Do you think Hooping is only popular in America & UK? Maybe you’ll be surprised to discover that hoop dance is spreading to many countries including Norway! Two young pioneering hoop dancers, Anita Fiksdal & Sonja Wrenof Hoop Dance Norge have
set up there own hoop dance classes and have a unique style of
performing hoop dance by fusing it with belly dance! I’m proud to say
they agreed to be interviewed for your hooping pleasure! You know what
to do! Get a drink, sit down, relax and indulge in your new favourite
pass time, reading Spirit Hoop Cake interviews! (Anita is in Greenand Sonja is Blue a two for one interview!)
to be interviewing you both, you’re super cool! So tell me what led you
to hoop dance? Can you tell me about your first experiences?
experiences, ideas, impressions and thoughts about hooping.. I could
write a book about it! It’s only a matter of lucky coincidences really,
how we got into hooping! We’ve been practicing bellydancing for some
years and we were planning a performance for a bellydance event which
takes place every autumn. We wanted to make it a bit more fun and out of
the ordinary.. I happened to have a childrens hula-hoop which I hadn’t
used for years at home and thought one day, hmm, hula-hooping and
bellydance?? It would be fun to see if we could manage to use the
hulahoop as just an extra effect. Quickly we realized that these small
children hoops were hopeless as they are too small, and I started
looking around online for something bigger, not really knowing exactly
what to look for… I looked up the English word for a hula-hoop and then
google lead me to this amazing site called hoopgirl.com and I was
thinking, ‘’WOW there really IS something like hulahoop and dancing
existing already..?’’ It looked like so much fun! We ordered hoops and
dvd’s from the states, which took forever to receive, by the time the
hoops arrived we knew the explanations for the tricks from the
instructional dvd by heart. We just KNEW that THIS was our thing! We
watched millions of youtube-videos and we were absolutely mesmerized.
Then we finally received the hoops, and what started as a rainy,
miserable summer turned into an unforgettable ‘life changing’ one! I was
so amazed at how easy it was to dance with the hoop around your waist.
We were completely addicted and the adorable little colourful bruises
after the first day were just a small price to pay!
did you go about acquiring your skills? Are there any hoop dance
teachers in the area? If you didn’t go to classes how did you gather
information about hoop dance tricks and moves?
one had even heard about hoopdance before, and we were walking around
downtown with our gigantic hoops and people kept asking if we were in
the circus or something! We learned everything from youtube-videos and
I understand that you don’t live in the same area? How did you find out about each other and that you both liked hooping?
are from the same city actually; we knew eachother through
bellydancing, so we went through the whole ‘process’ together. I’ve just
been living in a different town these past 2 years, but all of last
summer I was at home and that’s when we found out anbout hooping...
How did hooping together benefit your progress and you joy of hooping?
great advantage with being more than one is that you can learn things
in a way that YouTube and DVD’s just can’t offer you, no matter how many
troubleshootings they go through. People learn, master and gain
understanding different ways, also with hooping, obviously. Sometimes
one of us would master a trick before the other and was therefore able
to explain things in a different and maybe even more comprehensive way.
As we practice different moves we develop own teqniques and styles.
a like-minded friend to hoop with has been of absolute crucial value
for me. If it hadn’t been for Anita, I probably would never have
discovered hoopdance, and certainly wouldn’t have progressed like this
and had so much fun. We spent all summer long practicing outside in
parks and dancing around in the streets till midnight – people must have
thought we were crazy! It goes without saying that I wouldn’t have
dared to do that by myself!
move did you encounter that challenged you the most and took you the
longest to learn? How did you maintain your motivation whilst you
improved? Which move / trick do you enjoy doing the most?
the very basic ‘lifting the hoop up’ took quite a time before I could
manage because I misunderstood how it was done at first, and one day
when I was practicing it, I managed to do it the right way by a
accident! I think the clue is to not complicate things so much, just try
it a few times and the body will learn. Sometimes I would practice a
particular move and I just wouldn’t manage, then I’d put the hoop down
and try again the next day and it would suddenly go a lot smoother and
easier, it’s almost as if you continue to learn subconsciously even
after you practice it! Also I love the whole series of duck-outs, but
due to lack of space and too many breakable objects inside, and cold
winter outside, I’ve yet master those. My motivation was, and still is,
the desire and will to do something and learn something new. If
something is too easy, then the joy of managing it isn’t as great as if
you invest a lot of time and energy in it. I want to challenge and
develop new teqniques the whole time. Also to find motivation for new
tricks, I simply look at previous tricks and challenges I’ve had with
hooping, and how I succeeded with those. Looking at different tutorials
also help, and receive different explanations and insights to different
found the knee-hooping very challenging when we first started, and
needless to say there were loads of blood sweat and tears (and bruises)
before it was mastered.. Knee-pads would definitely have been of a great
help ;) Anyhow, watching Anita, who managed this move before me, helped
to keep motivation up. The chest/shoulder hooping also was tricky and
there were times I thought I’d never manage. But this is one of my
favourite moves now, because it incorporates forgotten body parts and
above all looks stunning ;)
When your other friends see you hoop dancing what are their reactions like?
they want to have a go as well? A very common phrase (right after
whether we are touring with the circus) is that ‘’No, I can’t! ‘’ Then
they give it a go, and you see them smiling and having the greatest
time! And you can tell that they are impressed with how much fun it is
and how they might have under-rated it at first.
really “shown off” to a lot of friends yet, as I can’t bring my hoop
with me everywhere – but those that have seen have been mighty
impressed. Both my sisters are now eagerly discovering the joys of
hooping and I am getting positive feedback from them. At a bellydance
event, Anita and I received an extra round of applause for our
hoop-fusion performance and many people came up to us afterwards and
expressed their astonishment. The impression so far is that the majority
is positive and we can’t wait to spread the love of hooping to as many
Has hooping got much of a presence in Norway? Are there any events that you’ve been to or if there isn’t much of a hooping scene are you intending to create one?
We are in the very beginning of our process of introducing hooping in Norway.
We know of very few other hoopers, but in general here in Norway, there
is nothing ‘organized’, no one running classes, and I’ve never read any
article or anything about hooping in Norwegian. However we do know that
there is an interest for hulahoops as a fitness-tool. People love these
heavy painful ACU-hoops and find them great fun and a good workout, so
whether there will be a ‘hoopdance evolution’ here is quite an exciting
question! So far we’ve only performed at the bellydance-event last year.
We were really excited on how people would react to it, but we got lots
of brilliant feedback, the audience really loved it! We’ve started
making hulahoops which will be available for sale. We will be attending a
fair in February, with lots of alternative ways for fitness/well
being/mind/soul – programs. We’ll be performing and arranging workshops
and have some hoops for sale. Most importantly, we’ll have a decent
chance to inform and give people an idea of what hoopdance is!
what point did you decide you wanted to become hoop dance instructors?
How did you learn about Bodyhoops? How was your experience of travelling
in the name of hoop dance?
the risk of sounding cocky, we decided that even before we received the
hoops! I was never in doubt that this could be a project worth
developing. I did lots of research on it online and watched videos of
people hooping all over the world. When I received my hoop and learned
how much fun and not to mention what an amazing workout it was, we were
even more certain that we had to take this further, and we started
seriously thinking about going away and get some real life inspiration!
Hehe, it felt like the greatest discovery since
electricity..!! The Bodyhoops teacher training weekend, short
summarized, felt like a visit to a different universe! It was great
meeting people who also carried around giant hoops, and whio shared the
same interest. When people were talking about hooping I could relate to
almost everything, and everyone had this incredible passion and
enthusiasm about it.
potential of hoop dance seemed unlimited as we started our
hoop-journey, and soon we discovered that there were teacher trainings
which seemed like a perfect place to start. We had already ordered all
DVDs we could find and watched a thousand youtube clips, so we felt time
was right to develop our skills more and actually learn from a
real-life teacher Being so fortunate to discover the Bodyhoops course by
browsing around on the net, we just couldn’t resist this opportunity,
and decided right away that we had to go. Travelling to England and meeting other hoopers was fantastic and made us more confident as to bringing hoop dance to Norway.
How did your friends respond when you told them you were coming to the UK to do a Hoop Dance Teacher Training course?
actually I don’t think people quite managed to understand what I meant
by that! It was quite short after we had started hooping, so it was all
quite new, and I don’t think I even realized myself what we had actually
signed up for actually until we entered the class.
Friends and family have been supportive and positive all the way, couldn’t ask for more.
How did it feel to see so many other people who also shared your passion and desire to teach?
whole time there had been only the two of us hooping, as we know of
anyway, and so it was a little weird to enter the room and see so many
hoopdancers gathered ;) It was really a great motivation to meet so many
hoopers with the same ideas and also to hear about their experiences
with it! The
experience of being together with so many people who share our passion
of hoop dance was almost like a dream. A few months ago we didn’t know
about hoop dance at all, and there we were suddenly amongst the leading
hooping-pioneers of the UK and Bodyhoops teacher
Diana. Who would have guessed? We can’t wait till the next opportunity
to travel, and hopefully meet up with everyone again!
your training I notice you have an amazing website for Norwegian people
to gain information about hoop dance? How are your courses being
received so far?
had one taster class earlier this year but due to late and too little
advertising, there was only one, yet extremely happy and positive,
customer! But the response from people when we talk to them about it or
suggest classes, have so far been excellent and so classes will be put
up during spring.
think hooping and belly dance go brilliantly together! Your
performances look so flowy and dreamy! How did you begin the process of
combining these two disciplines together?
dance is quite a ‘unique’ form of dance and you use other muscles than
you'd normally do and develop a certain motion. I probably incorporate
bellydance without realizing it, in all sorts of dances. So, when I
started hooping, the bellydance was just natural, and that was what was
also very thrilling to realise, how well it could be combined with the
dance-style I already practiced! Sometimes certain bellydance-moves can
actually be a helpful technique in order to master a hoopdance move.
Also in bellydance you learn to isolate your body, which is very
important in hoopdance..
bellydance and hooping has been natural from the beginning. Both dances
rely on isolations of certain body parts, so I think that practicing
one will benefit the other and build skills simultaneously. Also, the
hoop provides a colourful “spice” for any type of dance; you just can’t
help but being drawn towards that eye-catching gem!
is your physical background? If you’re already experienced in dance can
you tell me what dance disciplines you’ve done (ballet, tap, jazz,
did Rhytmic Gymnastics for about 5 years when I was younger. That’s
where I first realized that a hula-hoop could be used in dancing, though
in quite a different way than Hoopdance, so even back then I had a
thing for those hoops!
I’ve always loved dancing, and I’ve tried
different styles like hip-hop and jazzballett. But I hate folowing
choreographed routines. Having to follow choreography takes away one of
the most profound essences of dance; allowing yourself to be carried
away by the music into your own carefree world. The hoop creates its own
basic rhythm, and it’s up to you to be creative and take it from there (
Of course, for performances, choreography ain’t too bad,.. ) That's why
i love hoopdance! ;)
from the bellydancing there have been some occasional dance courses in
jazz, ballet and some salsa – but none of great impact. Dancing has
always captivated me though and I am a fan of all sorts of dance.
both make very entertaining hoop dance videos for youtube. You have a
real sense of carefree fun and frivolity in them which always makes me
want to overcome my fear of flying and visit you both in Norway to join
in! Anita you have a real sense of play in some of your own clips, it’s
as if you’re indulging in improvising with your hoop, how would you
encourage others to do the same? You also incorporate the use of facial
expressions and gesture in your hooping, again how would you encourage
people to be more free in exploring this aspect of hoop dance?
Dancing is a way to 'detach' yourself from
everything that’s creating boundaries around you mentally and
physically. If you just let go, and listen to the music, maybe you will
also start to make funny facial expressions, hahaha. You just cannot
help but smile when you’re hooping! It’s stimulating and relaxing, and
when you feel relaxed, you feel positive and open, and the positive
energy which surrounds you will inspire you, and allow yourself to be
silly and playful. Including attitude and gestures will make practice
less serious and more playful and fun.
you have a wonderful fluidity in your body and are particularly skilled
at incorporating your beautiful arm movements, very sultry! You make it
look so easy! What advice can you give others to encourage them to be
more expressive? You both wear beautiful outfits whilst hooping. Sonja
how do you incorporate the use of those pieces of materials I’ve seen
you swishing? It looks super cool by the way! I want to have a go! :o)
you Janine! I think that expressiveness comes naturally if one plays
music that suits one’s emotional state there and then. Sometimes I find
myself repeating the same old stuff and feeling uninspired, but all of a
sudden some music comes on and it is like the body just wants to play
around by itself, and doesn’t care if the mind can’t follow up. Watching
hoop dance clips on youtube is also truly inspirational and makes me
want to get up and dance at once.
How has hoop dance impacted on your lives?
gives me energy! It has taught me to focus on something and working for
it. Whether it be looking for hooping materials or learning a new
trick! I want to inspire everybody to give it a try. In an average
uneventful everyday, where today basically seems the same as yesterday,
you need something stable to keep sanity and also to remind you of what
it’s like to develop and take care of yourself. The focus, joy and
relaxation makes me feel more happy and confident as well!
could possibly have made my life worth living before the hoop was
discovered is still a mystery to me. Ok, maybe a little exaggerated,
but hoop dance has been ever-consuming since the start and I really
don’t know how I would cope without. Not only does it bring about joy
and pleasure in itself, it also gives opportunity to meet loads of
people sharing the same passion, and possibly gives the chance to create
a whole new dance/exercise-craze in a community, or maybe even a
Have you noticed any changes in your physique as a result of hoop dance?
I feel stronger and more confident physically as well as mentally! With
hooping you learn to isolate your body and use different muscles. I
think this way, it makes you more aware and you feel in control of each
movement, which will lead to more confidence and pleasure, especially
when you learn a new move or you challenge yourself somehow and you
succeed, you develop strength and you learn to appreciate your body and
what it can master. And last but not least, hooping is waaaay more fun
AND effective than taking sit-ups in a sweaty gym!
the very start, I have noticed and been amazed at how quickly the body
can respond to the challenges of hooping on different parts of the body,
and also off-body. I believe this gives a sense of body-awareness and
inner (core) strength that you wouldn’t get from other types of
exercise. As for observable changes in physique, I would dare to say
that hooping has probably made me more fit and toned as well as an
overall sense of well-being.
your experience with discovering hoop dance surprised you in any way
that was unexpected and if so can you elaborate on that? (ie does it
help you reduce stress, help you to relax etc)
I alwas feel relaxed after hooping. If I
have time in the mornings I'll pick up my hoop and put on some music,
it's a great way to start the day. It makes me feel energetic, and
relaxed as well.
up the hoop and dancing around is the best cure for tension and stress.
The flowing, rhythmic motions are soothing to the mind, and every
session of hoop dance leaves me with a fresh feeling of renewal. I also
believe it is mentally stimulating, and will definitely try to
incorporate a lot of hoop dance in my next exam-period ;)
notice that you listen to quite a broad range of music, what are you
both hooping to at the moment? How does the genre of music impact the
way you dance? How would you encourage others to vary there hooping to
respond to the music they’re listening to?
love experimenting with different dancestyles and music genres. Music
is defenitly important because it will evoke certain moods and will
affect the dance style! I generally use a lot of Arabic and bellydance
music, so then, obviously, my hooping style would be completely
different than if I listen to something else. I also hoop to a lot of
stuff within the electronica genre, anything with a funky, fun beat!
Also I hoop a lot to alanis morissette, only for the sole reason that
she's my favorite artist. So you can use any kind of music really, you
can always find a way to adjust your hooping to it. For faster songs I
prefer a small light hoop as it goes faster. And for bellydance music, I
usually use a bigger one as it slows down the movements in a graceful
world music, oriental, and anything funky with a good drum beat is
great for hooping. The fine thing about hoop dance is that you can take
any piece of music you like and together with the hoop the result will
be magical. Experiment and play with different genres and notice how the
hoop movements and pace changes to fit the music.
Where can hoopers in Norway go to see you perform and learn about Hoopdance? Any exciting event coming up that you can tell us about?
anyone wanna learn, simply let s know! We would like to arrange
weekend-courses and workshops in the near future. We were peforming and
arranging a workshop at a fair last weekend, and it seems there is a lot
of interest for hooping. So we're on the rght way! =)
To learn more about these two vibrant hoopers visit www.rockeringdans.com
site is in Norwegian, you can check out the videos and look at the
pictures if you don’t know the language! Go on, check out the two young
women who are pioneers of hoop dance in Norway!)