The Expressive Creatrix (and Hobbyist)

This is my practice journal.  The place where I keep track of when I practiced hooping, how long I practiced and what I worked on. 

December, 2010

I’ve decided to switch back to a more focused, technique-based practice method.  I want to work more on perfecting tricks I already know, learning new tricks, and little things like keeping my planes and angles straight, minding my posture, taking care to watch the non-working parts of my body to make sure they are doing something interesting and not just hanging there, dead and boring. 

I’m going back to my cards.  Each practice session I will draw a random card from my basket of tricks and focus on working on that particular trick during my practice session.  I may slowly layer tricks.  When I’m ready for a new trick, I’ll draw a card, work on that particular trick and then add in the previous tricks I’ve been working on.  I think this will be a great way to create combinations and, indirectly, work on flow.

23rd – Today’s trick was the backwards weave. Perfect choice.  I neglect this move because I’m not very good at it.  This morning I practiced for 15 minutes doing nothing but the BW, alternating hands.  By the time those 15 minutes were up, I saw great improvement!  I also worked on keeping my hoop swinging evenly and in a good plane while svertically swishing on my hand before going into the BW.  This evening I worked on it for another 20 minutes, and also added in some turns – a “scoop” type turn from minis to change hands and also turning with the hoop behind my back – and also doing a bit of forwards weaving.  I also experimented with moving around while BWing, and going in and out of turns, switching directions with my weaves, etc.  I feel really solid with the backwards weave now.  It feels comfortable, and there is a fluency to it that wasn’t there before.  Later I did about 5 minutes of BWing with just one of my mini hoops, alternating hands.  Doing anything with the minis feels vastly different than with the regular hoop!  After just those 5 minutes, though, I felt more fluent with the BW with the mini too.  Baby steps!

26th – This morning I spent 25 minutes with my regular hoop.  The “card of the day” (which is not necessarily an accurate name since some days I will be choosing not to pick a new card) was “Floating.”  Floating is Hoopnotica’s name for starting in halo and then lowering the hoop down around the body and back up.  It’s different from a corkscrew in that you don’t bring the hoop down, place it on your body and then bring it back up again with the same or opposite hand and the vortex in that you do not change hands as you bring the hoop down.  You keep the hoop in the same hand, letting it rest on the open palm and speeding up your body while turning inside the hoop while it comes down and back up.  You can float down just a little so that the hoop is going down just to around your face or a lot so that the hoop is down around the hips.  The lower you take the hoop, the harder it is as you have to spin your body faster to keep from landing the hoop on it. 

I practiced with both hands.  My right, obviously, is better than my left. I can get down to around my chest level with good form.  Any lower, and the hoop sags a bit and/or makes contact with my body.  With the left hand, I am only able to really get down to my neck.  It’s a nice move to practice as the constant spinning required can be very soothing.  It also makes me very dizzy, so I can only practice in shorter doses, alternating between the right and left hand so I can reverse the direction of my spinning. However, this is going to be good, I think, as I can build up the amount of time I spend spinning in one direction, thereby working on my sustained spinning ability.  I find I can spin for longer periods of time going to the left, and I think that’s because I usually spend more time spinning to the left. I’m hoping to build up the amount of time I can spin in both directions. 

I also worked on the backwards weave, adding in more elements to it – going down to one or both knees while BWing and also doing some step out moves to the side.  It’s kind of like side lunging.  When the hoop is coming down along my right side, I step out into a side lunge with the left foot, and when the hoop is coming down along my left side, I step out to the right.  It feels very nice.  I am getting really comfortable with the backwards weave and moving with it.  It feels very natural, and I think it probably looks very pretty. 

I also spent just 10 minutes working on some turns and weaves with my minis.  I had to cut it short as I was getting hungry!  I had spent 45 minutes working out first, then 25 minutes with my regular hoop. It was time for breakfast!  I’ll work on both the regular hoop and the minis again later this afternoon.

28th – I spent 20 min. with the regular hoop after my morning workout.  I worked on the backwards weave again.  This time I disocvered how to backwards weave to the side (with both hands) and played around with the differences between forwards weaving and backwards weaving.  I also worked a bit on floating.  Really struggling to the left, but it’ll come.  When I was done, I drew a new card to add a new move next time I practice.  It was the across-the-chest pass.  I’m actually happy about that. I do pretty well with it going from right to left, but the other direction needs work.  That pass works well with weaving, so I’m looking forward to doing the pass, catching the hoop on the receiving side and then going into a weave to the side.  This pass works very well with weaving!  Working the floating in with these two moves is going to be more of a challenge.

This evening I twirled my minis for 30 minutes.  “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” apparently does not apply to minis.  I haven’t worked with them for awhile, and it showed in my practice tonight.  My planes were off, and I intially struggled with the basic turn going fowards – a move I had mastered last week.  Wow!  Things did improve, and I found my flow.  I got my planes pretty much back on track, I remembered how to smoothly do a basic turn going forward, and I also made gains on my basic turn going backwards.  I didn’t work on weaves at all. I figured I’d better get my turns back in shape.  Note to self: Don’t ignore the minis for too long!

29th – Took my own advice and didn’t ignore the minis for long. I worked with them for 15 minutes this morning after my regular workout. I practiced planes, timing, basic forward and backwards weaving, forwards chase weave and all variations of turns.  The backwards turn to the left is coming along. I haven’t worked on turning to the right yet.

Five minutes only on my lunch break with the minis!  Even 5 minutes refreshes me for the afternoon at work!

This evening I spent 40 minutes with my regular hoop.  I worked on floating (the Hoopnotica video on this is so helpful once I really paid attention – the key is hand pressure!), the backwards weave and the across-the-chest pass.  I also worked on putting these three moves together into a simple combo.

30th – 20 min. this morning with the regular hoop working on backwards weave, across-the-chest pass and floating and combining.  Also started playing around with a backwards weave with jump through.  Need to nail down the mechanics of this one. I’ve never seen it done or watched a tutorial, so I’m making it up!

Approximately 45 minutes this evening, maybe 60.  I didn’t really keep track and stopped and started.  I worked with minis – attempting to learn the low reel turn.  I get the theory, I just can’t put it into practice!  I did, however, have a moment of glory!  I’m beginning to get the backwards chase weave, yea!!  PT Hooper’s tutorial on it really helped.  It felt so great to get the pattern and start to get into a rythym with it!  I also had a great moment with the regular hoop – I figured out the backwards weave with jump through!  I feel like I discovered a new move!

31st – I twirled my hoops this last monring of the old year in favor of my morning workout.  😉  It was fun!  I did the kunalini yoga-inspired warm up from Hoop Girl’s Hoopdance Evolution DVD just to get the blood flowing.  Then I went through the video making a reference card of the moves taught.  Not really hooping, but I’m glad I did it.  I discovered that Christabel teaches a backwards weave with jump through (she calls it “Empress”), but it’s different than what I came up with.  After the jump through, I continue the hoop around to the inside (or opposite side) of the body.  She jumps through and then does a surface switch so that the hoop is swishing vertically on the outside (same side).  Her version I find trickier, but it’s nice to have two versions now!  Then I played with the mini hoops, mostly working on the basic backwards turn but also a bit on the backwards chase weave.  Practice, practice, practice!


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