Saturday, September 12, 2009

First Burn

First Burn from Heather Hughes on Vimeo.

I was still stressed from the journey to StL, but the fire whirled my worries away. I am so grateful to Willow for gifting me this beautiful hoop....and for giving me a ride to the show.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Family Circus

The Family Circus from Heather Hughes on Vimeo.

I wish this video wasn't so dark, because my husband and I really had wonderful spin-jam the evening after he lost his job. The 1st section is nanchaku. I begin hooping between minutes 2 & 3.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Level Up!

**cue Legend of Zelda sound effects**

I've been playing with vortex reversals for a long time now and over the weekend I started connecting them to vertical chest hooping. When I tossed in a vertical duck-in I learned from Ziggy and ChemicalGal’s back-roll, I moved into new, unexplored territory. I love the freedom of movement born of new combinations and new modes of hooping. These are the heady days before my muscles settle comfortably into memorized patterns. Every gesture is a new opportunity.

Angled hooping has been a real challenge and I feel I’ve finally obtained that diagonally plane through breaks and barrel rolls. Instead of doing my vortex standing straight, I bring it down while bent forward. I still haven’t figured out how to pass off, but I can break the hoop and send it back up. From there it’s real easy to move into hand hooping or better yet, to duck back into the hoop, then give it a flashy roll or toss.

I know posts like this are mostly irrelevant to the reader, since you can’t see what I’m doing and hooping-language is so bulky and variable. However, I felt I needed to post something documenting my trip to Hooper’s Landing and a homage to the skills I acquired there seemed very appropriate.

Many thanks to the Scattered Stars, who inspire me with their dance and for the luminous tribe of hoop-goddesses who teach on-line! Thanks especially for Elissa who helps me feel welcomed & who posted a whole series of LED photos (including this image of me!) from Hooper's Landing.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Hooper's Landing (a love poem)

The sunlight streamed brighter that day,
The leaves shimmered green in a dazzling way,
As I spun my hoop in an arc through the air,
Till it dropped with a clattered against the leg of a chair.
The girl learned forward, preparing to stand,
Dangling the hoop, like a wand, in her hand,
Then passed it back. I read in her glance,
That in motion or still we both form the dance.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


After many days of struggling, I finally passed two cords through the tiny, irregular hole in Beth’s holy stone. Yippee! The feeling is even more blissful than nailing a new hoop trick, because the stone need only be strung once and the completed necklace is visible evidence of my accomplishment. This necklace is more than a feat of cord-squeezing, however. It is a marvel of the imagination. Ever since Salali sent me her dangly bear-pendant necklace, I’ve been in love with long, tribal jewelry.

I made my holy stone necklace intuitively, just choosing beads along a color theme and string them in clusters. The idea was to create a necklace worthy of prayer and meditation, with texture and diversity. I left space between the knots so that the beads can be regrouped and rearranged. I love it! I love Beth’s necklace even more, because I was able to take my new design and share it. What makes these patterns even more special is that she and I found our holy stones on the very same day as we each enjoyed creek stomping adventures.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Journey

I imagine the hoop as a window or a door used to jump, roll, skip, and duck into new worlds of motion and grace. Like a cosmic juggler, I whirl reality across my body, tumbling in and out of the sacred circle. Inside the hoop mind, gesture, and possibility are swirled together until they’re impossible to separate. I launch my intentions into the air, and then catch them with a spin as the hoop zooms back down to earth. I watch my friends through the hoop’s window, making a neighborhood near the place I stand.

Through the hoop I’ve discovered new worlds, valleys of fabric behind my left knee…a piece of sky perfectly framed…kingdoms of ants building towers in the dust. This galaxy is full of sound and motion as words, like light, hop from lips to spinning surfaces. I have befriended a tribe of dancing astronauts, but like any form of intergalactic travel, hooping is risky. I am challenged to anticipate the hoop’s current or frustrated by my inability to flow. Some days, prepared to step into bliss, I trip over my own feet. Like a window looking out into night, my hoop goes dark. The door becomes a mirror and my reflection blots out the sky. Some days my hoop clatters into walls, shattering my aspirations of greatness and grace. Those humbling moments put the whirling universe into perspective. I realize my own smallness in comparison to the vastness of the circle. Instead of being discouraged by the realization, I find myself oddly comforted. I am a dust mote spiraling outward. I am only beginning. Gazing out into the vastness beyond me, I glimpse a reflection of the dancer, mother, and teacher I become on my very best of days. I pick up my hoop and the journey begins again.

Monday, July 13, 2009

You Know Your A Hooper When...

What defines a hooper? Skill, enthusiasm, or hours spent geeking out to hoop videos on-line? Watch for these warning signs that the hoop has spiraled into your soul.

Morning routine, "What's on"

Your cat sleeps in the hoop stack.

You understand why "left is the new right"

There's no furniture or light fixtures in your dining/livingroom.

You spend five minutes packing clothes and personal items for a weekend trip and 45 minutes deciding which hoops to take.

You own more than five hoops.

The back seat of your car is filled with hoops instead of people.

Half of your ipod is filled with hooping tutorials instead of music.

Whenever you see a large open area you think "Wow, great hooping space"

You choose your new car based on whether your hoops will fit or not.

You're proud of your bruises.

Invisible hoop dancing is unconsciously performed when no hoop is available.

You send a lot of time on hooping sites and communities!

You choose your outfits based on hoopability.

You have so much hoop tape that your room looks like a rainbow threw up in it.

Created by T.O.O.C with help from Amanda, Fresh Baked Cupcake, Kristen, L to the inz, Tangled Macrame, and Alicia. You can check out the original discussion and the resulting silliness at .

Saturday, July 11, 2009

June Afternoon Hooping & Contemplation

June Hoop Dance Practice from Heather Hughes on Vimeo.

I posted my June hoop dance video today and watching it, in comparison to my video from May I realized a couple of things. First, I prefer the June dance because it’s all one shot. It feels more honest and was a lot less stressful to create. Furthermore I noticed I didn’t do nearly as many tricks in the June video. Mostly I just spun the hoop around my body and over my head. The toss I tried, I dropped, the duck in/roll I tried, I dropped. So why do I like this second video so much more?

I think I see a lot more of me in the second video. The camera is a lot closer to my hooping space, so I see more of my smiles and goofy faces. My poses are kind of silly, but they’re mine, the beginning of my unique hooping style. Knowing that my hoop practice has deepened and developed a personality is like a cool, soothing breeze after many long, hot hours of practicing new tricks and techniques.

I think I’ll reward myself with a cold soda... glass of water... piece of chocolate!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Mountain Doom

Last week (maybe it’s been 2 weeks now) I returned from camping with a queasy tummy. I wrote it off as the result of too many days sustained on beer and granola. Then I spent a day in bed, followed by a week of periodical bouts of sickness and dizziness. I updated my diagnosis to a tummy bug agitated by too many days sustained by beer and granola. By the second week I was at a loss, because I hadn’t been drinking at all: no beer, no juice, not even much water, because I felt so icky and was so busy. So I made it a point to rehydrate, but still felt terrible. Part of me knew part of the problem was the soda. I drank it anyway. Then I decided to test my hypothesis. I felt great all day at work, and then during the mid-day doldrums I downed a Mountain Dew. Not 5 minutes later my stomach was burbling and heaving. Definitely the soda. So now I keep one cold soda in the fridge, but I try not to drink it. I like knowing I have one there if I start fiend-ing for the bubbly goodness. Yesterday I didn’t drink any, so I’m pretty proud, proud enough to blog about it.

That was probably a mistake, because I really, really want a Dew right now!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Celebrating the Crone

Grandmother spider, weave my soul,
unravel the tangle, make me whole,
grandmother spider, dreaming in her web,
she is the weaver, we are the thread.

Goddess Gathering at Ozark Avalon in just a couple weeks, yippee! I hope to hear back about hosting a hoop dance workshop that weekend. Either way I'm taking hoops, beads, and a song or three. Blessed be!

Breeze, a KC hoop dancer, weaves the story of Spider Woman

Monday, July 6, 2009


After reading Ashton Gannon’s “Hooping Is NOT Serious Business…is it?” I spent some time contemplating competition and it place in a community. Here on Hoop City (and in the hooping community as a whole) I perceive an ideal of inclusiveness, the belief that regardless of skill we are each unique contributors to our art and our tribe.

However I can’t ignore the fact that I judge others in relation to myself. I figure most people do. The issue therefore is more complex than saying “hooping isn’t a competition,” because competition, both personal and economic, shapes and hones our community. Among professionals and craftspeople, hooping is a competition to sell hoops and earn gigs. Not only does competition divide the successful entrepreneur from the dabbler, but it drives each contributor to craft a better product and create a more dazzling act.

Stepping aside from the eat-or-be-eaten perspective of competition, I also want to explore how competition helps divide and distribute the work of a community. Our skills extend far beyond those initial judgments of who is the most skilled or sexiest hooper. I find myself thinking about our meet-up last weekend, because in the days before I was so preoccupied with how I would measure up to the folks I met. However once I got there I realized being non-competitive is easier in practice than in my head. Watching hoopers drift in and out of camp I really glimpsed our diversity. Some gals are always hooping, others pick up the hoop for short bursts. Some know lots of tricks, others make waist hooping a fascinating dance. Outside the circle I met folks who organize, folks who share their booze, folks who teach, and folks who can identify the rocks we find along the creek bed.

All those unique skills strengthen and enrich our community. Competition gives us each the space and opportunity to use our energy where it is needed most, doing work we do best. As a community we must continue to be mindful that competition doesn’t create a mire or envy or elitism and I believe acknowledging competition, rather than denying it, is an important first step.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Hooping in my Community

Last week I was interviewd by Sarah Nail for our local newspaper "The Sedalia Democrat" I've embedded the video they created. The article was very nice, despite a few errors. For those interested in making your own hoops, you'll need to find 3/4 in. tubing NOT 3 1/4 inch.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Alter Ego

Handling books all day is nice, but the best part of working at the library is playing dress-up. My look is typically a fusion of hippie and house-wife, so wearing button-up shirts is a real treat. It feels a little sneaky to look professional, when there are mix-matched socks hiding under the cuffs of my new slacks. The first morning I dressed for work my daughter announced, “I love your costume, mommy!” She knows Mommy's a quiet library assistant by day and a twirly ninja by night.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Alphabet

"Because it's time to stop babbling the alphabet and to start speaking in complete, poetic sentences ( choreographically speaking)." -Shimarella

Angled hooping
Barrel roll
Continuous step-through
Duck in
Eagle roll
Flight time
Good ol’ waist hooping
Kick start
Leg hooping
Ninja toss
Overhead turn
Pizza toss
Quick break
Rising sun
Shoulder pop
Threading the needle
Union hooping
aXis switch

Thanks to Lulu Hoop and Safire for helping fill some of the blank

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Introduction to Hooping

Hooping is a performance art that combines dance, yoga, and tricks performed with the hoop. Most hoopers share a common "alphabet" of tricks and techniques used to compose poems, songs, and goofy limericks of motion and joy. Most importantly and perhaps most accurately, hooping is fun! The following video is a recording of the hoop dance demonstration I shared with my public speaking class at State Fair Community College.

Hoop Dance Demonstration Project from Heather Hughes on Vimeo.