Hoop check out & recycling projects

Spring '07

Greetings hoopers.

As many of us long time hoopers know, and the recent initiates are finding, there is a long road to finding the “perfect” hoop for one’s body, style of moving and musical preferences. As we progress along our individual hoop paths, we may change hoops countless times as we practice new moves, experience new planes (vertical & angular) or incorporate reverses or holds. However, we may not always have it within our budget to throw down for a new hoop, or may not be ready to commit to a size in the first month of hooping. When I started hooping, there was no one around to purchase a hoop from, unless you went to a string cheese show, so it was trial, error, devotion and investment that created a bounty of hoops to experiment with. In order to lead a workshop, I needed hoops and so I crafted as many as possible. Spiral & I were cool with it because this labor of love created a surplus for teaching and for Weaver St Market events. (Yes, our own money, time and energy went into the research and crafting of every hoop that has been lovingly spun, tossed and rolled on the lawn for several years now.) But not everybody needs to acquire bulk tubing and tape to create a back breaking slue of hoops. And not everyone has the desire to invest the time or energy to perfect their hoop wrapping skills. So I have a proposal…

Just a couple of days ago, I was looking at my hoop stash when a couple of folks were over checking out tapes and hoops to customize and commission their own. As I had them try different hoops to size up what felt the best, I had an epiphany. (Not uncommon for moments hooping or watching others hoop.) I have five years of hoop crafting (minus the floaters, purchases and donations that have spun away over time) hanging on a home made hoop rack and a prayer in my carport. I keep them around to take to schools, after-school programs or workshops whenever I can, but for 85% of the time they are ornamental (and if you asked my housemate, not always in the best or subtlest of ways.) So, my revelation is to initiate a new hoop check out system from my home just outside of Carrboro (3 mi from balanced movement.) I think this could prove to be useful as folks are starting out and trying to decide what kind of hoop they really want or need. Hopefully, this will prevent you from buying one hoop and feeling that you need a different hoop the next week.

Make no mistake. There is rarely a better feeling than establishing a relationship with your very own hoop, learning its rhythm, finding peace together & having hooper pride as you carry your customized ring. However, it’s really hard to know what this hoop is going to look or feel like the first two or three classes you attend. One thing I am noticing is that some folks may choose to go smaller before they’re really. Or their hoop may not fit their body type and beats them up from day one. This may actually impede your ‘progress’ and the enjoyment of the process of learning to hoop. I totally understand lack of cash flow and discourage the waste that could be created buy acquiring a bunch of hoops that you may never really use again. Thus, I would like to make my years of hoop crafting available to our hoop community. I have hoops that have water, large diameters, small diameters, hoops covered in yummy stretch velvet of varying weights. There are hoops in the collection that have taught, traveled, performed, revealed, inspired & initiated. One hoop may have taught me leg hooping, another vertical, another angle. It seems a waste that their insight should be stored in my garage or laundry room in between my large classes. They have been filled with tremendous amounts of vital hooper energy as they have revolved around countless smiling radiant souls.

So, here’s how I envision this working, and I hope some of you will take advantage of this offer…

I will have a small notebook or clipboard where anyone who wants to borrow a hoop will write their name, phone number, email address, the hoop’s name (yes, I will get to name each one), and credit card number (just kidding, but do realize that my hoop collection is valuable to me beyond a dollar amount and I have been disappointed if not downright devastated when my lovingly handmade hoops have walked off permanently.) We can determine return dates on an individual basis, but I am thinking 1-2 weeks to start. It may be that after that time working with one hoop, you want to move to a different hoop for one reason or another. Or you may fall in love with the feel of this hoop and decide you want to commit to your own. Either way, I think this process could help folks determine how to size themselves up for a hoop for their body needs while enabling them to have a hoop to practice with at home in those sometimes awkward first weeks of class. I have used this technique with private lessons before and it has worked out well.

Some hoops that have been to WSM for season after season have become so ragged the tape is barely recognizable as it is shed by the once black ring. Last spring I went through my hoops and stripped and or re-taped some of them and donated them to a local after school program. The fall before, I delivered several to an elementary school in Haiti. Currently, I have a few that have reached this not so presentable stage and a few busted from eager and unattended children. I plan to repair and re-cycle these in the near future and would like to offer this service to others. If you have accumulated hoops that don’t get used or need repair, I would gladly take them off your hands or even host a recycling day where you can help. (If you need to have a hoop repaired for yourself that would be cool too.) Along with this I would be happy to collect tape donations (maybe even scraps for the make-over process.) Some kids or adults who would not get to hoop otherwise may deeply appreciate your no longer used, but fondly loved hoops. And your hoops may even appreciate being spun again and making someone else smile.

Love & peace