Skip Navigation LinksAugust2008

Welcome to August 2008
Highlights of the month
  • Booking onto Bodyhoops course.
  • Vortex
  • Watching Hoopnotica

Friday 29/08/08

Man, I've had a really weird week with hula. I realised that I was indeed over doing it, there was a Bank Holiday last weekend so I decided to catch up on sleep and do something else for while, I did hula for a moment but no actual pratice. Then Monday came around and I worked out with my hula, music on and then I suddenly felt limited in my knowledge, hungry to be further down the line, with all the moves autonomous and at the mercy of my command. I wanted more options. I'm finding the lack of space restrictive to my progress, I close my eyes sometimes and I want to move around and then whack the hula on something and it's such a horrid and discouraging sound that I feel disappointment and anger. It's such a shame, there's no benefit to feeling that way but those are indeed my feelings and worth aknowledging. I'm so keen to be able to hoop on the shoulders and it drops everytime, or it goes to my neck, I've hurt my eve's pear and I have to be so careful of my voice as I make a living (when I get the chance to work) as an actress and I have to look after my vocal aparatus. I know the technique, chin up a little and shoulders pulled down, I get the timing wrong and then whack! I wish on the training dvds those great hoopers talk about how they felt when they were learning and maybe how to avoid those classic bruises and flying hula in face, it could be just me although I doubt it!

I like to record my practice to see how things are looking or to see if I'm making any obvious looking mistakes that I could be aware of. It's a useful tool, I know I know, I said I didn't really do the watching myself thing, a girl can change her opinion can't she? I was having a go at the shoulder hooping and everytime I dropped it, it whacked me on the ankle, really painful it was as well and I kept doing it again and again. I was so frustrated and I had to express it, my instinct is always to scream my feelings out but it's not appropriate when living with someone or with having neighbours who might take offence at my way of dealing with anger. So I spoke to the camera instead. I did give it another go only to hurt myself more.

Thursday night I thought I'd watch whatever I could find on youtube about shoulder hooping and watch the hoopnotica goddesses do their lesson on it again and again and again. I managed to keep the hula going for about 5 rotations and then it would go up to my neck or fall and hit my ankle. I felt that anger rising up so I put some chilled out music, Bjork actually! I switched the lights off and tranced out, zoned out, something strange was happening. Then I remembered something on youtube, that the shoulders rotate in opposite directions so when the lead shoulder goes back the second shoulder goes forward. Then it started to happen, although very awkwardly at first but it was staying up a lot longer than I thought. I then wanted to try lifting the hoop from my waist to my shoulders by shimmying the hula up my arms, I thought it would be impossible with my arm that doesn't straighten but I managed that. So the two things I've encoutered where I thought my arm would stop me doing them I've achieved in the same time as if I'd had two straight arms. I'm looking forward to practice tonight. Hopefully the frustration will subside.

Got my hoopgirl dvd today, I found her on youtube and saw her website, she's just as good as the hoopnotica goddesses and she has her own quirky style, she's the bomb just like Rayna and Keaton.


Saturday 23rd August 2008

I've booked onto the training course so by mid October I can become a Hula Teacher. I researched hula teachers on google and came across someone's site, she's from London and got the hula bug and teaches classes in her area and thankfully she mentioned who she trained with. So I searched Bodyhoops and what do you know they have a training coming up soon. I got in contact with the proprietor of the business and she informed me there were some places left so I put my deposit down. I'm really excited. I hadn't heard of this particular hula teacher but after a fair amount of research I found her and checked out her moves. She's awesome, each high level hooper I've seen have this delightful flow to their hooping, not too fast or too slow, very controlled and fluid to watch. I'm looking forward to addressing my issues and becoming a hoop instructor. The more classes I teach the more chance and time I have to hoop myself!

My practice is coming along very well indeed. I really struggled with the vortex last weekend and by Wednesday or Thursday something really clicked for me. I'd put candles on and burnt incense, put music on and tranced out, then it began to make sense. Chest hooping is getting better, it's very demanding of the body in terms of effort and I wish I could maintain it better but I've been happy enough with my progress to attempt shoulder hooping. That's really tough, falls down everytime, but I'll be steady and at some point it will come to me. My body needs time to digest the request I'm making of it. When I watch others do it they are barely moving the shoulders or at least it looks like that. I look forward to experiencing that one day. I've got to make more effort to move in the space, I think I'm a bit static and don't make use of my area, I don't have much space indoors so I'm inhibited by that and in the garden I feel exposed to the eyes of the neighbours, it's bothering me less but my imagination sometimes conjures up unkind thoughts some neighbours might have about me practicing in the garden.

Is there such a thing as too much hula? I practice for about 2 hours sometimes, not solid hooping but stretching, hula practice, attempting to learn things, watching a section of a dvd to learn or observe. And I wondered if I'm becoming obsessed with it! I've been doing an 8 hour day, having a little time to wind down, eat, digest the food and hula into the small hours. I've been getting to bed late all week and was going to practice last night and I just closed my eyes for 5 mins and that was me asleep till 3am the following morning!

Perhaps I need to revise my rehearsal schedule for hula and cut the time down a little. I'm learning so much though and when I watch people hula on dvds or on youtube it makes me want to have a go!

Thursday 21st August 2008

Watching myself hooping - weird! I've never seen what I look like hooping. I'm not really an advocate of hooping in front of mirrors, it's a habit I got into at drama school.  I notice I'm a kinaesthetic person and prefer to negotiate my world through touch and how I feel, the surface of an object, the feel of the trajectory of the hoop, it's weight, my emotional feeling during a move. So as an experiment I decided to video tape myself to see what works so far and what is less effective and to really discover if watching myself aided my progression.

The first thing that struck me was that what I felt with some moves, particularly the vortex/corkscrew looked really impressive but somehow felt clunky and ill timed. To be fair I've been learning the vortex since Sunday so I'm really pleased with how I'm progressing. It's all about momentum, relaxing and committing to the movement and that elusive confidence that it will work out.

I have a slight physical abnormality which sometimes makes me self conscious. My left arm doesn't straighten fully and I worry that others will see it as tension in the body and perhaps dislike me for it. It's happened in the past so I'm quite weary of having my arms on display and of it looking rigid rather than fluid and graceful in movement. When doing the vortex (my new favourite move!) it wasn't noticeable at all and in fact the hindrance seemed to help the movement.

I saw that chest hooping requires a lot of movement in the rib cage and that I was achieving that and basically all I lack is experience in doing the move regularly. Each time I have a go at it something is different and improved. I need to slow it down if possible and play with moving around, enjoying when it falls. A great philosophy but sometimes I find myself feeling annoyed I haven't reached the goal I was after. Practice, patience and no end gaining! In 6 months time my hooping will be beyond my current expectations and I'll read over these notes fondly.

I really need to find a rhythm in my movement, some kind of flow, I'm a bit unimaginative at the moment. My plan is to learn the moves, be confident and relaxed with them, able to smile through it and then perhaps I can forget the technique and begin to explore performance elements.

The ultimate note I'd give myself is to learn to relax my shoulders more and my upper body.

I keep looking at the Hoopnotica ladies and they are my inspiration and I truly hope I can hoop in my own way at their level. They are amazing and I want to be to.