Hooping generally refers to artistic movement and dancing with a hoop (or hoops) used as a prop or dance partner.  Hoops can be made of metal, wood or plastic.  Hooping combines technical moves and tricks with freestyle or technical dancing, and is typically accompanied by music.  In contrast to the classic toy hula hoop, modern hoopers use heavier and larger diameter hoops, and frequently rotate the hoop around parts of the body other than the waist.  Modern hooping has taken cues from diverse art forms such as rhythmic gymnastics, hip-hop, freestyle dance, fire dance, twirling, and other dance and movement forms.

In its modern incarnation as an art form, dance form, and exercise modality, the practice is referred to either as “hoop dance” or simply “hooping”. Hoop dance artists commonly refer to themselves, and the greater hoop dance community, as hoopers.

The earliest known incidence of hooping was in ancient Egypt as early as 1000 BC, where children used large hoops made of grape vines, which they rolled along the ground propelled by sticks, or swung around their waists just like modern hooping.  In other parts of the world stiff grasses were used instead of vines.

In the 14th century, recreational hooping became quite popular in England.  In medical records we se cases of dislocated hips and heart attacks that were contributed to hooping.  The name hula was associated with the the toy in the 19th century when British soldiers found similaritis between hooping and Hawaiian hula dancing.

Native Americans independently developed their own traditional “hoop dance”.  This dance focuses on very rapid moves, and the construction of hoop formations around and about the body. Up to 30 hoops may be used in storytelling rituals to create formations such as the butterfly, the eagle, the snake, and the coyote.  Native American hoops are typically of very small diameter.

In 1957, an Australian company began manufacturing bamboo hoops for sale in retail stores.  A California-based toy company was captivated by this new form of entertainment.  In 1958, Richard P Knerr and Arthur K. Melin, founders of Wham-O travelled to playgrounds across Southern California, where they gave away free hula hoops and performed hooping demonstrations for the children.

Now a days You’ll find young and old hooping in community centers & parks, in health spas, at work and in fitness establishments.  There’s also a subculture taking hooping to an even higher level. Hooping has achieved a spiritual quality of its own – an underground electronic scene filled with tribal sounds, fire dancing, rhythmic gyrations and American Indian/Gypsy-inspired fashions.

It’s turned into a much richer, more universally inspired trend than that of the 50’s and at the forefront of today’s hooping movement is Diana Lopez & BodyHoops.   Diana began seriously hooping in 2002, “I found this to be great exercise, strengthening core muscles which enabled me to more quickly recover from surgery. Hooping provided a wonderful way to move, smile and feel good which aided in the healing process.”  She has since been teaching hoop dancing “playshop”s to kids and adults and is launching a unique certified instructors program.

At the Women’s Health & Fitness Expo  Diana will be demonstrating how Hooping can be used as a form of excercise & how enjoyable hoop dancing can be for women of all ages.  Come to the expo this year and learn all about hooping.




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