Thinking Inside The Box: Indoor Hoop Practice
Fire Dancers get as stir crazy as any outdoor/adventure sport enthusiast I know, when Mother Nature is being uncooperative for great lengths of time.
In Southern California, the weather seldom drives us indoors. But not so long ago, I was based in a small town in the high desert, where the summer heat would climb to over 100 degrees. The winds in Moab would sometimes rage at 20-30 with gusts at 45mph in the spring and fall, and some winters would see subzero temperatures for weeks on end. Last winter was one of those, and I found myself confined to my living room to practice. I had to think inside the box. Here's how I handled my hoop practice and kept my sanity.
Once we have been hooping a while, we often find ourselves focused on learning new tricks, and often forgetting the joy that waist hooping can be. Work your non dominant direction, and try new stepping patterns to make it interesting. Switching from front/back to side/side hooping and adding steps can improve your timing and control. Got that? (Get ready to laugh at yourself) Add a salsa step or pas de bourree. Collect steps and string them together.
Chest breaks open you up to new rhythmic patterns. Play with breaks from under and over the hoop, and pinch breaks and mix them up. Play with the inner space, tracing the hoop's path, and wrapping your arms around your body inside the hoop. Try chest hooping on your knees.
Oh so much sustained spinning. At the beginning of last winter I could whirl about 720 degrees before I felt dizzy. Practicing sustained spinning daily while I was cooped up cured that! There are several videos out on this beautiful and calming practice that demonstrate footwork, which I recommend, to save your knees-the repeated twisting action can be rough on them with improper technique.
Turn out the lights and break out your LED hoop. The neurological stimulus will train your brain to maintain balance and orientation with bright light swirling around you...which means that, when then fair weather returns, you'll be ready to light up the night with your slick new moves!
Fiora Firefly is a fire dancer and flow arts instructor based in San Diego. To book her for your next event, or to inquire about private lessons, contact her at [email protected]