only have one, and it’s from over a year ago), but I’m too embarrassed. Yes, it’s ridiculous, but it does make me more sympathetic to would-be hoopers who feel there are “too old.”

We so-called “older” hoopers really need to get over ourselves and stop caring about not just what others think, but more importantly what we think of ourselves. In our 40s, my guess is that many or most of us in fact thankfully no longer give a rat’s ass about what others think, but we haven’t yet scolded or forgiven our own critical eyes. Yes, as Marlys Hersey also wrote, “inner and outer critics be damned”!

Artistic Hooping Vids

Every once in a while, via casual Youtube surfing or on a hoopdance-related site, I come across a video wherein not only is the hooping inspiring, but so is the set, audio, and cinematography. Hooping.org do a much better job than I possibly could at pulling together several motivating videos – on a daily basis, even – of hoopers world-wide, so I generally try not to make a lot of “hey, check this out” posts. That said, when I want inspiration, it’s nice to know that I have a post or two on my own blog I can go to to watch the videos that have moved me and continue to do so. Last post I compiled a collection of eight my current Vimeo “artsy” favourites, and now below I do so with Youtube. Some of them aren’t so recent, you’ll notice. I hope you enjoy them as much as I!


Cinematographic Beauty

Nothing adds the WOW factor to a hooping video more than a great combination of stunning scenery, great costumes, moving music, and fantastic video and video editing skills. Of course the key has and will always be the hooper, but it’s amazing how the hard work that so obviously goes into a good hooping video can pay off artistically. This post boasts a collection of my current favourties from the Vimeo library.


Finding Space to Hoop

Well, I had to login to hOOpalOOza right away when I realized that more than 5 months had passed without a post. I moved house and started a new job this year, and also took a chef course and went to Dubai on business, so although hooping itself has not been put on the back burner, this blog has!

Well, actually I didn’t really do a lot of hooping this winter- a wee bit too cold outside! But when spring came, rest assured I was out and about. My new home nearer to the city is teeny tiny – and I do mean small. It’s less than 30m2, meaning when I pull out the bed, it goes up to the fridge and I can’t get around it. No indoor hooping for Yokaokojo!

Outside has been a challenge, too. I moved from suburbia to a concrete jungle situation on the Chuo line west of Tokyo. It’s much, much more convenient for work, and assumedly for getting downtown for events, but I haven’t been to many hooping events or any other activities downtown this year so far simply due to being too busy and having to prioritize. My weekends are filled with grading papers, and recently – hooping! Yes!

Just down the road there is a… park. Well, sort of a park. It’s just a chunk of land with a smelly public bathroom at some typical children’s fixtures for play. It’s fine for hooping, but the ground is usually really dirty so my hoops get f—ed up, as do my shoes. In the day passer-bys stop to stare, and although I don’t mind onlookers like I did early in my hooping days, it can be flow-disrupting. I can’t say I’m really comfortable with the fact that a lot of my students pass by on their way home from university to the station, either. Also, during the day on weekends, there are often sooooo many kids and I’m terrified of smacking one or two with a stray hoop… For these reasons I tend to hoop at night. Now that summer has arrived (well, it’s rainy season now, but boy, is it hot and humid!) it’s not doable for me to hoop in the daytime, anyway. It being the city, at night in the park a few unsavouries do hang out, paper-bagged bottle in tow, but they’re pretty harmless. I wouldn’t be doing the same in most other countries. I like that about Japan – it is indeed such a relatively safe nation.

There is also a 20m2 chuck of concrete in the back of my apt. complex, so I sometimes hoop there, especially if I just want to work on a move that doesn’t require me to take up space. It being rainy season, I have found another great spot, but I have to go there late at night (ie early morning on Friday and Saturday) when there are no cars. It’s basically a parking lot, but it’s located underneath the train tracks so I get shelter from the currently incessant rain. Actually I sometimes go there even when it’s not raining, as the ground is clean and flat. I sadly cannot say much for the local beauty, but when I put my music on and start hooping, I get transported to a different place, so I guess it doesn’t really matter that much. I’m grateful to be hooping!  There is actually a dance studio very nearby that rents dance space, and I did look into it  during the winter season, but the prices were too high, and the ceilings were too low.

So these are the perils of living downtown-ish in the Big Mikan. Of course if I make a little more effort, I could find better places to hoop. But I know myself – If I cannot get to a place within 5 minutes of home, the chances of me getting out the door diminish by 50% for each minute of travel time I have to put in. As time is so precious to me with my current working schedule (I teach more than double the coursework of full-time teachers), I don’t want to waste a minute more than I have to with traveling. Also, as anyone in Tokyo knows, commuting here especially through public transportation can suck the remaining life out of you…

So why am I currently working so much? Well, I hate to admit it, but right now it’s simple for the money, which I need to save for personal reasons. Teachers are underpaid and over-worked in so many countries, but thankfully I do enjoy my work. In the fall term I am teaching two fewer course, so I anticipate life will get a little less hectic and I can spend more time in flow, and hopefully make a few more blog posts!

Mad Hoop Skills: 2012 Favourites

OMG, we are starting 2013 already – a great time to be sharing with you the hooping videos that have inspired me the most this past year. Happy New Year! These are the videos that I’ve watched over and over again in 2012, hopeful to be able to break down a mere split second of the skills these hoopers dazzled me with! I admire these hoopers for their hoop skills, ability to entertain, and overall dancing eloquence.

Caterina Suttin, known for hooping on her nose, shows here very clearly that she has ridiculous all-round hooping skills. Check out her breaks from 3:30!

Nick Broyd has been my hoop crush for a while now, and it’s been a pleasure to watch him develop his flow even more since I first started following him on Hooping Idol. I love this video for the music, Nick’s interpretation of it, his gorgeous, sexy flow, and the obvious joy he has in entertaining us.

Yep, I like the dudes, not only because I that’s the way I’m wired, but because now so many of the guys can well and truly rock their hoops, and a lot of them tend to choose music I like. So many videos from Chad Forsberg (another Hooping Idol participant) are worth scoping out. He’s got some pretty slick tricks that I love to watch again and again. He’s the guy that first rode a hoop like a giant circus syr wheel!

Kenna is definitely one of my favourite hoopers – funky street smarts, great tunes, highly original movement, and coming across as someone who takes her fun very seriously. I love her innovative techniques, as shown here with her mismatched twins.

Anah Reichenbach (better known as Hoopalicious of Hoop Revolution) shows off the reason she is famous as being the Queen of modern hooping. I love this woman’s style! It would seem that Bristol’s 2012 Swhoop event showcased some superb performances this year.

Nick and Kit! So cute! Love the song! Love the Troll Bridge! ‘Nuf said!

I’m usually not a fan of things Barbie-esk, but I have to admit that Katie can REALLY hoop! Plus she has great taste in music (Who cannot like Goldfish? Apparently Katie has brought the band so much notoriety that they have paid tribute to her by featuring a hooping cartoon character of her in one of their music videos!). Katie’s hoop joy really comes across when she’s in her circle, so it’s no wonder that her audience extends beyond heterosexual men and teenage wannabies.


World Hoop Day 2012

World Hoop Day this year came at the busiest time of my work year, in addition to one of my busiest times ever, as I was moving house in the thick of it all. It pains me to say that I have only hooped twice in the last few months. And this work frenzy and domestic upheaval took place at a time when hoopers were out everywhere celebrating their hoop love, and I became an exhausted recluse! So burned out, in fact, that even though I’ve had the last few days off for the winter break, instead of hooping, I’ve found myself just wanting to sleep and catch up with family over Skype during Xmas celebrations. Such is stress! But now I’ve finished putting together furniture, have finished a huge pile of grading and preparation for the end of term, and am finally making time to write a blog post about WHD. Yippie!

WHDAs I search though my fellow hoop bloggers and other hoop dance sites, I realize that a lot about WHD has already been posted, so I essentially just want to pay tribute and thanks to all my fellow Tokyo hoopers. In particular among this bunch is Tink, who put together the whole WHD choreography, traveled at her own expense all over the US and parts of Europe to share her hoop love, and has continued to be the glue that sticks our hooping community together here in Tokyo, even when some of us get too busy with life to even find time to pick up our hoops! Thanks, Tink! A lovely addition to this year’s WHD was that we had another Tokyoite, vocalist Esther “Swinky” Thirimu lend her talented voice to the WHD theme, “Turning Around” – awesome!

worldhoopday2012World Hoop Day this year featured events and activities from six continents – In addition to countless towns and cities in North America, the UK, and Australia, hoopers gathered in Vienna, Austria; in Zagreb, Croatia; in Cape Town, South Africa; in Jerusalem, Israel; in Hanover and in Hamburg, Germany; and in Barcelona, Spain.  And of course in New Zealand here in the Big Mikan, Japan. Awesome.

Yoyogi Park hoopers

Oodles of videos have been created to pay tribute to WHD, and included below are some of my favs, starting with those containing a Tokyo bias:  Tink’s description of WHD, the official choreography posting, and a Tokyo Hoop Lounge WHD dance demonstration (for which I sadly had to decline participation due to my workload at the time!).


Tokyo hoopers in training for WHD 2012

Much as the changing yearly schedule of WHD was a cute idea, I was really pleased to hear the news that the celebration’s official permanent celebration schedule will be the first Saturday of October every year from now on, which is definitely better weather-wise for the great majority of hoopers, and also avoids a work and holiday madness season for many of us. For more information on WHD and all the good things it does, visit the official site: http://www.worldhoopday.org

In times past I have complained about the lack of a hooping community in Japan, but Tokyo is, in fact, alive and kicking, and I’m happy to have moved closer to the city so that I might be a bigger part of it in the future (assuming I can control work taking over all my time -hehe). Cheers, Tokyo hoopers!



New Troohoops!

A couple of months ago I bought 3 new hoops from Troohoops, a hoop brand I’ve come to love and trust due to 3 factors:

1) The durability of the hoops. I now own 6 Troohoops and they are the only ones that have not suffered major injury and still look good (I don’t tape or get mine taped up all fancy, mind, due to the fact that I usually hoop on concrete or dirt!)

2) The ultra-portability. Troohoops makes button-press collapsible hoops not only in 4 pieces, but also in 8, which means they are really easy to stick in bags.

3) The fast and friendly customer support. The staff has always returned my inquiries quickly and in a rather jovial manner!

I caught wind of the fact that Troohoops were making hoops out of polypropelene (polypro or PE) material, and as I enjoy my Super Hooper 39 inch polypros that I got last year, I figured I should order a collapsible one, thinking that 7 joints would make it heavier in addition to portable. I raved about my Super Hooper polypros in a previous post, but over all, I found them just a tad too light, so I ended up taping them heavily with gaffer and they are better now, not only because they are heavier, but because the suction-style joint doesn’t loosen at all on an aggressive spin. I use them primarily in off-body twin work.

When I asked Kate from Troohoops about getting a bigger (39 inch) polypro hoop, she reminded me that polypro hoops are better in smaller sizes (as they get really bouncy when bigger) and also alerted me to the fact that their dance hoops are now made with hard density polyethylene (HDPE), which is similar to the tubing which is pretty much all that is available here in Japan. I love the Japanese tubing, except for the fact that the joints always seem to break, the hoops made here are not extremely portable, and that they could be a tad lighter. I would make my own, but the materials are not actually easy to come by, and I’d much rather spend the little free time I have hooping or blogging about hooping rather than making hoops!

So what the heck, I decided to buy 2 more dance hoops in addition to a 39 inch polypro, all in 3/4 inch tubing and in “pocket” style (their term for eight pieces). I ordered one dance hoop in a 39 inch diameter, and the other in 42, the latter of which is still actually my preferred size for on-body hooping. Yes, I know many think this is a large size, but I am very large around the middle and also very tall, so it feels just right to me – not slow at all. I would be happy always using these “bigger” hoops, but the problem with hoops larger than 39 inches is that they are too big for me when I do off-body work (I guess I’m not that tall!). 39 inches is what I’d like to want to use all the time – I think that if I slim down, this will indeed be my perfect size. Right now I still find a 39 inch diameter to be a tad too fast and also a wee bit too challenging.

The hoops came to Japan must faster than I anticipated, and when the box arrived the first thing I thought was that they’d only sent me the polypro, and the others would be coming later. But no, all 3 hoops were in the light, little box! Kate was right – the new dance hoops are indeed smaller and lighter! Yippie!

The polypro hoop I got from Troophoops was pretty much just what I expected. The joints weighed it down just a little and I love it. I can use it with my other non-collapsible gaffer taped polypros to practice multiple-hooping, and carry it with me to hooping meetups.

What I really like, however, is the 3/4 inch HDPE collapsible hoops. I don’t find them that much lighter than the polypro when I use them off body, yet I feel more secure in them when hooping on body. Strange, but I again managed to mix up my metric and US sizing: 3/4 inch is skinnier than the tubing used here, and I somehow had assumed it would be the same. It seems that there is no international standard for plumbing, and it is especially hard to find exact counterparts that match with American sizing. Anyway, this smaller-than-expected 3/4 inch deal is a good thing, as I prefer thinner hoops (easier to grab!). What surprised me more was how much thinner the actual tubing walls of American HDPE tubing are, which makes it lighter than Japanese tubing (yeah!), but also much more flexible (boo!)

Though thinner tubing walls contribute to a more preferable weight, the spongy bounciness that comes along with it is the only real minus point for me for these hoops. I prefer more rigidity when hooping, especially when doing breaks and the like. In terms of rigidity, I have yet to find an American hoop that tops the Japanese PEX tubing – or PEX-like tubing; not sure what the heck it technically is, I just know that it’s not the same as American LDPE, HDPE, or PE!

All this said, my 42 inch and 39 inch pocket Troohoops are now my all-time favourites. I have bashed the heck out of them already and the joints are still strong. As I knew I would kill the taping in just a few weeks, I only had them taped on this inside, which is another relatively new offering from the company. If you’re a hooper who prefers smaller diameters, I reckon you’d love these HDPE hoops even more than I as they wouldn’t be as flexy.

Thanks for the great flow toys, Troohoops!


Hooper Interview: Bernadette Yu aka “Fireberns”

Bernadette Yu “FireBerns”, a self taught hooper from Cebu City, Philippines- is one of the core individuals responsible for introducing hooping to the Philippines. Shortly after falling in love with hooping in 2010, she created “Hoopaholic Cebu” as a vehicle to spread awareness of the art in the country.

Welcome, Bernadette! Tell us about YOU. When and how did you get started hooping?

I saw a YouTube video of a girl hooping in her living room. Although I was already familiar with hula hoops and the circus arts, it was unlike anything I had ever seen. I instantly fell in love with the hooping even though I didn’t even have my own hula-hoop yet. I purchased my first adult hoop from Hoopnotica, and it was the best gift I’ve ever given myself. I could not put it down.

Tell us about the hoop dance community where you live.

Yes, Hoopaholic Cebu is a community bringing hoopers together through their common interest. The workshops and the hoop jams that we offer allow hoopers to get to know one another and become friends. Our hooper friends in Manila have recently created HoopNation – a hooping community that offers hooping classes and performances.


How often do you hoop?

Whenever I feel like it (which is nearly everyday) as short as three minutes and as long as three hours. It’s a great stress reliever, and it’s what I do when I procrastinate.

Did you have a background in any other sport or performance art prior to getting into the hoop?

Before hooping, I joined Latin dance classes and step aerobics classes for a couple of years. Does that count?

I would say it probably helped you. How would you describe your personal style?

My hooping style is very controlled. I like to be very solid and clean while still adding a touch of femininity and grace.

How many hoops do you currently own and what types are they?

Up to 20 hoops from Hoopaholic Cebu  ranging from 20″ to 40″ in diameter – For my own practice, and also to lend out to those who want to give hooping a try.

A Hoopnotica Travel Hoop- my first adult hoop in pink and silver.

Two 33” LED hoops from Moodhoops –  A great size for on body hooping and off body hooping.  The lights are incredibly vibrant, and it’s simply mesmerizing.

5 Synergy quick wicks- simply attach them to your old hoop and voila! You have a fire hoop!

What are the specifications of your favorite hoop right now, and why is it no.1 for you?

I’m falling in love with my 36” ultra lite coiled hoop. As much as I like smaller hoops, bigger hoops just make every movement appear more graceful. I also like the luxury of being able to coil it down to ¼ its size and bringing it whenever I want.

Haha! For me, a 36″ would be very small (yes, I’m tall)! What’s your favourite move at the moment and why?

Chest stalls. I couldn’t figure out how to stall the hoop for the longest time, until Daniel Darwin “Astroboy” taught me how. It is just beautiful to look at, and it feels amazing when you and your hoop are spinning as one.

What people have had the most impact on your hooping?

All of my friends in the flow arts have impacted my hooping one way or another. Veteran poi artists Nino Baring and Oli Khosiking are always encouraging and pushing me to become a better hooper. Sweet Caneos, a fellow hooper, has taught me the importance of letting go when hooping. Paulino Servado of Planet Zips inspires me to document my hooping journey.  It’s amazing how much you can learn from the individuals you meet in the flow community.

How do you go about learning and improving? Do you take classes, watch YouTube videos…? How do you keep yourself motivated to progress in the hoop?

Nothing inspires me to practice more than watching my favorite artists hoop. I try to watch as many hooping videos and tutorials as I can.  I also involve myself in the flow arts community by attending hoop/spin jams. Gigs are also great because it gives you reason to polish old tricks and learn new ones.

What has been your biggest challenge in developing your skills as a hooper?

Getting over the fear of fire was a big challenge for me since I’ve always found fire to be intimidating.

Are there any particular moves or tricks that you have struggled with?

I have struggled with nearly every on-body move. From neck, chest, waist, down to the knees. What’s even harder is learning to do it all in reverse!

Yes, I have a bad tendency to avoid my opposite current… What was your most memorable and perhaps pivotal hooping moment? Why did that mean so much to you?

When I learned to shoulder duck! I told myself that I would learn the shoulder duck after one year of hooping. But I surprised myself and was able to learn it in weeks. I had underestimated myself, and realized that I was unaware of my own potential.

What have you learned that has made the biggest difference to your hoop dance practice?

Flow Arts Cebu

I’ve learned to explore heights and spaces. The wonderful thing about hooping is that we are not just confined in one space. The same moves and tricks can look completely different when approached at a different angle.

What is the biggest piece of advice or words of encouragement you can offer to hoopers trying to improve their skills?

Never underestimate the power of practice. You can learn through the most technical tutorials and have moves broken down into steps, but practice always gets the best results. Also learn to laugh at your mistakes, and be glad that you’re making them. Remember that each time you drop your hoop, you are actually learning.

Let’s hear about your business activity. What products/ services do you offer? Are there other people involved?

Hoopaholic Cebu is the company that I created in 2010 that sells hula-hoops in the Philippines.  Our products include children’s hoops, travel hoops, and mini hoops. We also offer workshops and performances.

Flow Arts Cebu- is a performance art troupe lead by Nino Baring. It is a group composed of young and talented artists in the flow arts. I officially became part of the team in early 2011, and became the first fire hooper to join the group.

HoopNation Philippines is a nationwide hooping community created by a team of wonderful hoopers: Sweet Caneos, Daniel Darwin, Michelle Callo.

Planet Zips is a Philippine poi company which has been a great help to Hoopaholic Cebu from the very start, helping us promote hooping and sell hoops alongside their poi products. The tie up is perfect because nearly all of my customers have a poi background.

How, when and why did you make the jump to opening your own hooping-related organization?

I created Hoopaholic Cebu because I wanted hooping to be more accessible to Filipinos. I also desperately wanted to share this beautiful art form, and get people to recognize how amazing hooping is.

Where do you see your life as a hooper going in the future?

I see myself resigning from gigs when I reach a certain age, but I don’t think I’ll ever stop hooping. I would love to be able to pass the art form to the younger generation by doing more hoop classes and training hoop teachers. I also see Hoopaholic Cebu expand it’s product line- offering more hoop products such as polypro hoops, fire hoops, led hoops, and hoop clothes just to name a few.

Whether or not talents like yourself continue to perform depends on so many factors, I imagine. I started hooping in my 40s and am just now psyching myself up to hoop in front of others. One reason I was attracted to hooping is that I didn’t feel my age was a barrier and noticed improvement relatively quickly. 

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Start hooping now and find out just how much the hoop moves you!

Thanks so much for being a hOOpalOOza interviewee, Bernadette!

Thank you, hOOpalOOza!

Contact Information

Website(s): http://www.hoopaholiccebu.com
Facebook URLhttp://www.facebook.com/Hoopnation.PH
Video channelhttps://www.youtube.com/user/fireberns1


Designer Hoop Bag

Is Karl Lagerfeld crazy or just a guy out to win the hearts of all fashion-forward hoopers? The designer unveiled a hula hoop take on the classic Channel quilted bag at Paris Fashion Week.

According to the website Luxury Launches, the bag is “ideal for the fashionista who is not content with simply carrying a canvas tote to the beach or pool. Experts predict that while the giant bag maybe impractical for shoppers, the miniature versions will fly off the racks in no time”.

Haha! Impractical? Understatement. Hoopers often complain about hauling their hoops. Why would anyone drag hoops around when they don’t even enjoy getting their groove on? As if anyone is going to honesty bring this to the beach (and not rip out the quilting in order to really make use of it). Well, I guess they’re not supposed to. Runway fashion is not exactly practical and is not meant to be, which is why the industry pretty much eludes me. But it’s only been about a week since Fashion Week and already someone’s got a “DYI” hoop bag post on the Net: How to Make your very own Chanel-inspired Hula Hoop Purse

And this has me thinking. Perhaps instead of designing hoops that can collapse into bags, hooping accessory makers should be making bags that slip around or onto their hoops? Or at least with those hoop holders made of material (you know what I’m talking about, yeah?), design some sort of pocketing into it to make the holders more functional? Perhaps that do-it-yoursef blog poster is on to something. Funny how something completely dysfunctional could lead to the design of something actually pretty cool. Not that Chanel is not cool. I’m just a little less of a form over function gal.

Here’s Lagerfeld explaining his hoopy concept:

Get a glimpse of the model walking with this beauty in hand from 1:30:

And a news review:


Hooper Interview: “Shiho Sparkle Hooper”

Shiho Sparkle Hooper (in hot pink above) is a world traveller and is passionate for hoop dance. Her dream is to spread hoop dance, sharing happiness, excitement and “sparkle time.” Shiho learned to hoop during a world trip on PEACE BOAT in 2010. Since then she has been hooping around the world, even in Antarctica with Penguins! Shiho currently lives in Sydney, Australia where she is pouring her passion into this performance art.

Shiho は、フープダンスに情熱をかけるワールドトラベラーです。2010年、NGO PEACE BOATが主催する『地球一周の船旅』に乗船。88日間で世界一周し、船内で習ったフープダンスに魅了される。それ以来世界各地でフープを回し、南極クルーズのコンシェルジェとして乗船した際、南極でペンギンと一緒にフープをした経験もあり。現在、シドニー、オーストラリアにてフープダンスを習い中。HOOPパフォーマンスやイベントへの参加、ティーチングなど積極的に活動している。

Welcome, Shiho. You live in Sydney, Australia. When and how did you get started hooping? Is there a hoop dance community where you live? こんにちは、シホ。 今、オーストラリア、シドニーに住んでいますね。フープはいつ、どうやって始めましたか?あなたが住んでいる街にはフープダンスのコミュニティーはありますか?

I started hoop dancing in October, 2010. I found hooping when I was traveling on an 88-day-around-the-world cruise called Peace Boat. There was one hooper on board and she spinned in the middle of the lounge. I’d never seen this kind of dance before and was very fascinated – It was wicked! However, when I was back to my hometown in Osaka, I couldn’t find anybody who did hoop dancing. There’s not yet much appreciation for the art – no classes, no community of hoop dancers. So I decided eventually to go to Sydney to learn from one of the most passionate hoopers in the world, Bunny Hoop Star. Of course I found a lot of hoopers in Sydney. Hooping is still an unknown dance form compared to others such as hip-hop, jazz or ballet, but Sydney boasts a community which is very active in hooping. In November last year there was a hoop camp called “Hoopy Happenings.” Also, there is a special parade called Mardigra and hoopers join in! There are a lot of opportunities to hoop in Sydney and I am very appreciative to be here.

自分とフープとの出会いは今から2年前の2010年11月。88日間で世界一周するピースボートという船でフープに出会ったことは忘れもしない出来事です。ピースボートにはフーパー(フープをする人)が一人乗っていたのですが、彼女が船のラウンジでフープをまわしていた姿は衝撃でした。自分は今までフープを使うダンスなんて見たこともなかったし、めちゃめちゃ素敵って感動しました!すごい!ピースボート下船後、故郷大阪に戻り、私もフープを習いたいと思っても、フープができる環境が整っていなかったのです。フープのクラスはもちろん、フープのコミュニティーも他のフーパーを探すのも困難でした。自分にとってはとっても悲しい出来事でした。こうなったら、他の地に行ってフープを学ぶしかない!というわけで、シドニーに渡豪したのです。そして、世界的にも有名、フープに対する情熱もオリンピック級のバニー=フープ=スターを訪ねました。また、シドニーには彼女の他にもたくさんのフーパー達がいます!!フープはヒップホップやジャズ、バレエなど他のダンスに比べると、まだまだ知名度の低いダンスです。でも、シドニーはフープが盛んな街です。毎年11月には “Hoopy Happenings” というフープキャンプがありますし、世界の変わったパレードの一つにとりあげられたマルディグラではHOOPER達もパレードに参加します。フーパーにとって、シドニーはたくさんの可能性と機会がある街です。そんな街でフープができる自分はとっても幸せ者だし、シドニーでHOOPができることに、感謝の気持ちでいっぱいです。

How often do you hoop? どれくらいの頻度でフープをしますか?

Off and on. When I had my first performance, I practiced hooping for 2-3 hours every day for 2 weeks. It helped me a lot to improve my hooping skills. But then the weather gets cold and I don’t hoop much outside. I usually can’t wait for summer! (It is now winter in southern hemisphere.)


Did you have a background in any other sport or performance art prior to getting into the hoop? フープをやる前に今まで、何か他のスポーツ、もしくはパフォーマンスアートをしていた経験はありますか?

I had no dance base or athletic bend before. After I got into hoop dance, I started yoga and other forms of dance. Of course, if you have a dance background, it helps you learn the body movements of hooping a lot faster, but it is not necessary to have a dance background to be a hooper! When you start hooping, it will give you energy to start other sports if you are so inclined – dance or performance. I started to do yoga often to build a more flexible body. Hooping brings me the motivation to do it.

自分は今までダンスやスポーツをしていた経験はありませんが、フープダンスを始めてからはヨガやバレエを始めました。もちろん、ダンス経験があれば身体の動かし方などスムーズにできるかと思います。ダンスをしていなかった自分にとってもがっかりしたこともありました。でも、フーパーにダンスの経験なんて必要ないのです! フープを始めたら他のスポーツや、ダンスやパフォーマンスを始めようっていう意欲がわいてくるから。今、柔軟性を身につけるためヨガに行っています。フープは自分に他の分野のやる気もあたえてくれるのです!

How would you describe your personal style?  自分のスタイルをどう表現しますか?

Passionate. Bunny Hoop Star said I am “the most dedicated and committed hooper.” I set my goals and list what I have to do and work hard to reach my goals.

パッション(情熱)。師匠のバニーは、私のことを今まで出会った中でも最もやる気のあるフーパーだと言ってくれました。私はいつも自分のゴールを設定して, 夢を叶えるための絶え間まない努力をしています。

How many hoops do you currently own and what types are they? 現在、何本HOOPを持っていますか?それらは、どんな種類のHOOPですか?

I left 12 hoops back in Japan. I have 20 hoops here in Sydney – 2 travel hoops, 2 hoops from my teacher and 15 hoops which I made it by myself for class. Most of them are small and medium sized hoops, but a few of them are bigger. I also have extra smalls for kids. I have a fire hoop and 2 LED hoops as well.


What are the specifications of your favorite hoop right now, and why is it no.1 for you? お気に入りのフープはなんですか?また、そのフープが自分にとって一番の理由とは?

My favorite hoops are 2 of my small, 85 cm hoops with silver sparkle tape. Even though they are scratched from the wear and tear of a lot of practice, they are my no.1 hoops. They were a gift from Bunny Hoop Star when I left Sydney for a while. I promised myself that when I saw her next time, I would be better at hooping and would practice a lot with those hoops… and I did!


What’s your favorite move at the moment and why? あなたのお気に入りの動きは何ですか?それはなぜですか?

My favorite move is hooping with a mix of with contemporary dance styles. Brecken is an amazing hoop dancer and my favorite hooper at this moment. She reminds me that hula hooping is not only fun to do but is really a true form of dance!


What person or people has/have had the most impact on your hooping? In what way? あなたに最も影響を与えたフーパーは誰ですか?そしてどんな風に影響を与えられましたか?

Of course my teacher Bunny Hoop Star is my inspiration. She’s been teaching me hoop dancing and so much more. She sparked the free spirit in me and taught me to look beyond conventions.


How do you go about learning and improving? Do you take classes, watch YouTube videos…? How do you keep yourself motivated to progress in the hoop? どんな風にフープが上手になるようにしていますか?クラスをとる?YOUTUBEを見てる…? どんな風にフープがうまくなるように自分にモチベーションを与えていますか?

One of the best ways to improve hooping I noticed is performing. This is because you get to know how people look at your hooping and you have to train in order not to mess up. I was always shy to perform before, but now I notice I can’t improve without facing this fear. It is a really good way to encourage myself to practice and keep motivated. Also, hoop camps or workshops are another great way to improve your hooping, as they are so intensive. I improved so much with Hoopy Happening in Sydney and GURU GURU Camp in Tokyo, Japan. On Niijima Island there was a lot of land for hooping on the island and we could hoop whenever we wanted to with other hoopers . It was a hoop heaven!

上達の一番の早道はパフォーマンスをすることです。見られることによって人は洗練されますし、場慣れします。以前はパフォーマンスをするのがとても恥ずかしかったのですが、パフォーマンスなくフープ上達は自分にはないことに気づきました。パフォーマンスはフープの練習をしようという意識を高めてくれます。 もう一つの上達の秘訣はフープキャンプやワークショップにあります。フープキャンプではフープが1日中できます。自分はオーストラリア、シドニーで開催されたHoopy Happeningと東京のグルグルキャンプに参加しましたが、その時にとってもレベルアップしました。フープキャンプではいつでもフープしたい放題ですし、フープができる大きなスペースもあります。そして、一緒にフープをするフーパー達がたくさんいます。まさにフープ天国なのです!

What is and/or has been your biggest challenge in developing your skills as a hooper? フーパーとして、上達するのに最も困難な問題はなんですか?

I had a hard time learning hoop skills from others once I got to a more advanced, intermediated level. When I was a beginner, all the tricks were new and could learn new things every day. But now there are a limited people who can teach me new things. I already know most basic tricks and find it really hard to learn new tricks or movements by myself. Once you get more advanced, I think the rate of improvement slows down. The situation is challenging as I have to find out what it is I have yet to learn.


What was your most memorable and perhaps pivotal hooping moment? Why did that mean so much to you? フープをしていて最も印象に残っている思い出はなんですか?そしてそれはどうしてですか?

Hooping with Penguins

All of my hoop memories are vivid as I am always very excited when I hoop. I particularly recall when I tried hooping the very first time, all the times I hooped around the world, took teacher training from Bunny Hoop Star in Sydney, participating in a TV shoot in a hospital, hoopi ngin Antarctica with penguins, sharing hooping in my university in the US, having my first performance, being filmed in a park by an aspiring filmmaker, and hooping at a kids party. Hooping is a big part of my identity now. Hooping has made me me and is a way for me to express myself. Before hooping, I was always jealous of those who had the tools to express themselves. It could be music, dance, fashion, or drawing. I did not feel I had any particular talent to express myself. But when I started hooping, I felt I’d found my method. People called me “hoop girl” and I started to stand out because of hooping.

in Tazmania



Prince Alfred Park, Sydney

What have you learned that has made the biggest difference to your hoop dance practice? フープの練習はあなたをどんな風に変えましたか?

Hoop practice brought me a lot of motivation and energy for other things. When I started hooping, I had the desire to start yoga, ballet, and improve my English. I just feel I want to do so many things now because of hooping.


What is the biggest piece of advice or words of encouragement you can offer to hoopers trying to improve their skills? フープ上達への一番のアドバイスは何ですか?

Don’t judge yourself and don’t forget loose sight of why you hoop. This is also what I say to myself. Have fun with hooping, and you will eventually improve!


What do you do when you’re not hooping? (work and other pursuits) フープをしていない時、何をしていますか?

Hoop Ahoy!

In Sydney, I currently have two jobs; working at a hospital as a Japanese Interpreter and also in a café for a contemporary art festival. I enjoy both jobs, and especially love talking with and meeting people. I am focussed on improving my body movements, so I practice yoga and ballet. Of course, I love hanging out with my friends, too.


What have been your biggest challenges so far in spreading the joy of hooping? What have you learned as a result? 自分の一番の挑戦はなんですか?そして、どのような結果がでましたか?

I teach hoop dance in a dance studio in Sydney, but recruiting people is challenging for me. Hooping is definitely more popular here than in Japan, but still not a relatively popular dance form, so it takes effort to educate people about it.  Most students came to the studio to learn hip-hop or jazz, so it is hard to get them to convert or add on hooping to their repertoire. But I believe I can show people what hula hooping and hoop dance is all about through simple exposure, so I try to hoop at the park and hand out flyers when I can. Also, I plan to start busking soon to raise awareness.


What advice would you give to other hoopers thinking about starting a hooping-related business or non-profit hoop pursuit? フープ関係のビジネスを始めるのにどんなアドバイスがありますか?

Have that initial big passion for hooping and don’t forget to enjoy what you are doing! Hooping is really fun but it does take a lot of time, and some money, too. It is a luxurious pastime.


Where do you see your life as a hooper going in the future? フーパーとして将来どうしたいですか?

I have a few dreams regarding my hooping. After Australia, I want to go on another world trip, but next time I want the challenge of doing a solo trip. I’m hoping my busking will help pay for it. I want to travel around to visit with friends and fellow hoopers worldwide. My biggest dream is to spread hoop dance in my hometown of Osaka. I want to start a hooping community there and make it popular. Also, in the future, I hope to that with my hoop master, Bunny, we can bridge the Australian Japanese hoop community.

フープの夢はいくつかあります。オーストラリアでの滞在が終わったら、また世界一周したいって思っています。今度は自分一人でチャレンジしたいです。ストリートパフォーマンスをしながらお金をかせいで、世界各地を旅したい。そして、旅をしながら、世界中の友達やフーパーに再会するのです。 他の大きな夢は自分の故郷大阪にフープダンスを広めたいです。フープコミュニティーを作って、フープをめちゃめちゃポピュラーにさせます。 あとは、シドニーから日本に帰っても、自分の師匠バニー先生と何かオーストラリアと日本をフープでつなげるような活動をしていくのも夢リストの一つです。

Thanks so much for being a hOOpalOOza interviewee, Shiho! And thanks for the translations! ;)

Thank you for the opportunity!

Website(s): http://www.shihosparklehooper.com/
Facebook URL(s): http://www.facebook.com/shiho.hooper
Video channel(s): https://www.youtube.com/user/shihosparklehooper?feature=guide