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What Exactly is Hoop Dance?

Hoop dance is an art form that combines dance and exercise. This form of dance uses large, colorful, weighted hoops for hypnotic on-and off-body moves. It is an upbeat, aerobic workout that blends the invigoration of cardio with a mind-body connection while improving balance, flexibility and core strength. The moves are artful-looking and fluid. Many of the dance moves are inspired by yoga and t'ai chi techniques.

The term hoop dance and hooping are used interchangeably. When you hear someone use the term "Hooping", they are often talking about or referring to hoop dance.

Hooping also, has taken cues from other diverse art forms such as:

Technically, hooping is a form of object manipulation and shares some lineage with classical juggling. The movement of hooping in conjunction with the related mind/body state, is referred to as "flow."

Where Did Hoop Dance Get Started?

The modern hoop dance was born in the 1930s. It was inspired by ceremonial hoop dance, which was universal among early Native American Tribes. Native American Hoop Dance is a form of storytelling dance. The dancer uses anywhere from 1 to 30 colorful hoops and his or her own body to create intricate shapes, often telling the story of life.

During the dance, shapes are formed in storytelling ritual such as the butterfly, the eagle, the snake, and the coyote, with the hoop symbolizing the never-ending circle of life. The hoop dance focuses on very rapid moves, and the construction of hoop formations around and about the body. In elaborate sequences of moves, the hoops are made to interlock, and in such a way they can be extended from the body of the dancer to form wings and tails.

Originally, hoop dance was a male-only dance form. However, in recent years women have become active participants in the hoop dance and in hoop dance competitions.

Native American Hoop Dance has been recognized as a cultural heritage. Every year the most popular Native Hoop Dance competition occurs annually at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona.

The Return of Hula Hooping

Many people who have been hooping for years credit the band "The String Cheese Incident to the resurgence of hula hooping. The band was known for throwing larger, Adult-sized hula hoops into the audience during their shows to get the people up and dancing to the music.

This form of hooping is growing popularity and has developed into a dance with many adding a variety of new moves.

Fitness Don't Have to be Boring or Painful... It Can be Fun!

Most people I know are still devoted to this old school thought of traditional exercise where they believe "no pain, no gain." That was back was back in the 1980s where you had to work and "feel the burn." They expect and accept physical discomfort from exercise, even if they traded in their old Jane Fonda aerobic routines for elliptical trainers, weights, or kickboxing classes. There is no sense of pleasure, just work.

The thing I like about a hoop dance workout is that it promotes play and childlike fun. I don't have to dread going to the gym and doing boring reps. Or have to deal with the stale air of the gym. Also, it is cost effective and saves time for any busy schedule.

I don't know about you, but I hate fighting the traffic to get to the gym every day. All I have to do is get home, pick up my hoop and get a good 30 minutes workout.

You know the biggest problem with traditional exercises is that most people don't stick with the program. They may start out with the best intentions, but usually lose interest because it gets bored. As a result, most people don't follow through with their fitness program. So they end up paying monthly fees for a gym membership that is not being used. What a waste!

Can Hoop Dance Really Get You In Shape?

The answer is yes... you can get in shape and loose weight with a hoop dance workout. In fact, spinning the hoop around your waist works your core, hips thighs, gluts, and abs. You can get an entire body workout with a complete resistance training and cardio workout when you add upper body moves.

According to the Mayo Clinic study, you can burn 100 calories every 10 minutes with a hoop dance workout. That's as much as running on a treadmill. In no time, your physical transformations include smaller waistline, tightened abs, defined arms and pounds lost.

How Can I Learn to Hoop Dance?

If you are interested in learning how to hoop dance, look no further than your local gym. Hooping has now found its way into mainstream gyms and studios as a fun and effective form of exercise. You can find classes all across the country as more and more people rediscover that exercise can be fun and entertaining!

Christabel Zamor, who is the creator of the HoopGirl Workout, released a book on hooping in 2009. The book is titled Hooping: A Revolutionary Fitness Program. The book includes 50 minutes workout DVD.The workout moves are easy to learn. Once I got started reading this book, I couldn't put it down.

You can read my review about her book.

Also, you can check out Hoopnotica's Fitness Hoopdance DVDs to learn step-by-step how to hoop dance at home.

› Hoop Dance

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