It’s All in the Tape. Part 7


It’s All in the Tape. Part 7

continued from Part 6

The first festival I ever sold at was Last Thursday, a well known street fair in Portland, Oregon, held on the last Thursday of every month.  During the months of May through September the street is closed down and artist and vendors, old and young alike, bring their merchandise to the streets, set up shop, and hope to make some dollars. There is everything from jewelry, paintings, metal work, clothing and of course, even a couple other hoop vendors.

I set up shop in the middle and before long I got word on the street that there were other hoop vendors.  But even with the competition I may have had, I cleared my inventory.  I couldn’t believe it.  Sales started around four o’clock before the roads were closed. Just as I tightened the Christmas tree stand and hung the last hoop on the pole, a car drove up and asked how much for two hoops.  The thirty old woman and her niece got out, picked their favorite hoops, paid me $40 and drove away.

The first one to sell was one I thought was the ugliest.  This hoop fell short compared to the rest, or so I thought.  I suppose it to goes show that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and in the end every hoop I made was beautiful in it’s own right.


It’s an Old Soul, but It’s Got a Young Heart. Part 2

String Cheese Incident Logo

String Cheese Incident Emblem

It’s an Old Soul, but It’s Got a Young Heart. Part 2

Continued from Part 1.

Though no one can be exactly sure how the 90‘s resurgence of the hoop came about,  The String Cheese Incident had huge hand in the helping.  Known as a jam band,  that released its first album in 1996, Born on the Wrong Planet, String Cheese Incident gives credit to Beth Childers.

The story goes that in the beginnings when playing clubs in Telluride and Crested Butte, Colorado, no one was dancing. Beth Childers and friends started bringing hoops made of irrigation tubing to get people to move.

From there, hoops started being incorporated into their shows and band would bring quantities to throw into the audience.
Violin-mandolin player Michael Kang remembers preparing 70 or 80 hoops for the Telluride Bluegrass Festival.

“We had it worked out that during our set,” he tells NPR reporter, Sean Cole, “our buddy would throw these hoops out into the crowd. And the next thing you know when we’re playing, there’s like 70 people Hula-Hooping all over the place and it kind of just caught on and took off after that. And the hoop became an emblem.” So much so that band uses it for a logo.
Sean Cole’s interview aired in 2005 on NPR and then String Cheese Incident band members observed that at any summer outdoor festival there were at least “50 to 60 people in the back totally grooving with hula hoops on.”
Since 2005 and especially since the 1996 “rebirth,” of the hoop, the number of hoopers has continued to grow. A number of differing elements that pioneered the rise in popularity is continuing to be fascinating.

Part 3

It’s an Old Soul, but It’s Got a Young Heart.

Old Soul Young Heart

Chapter 2. It’s an Old Soul, but It’s Got a Young Heart.

The hoop is an old thing. I mean really old. It’s a circle. The first human invention.  Wall drawings date back to 1000 B.C. of Egyptians playing with hoops which were probably made out of grapevine and stiff grasses.  Hoops are old.  They’ve been around since nearly the dawn of man.  History of hoops and circles is everywhere. The Greeks used trochus, and Native Americans used hoop dances for healing.  In France, the hoop was used in dances to honor Dionysus, the god of wine and fertility.  Australian children used hoops to entertain the Queen. And when British soldiers returned home from war and saw the kids swinging wooden hoops around their hips, the parallels were made between the hula dance, and the hoops. Hooping became known as Hula-Hooping.

But it was Richard Knerr and Arthur Melin, founders of Wham-O who in 1958 reinvented human’s first invention.  Trademarking the Hula Hoop, the age old toy was then marketed and mass produced.  Millions of plastic hollow tubes were sold all over the country.  By 1959, Wham-O sold over a 100 million.

By the 60’s, sales had dropped significantly, and the $1.98 hoop was no longer Wham-O’s #1 seller.

It wasn’t until the 90’s that the hoop was yet again somewhat reinvented.

Part 2


Every Hoop has a Beginning, Doesn’t It? Part 7

Hoop Ballet

Every Hoop has a Beginning, Doesn’t It? Part 7

Continued from part 6.

The hoop class was held in a dance type studio.  Beautiful hard wood floors and tall mirrors from top to bottom.  The smell of the room took me back to Hansen’s Dance and Tumbling where I spent eight years of my childhood pointing my toes, straightening my knees, sucking in my belly, and tucking in my butt.  As I stood with a hoop in my hand, I could almost hear the white-haired instructor yelling at me, and slapping her hands against her thighs telling me to “turn out,” meaning turn my toes out which uncontrollable pointed inward like a pigeon.

I was limber, athletic and never shy in a spotlight.  I had rhythm and was a pretty good dancer except for my pigeon toes.

I was standing at the ballet bar working on my first position when the hoop class instructor told us to make a circle.  We had to introduce ourselves, saying our name and why we had chosen to take the  class. I threw an internal tantrum because I hate stuff like that. No. I don’t wanna. I wanted to scream. All I wanted to do was run around barefoot on the wood floor.

When it was my turn I said, “I want to hoop because it makes me feel like a kid.” This statement followed with a touch of laughter that sounded like a machine gun which, no doubt, made me appear extra special. But I became giddy realizing just how much of a child I felt.

The instructor smiled  as everyone in the circle said their thing.  After the awkward introductions, we spread out across the dance floor, and class began.

Part 8

Every Hoop has a Beginning, Doesn’t it? Part 4

Hoop part 4

This is one of my favorite pictures.

Every Hoop has a Beginning, Doesn’t it? Part 4
continued from part 3

Once, I had stepped through the hooping doorway, even my language began to change.  It took no time to realize I did not want to say, ‘hula hoop.’ I may have bought a ‘hula hoop’ at the toy store, and I may have been ‘hula hooping,’ but my position quickly changed when I understood that I wanted to hoop.

Suddenly, even saying ‘hula hoop’ created a vision of a thin piece of plastic to me, flimsy and weak.  I wanted the strong and beautiful hoop I saw in these videos.  “Hoop.” Even saying it out loud I felt strength rise up inside of me.  I needed to hoop.  I needed a hoop.

My glittery pink toy store hoop was ill-fitted for my adult body. Like skis fit certain body types and certain styles of skiing, hoops fit each of us differently.  The rule is – the bigger they are the easier they are.  There is no wrong size hoop. If it can be hooped with it’s a perfect hoop.  But I was a woman. I was certainly bigger than a child. I needed a woman’s hoop, not one meant for someone half my size.

I combed the websites of the hundreds of different hoop companies.  There is every color, every design, every type of hoop out there.  Hundreds of circles to choose from. Handmade and crafted beautiful pieces of art.  I wouldn’t pay money for just any old hoop, but I did not have any deep desire to have any particular sparkle or color.  I wanted, nearly needed a hoop. When I finally decided on a company to order from, I had the option to pick red, blue, green, pink or yellow.  I chose red. Or maybe it choose me since red is the color of strength, power and energy.  I paid $30, waited four days, and went to pick up the hoop I ordered from a local hoop maker.

Part 5

Every Hoop has a Beginning, Doesn’t It? Part 3

Part 3

Every Hoop has a Beginning, Doesn’t It? Part 3

continued from part 2

The world wide web is an essential tool for any grown adult who may have fallen in love with a hula hoop. Youtube is the lighthouse to the ocean of hula hoops, the beacon, the incredible linking force.  It’s at least a good place to get mounds of information, overwhelmingly so.  I and my new found love started to grow being only watered by the videos of youtube.

Hours upon hours upon hours of watching videos and videos. I had just uncovered Narnia. I had been introduced to the Promise Land and I could drink and eat and never be full.   I started with the tutorials, and trick breakdowns. I followed the instruction of the eHow girls, and took my lessons from those who had been on the hooping road for awhile. The masters.

There were so many people in the world who shared my love for the hula hoop. I couldn’t believe it.

To this day I remember the first video I ever watched. It was titled  “hopping” instead of “hooping” because I typed it in wrong as did the person who uploaded the video. I watched the hoppy video over and over. It was the most beautiful, amazing thing I had ever seen. I watched it. I studied it. I watched it again. I had never seen anyone move like this woman did. I immediately not only wanted to meet this girl with her blonde dreadlocks, tan skin and gypsy chic style, but I wanted to be this person (but without the dreadlocks). A passion erupted from inside of me.

And the internet was my doorway I needed. It allowed me fuel and feed my passion.  I not only found videos, but websites and communities dedicated to the love of the hoop.

Part 4

(I now know that video was of Lisa Lottie, a hooper who performs in London mostly.)

What was your first video?

Every Hoop Has a Beginning, Doesn’t it? part 2

Every Hoop Prt 2

Continued from Part 1 

There was an immediate internal battle when I got my hoop home. The turmoil came when my internal child started arguing with my adulthood, nagging at it to let her play. Come on, come on, come on. Please. Please. Please. Play.

So at first, I started to hoop all shy like. I’d take out my sparkly hula hoop and try to hide it, like hiding a hula hoop is even possible. I didn’t want to be seen as a grown woman playing with a toy. “Is she crazy?” I could hear my neighbors say. “I bet she’s on drugs.”

So in the beginning, I starting hooping in the garage with the garage door shut, in the darkness, so no one could see me, so no one would know what I was doing. And what I was doing was pushing a hula hoop around my hips.  I’d push the hoop, and it’d fall to the ground. I’d pick it back up and push it around again, and again, and again until after an endless amount of trying I finally got this ridiculous flimsy piece of plastic to move around my body in multiple rotations. It was so rewarding. Let me say again, it was so rewarding. I didn’t want to stop moving it. The movement relaxed me and almost hypnotized me. I wanted to giggle, pat myself on the back, and tell everyone about how good hula hooping made me feel.

But no matter how great I felt doing it, I still couldn’t quite get over the fact that I was a grown ass woman hula hooping in my garage. It seemed so ridiculous. I was mortified when my roommate opened the garage door while I was in mid thrust. I felt like someone had caught me cooking up drugs instead of hula hooping.  I felt like I had been caught red handed in the garage and I had no other explanation than just to say, “I’m hula hooping,” and feel like a complete nut job.

But because everyone can acknowledge the fun to be had inside of a hula hoop, effortlessly, that pink hoop would make her appearance at parties and gatherings, much to the amusement of everyone. Everybody would take a turn at center stage on our patio and give the pink hoop a spin. Grown men and women would set down there beers to give the hula hoop a whirl.  And everyone would cheer and applaud and laugh and laugh.

Once, when it was my turn to take center stage, the hoop inevitably dropped from my waist to my knees and then from my knees to my ankles, and my friend said,  “Wow! Where did you learn that? Did you learn that on youtube?”

“Where’d I learn what?” I said as I lost the spin. “What’s on youtube?” I asked.

My mind was about to be blown.

Part 3


Where you a closet hooper? Are you still?