Who thought this up anyway? A genius, that’s who.
But really, this form of dancing has been around since 500 BCE with Egyptian children playing with dried grapevine hoops and ancient Greeks using hoops to exercise. With no beginning or end, for Native Americans it also symbolizes the never-ending circle of life.
I would still consider myself a noob in the hula hooping world, but I can fully contest to how awesome hula hooping really is. First of all, the physical benefits: besides increasing the overall coordination of your body, hooping improves your core strength, tones your stomach, arms, thighs, butt, and can burn approximately 400-600 calories in an hour. Um, yes please. That sure beats running on the treadmill.
Besides being a solid workout, it looks pretty freaking awesome when done right. Case in point:
Besides the fact that she is a Hooters employee, this girl is awesome. Believe me, she makes it look easy when in reality it’s hard as hell. If you thought normal hooping was cool looking on its own, why not add in black and LED lights?!
Presto Chango. The result kind of makes your eyes second guess reality. Or just pop out of your head in awe. Some daring crazies of the hooping world also hoop dance around with fire. Yikes.
The fact of the matter is, hula hooping is making a comeback. Maybe the only reason I think this is because I’m into the music festival scene; a sub-culture where everyone lets out their inner child/freak without judgement. Regardless,
I find myself constantly ogling at the raw talent of festie-chicks who can spin hoops on places that I thought hoops could never spin.
So, what about those non-festival go-ers who want to learn to hoop, but don’t know where to start? Well, of course, Boston caters to that need. The Boston Hoop Troop, “Boston’s Premier Hooping Collective” has existed since 2003 solely for the purpose of bringing hooping to the city of Boston. They welcome all levels of expertise to join them in classes and hoop jams hosted throughout the Boston area; or, if you aren’t quite ready to test the waters yourself, feel free to attend a performance and watch the masters at work.
Being summertime and all, it is prime weather for outdoor hula hoop dancing, and an event called Figment Boston is taking place July 28th and 29th. It caters to much more than hula hooping, but on that Saturday, members of the Boston Hoop Troop will be in Dewey Square on the Rose Kennedy Greenway from 6pm to 11pm, where Figment After Dark will be taking place.
So bring any glow items you have and be prepared to hoop and enjoy a good time with fellow Bostonians.
Also, on Sunday the 29th, the Hoop Troop will be hosting an “all-day spin jam“ near the Sonic Beating tent on the corner of High Street. Extra hoops will be available to play with, and the event is open to the community. Oh, did I mention that Figment Boston is free to the public? There happens to be a Meet & Greet for Figment Boston today (!!!) at the Cambridge Brewing Company in Kendall Square from 7:30pm-10pm. So if it tickles your fancy, I suggest you go partake in the mingling.
However, if you’re more on the shy side and the idea of swinging your hips around in front of a crowd doesn’t exactly sound appealing, then have no fear: you can still learn to hoop like the best of them. Visit Hooping.org’s Boston section, watch the various tutorials, and in no time you’ll be chomping at the bit to show off your new skills to anyone who will watch. If you’re already a seasoned hooper, or just ambitious, there is the Fringe Summer Party this Saturday starting at 3pm at 9 Olive Square in Somerville, MA. Come, join in the fun, and bring a hoop!
Lastly, there are three, and only three, rules to hula hooping that I was taught from a veteran festival hooper. They are as follows:
1) Never be afraid of the hoop
2) The hula hoop has the right of way, and
3) A man always looks sexier inside of a hoop.