When I first found hoop dance, I knew I had a spark for dancing but I hadn’t yet explored it through formal training. My first exploration into Hoopdance was a class my college roommate and I took with Jessica Katharsys at the UNC Greensboro Student REC center, and I am so appreciative for the training she offered. With my hoop dance teacher and roommate by my side I felt very comfortable taking my favorite childhood toy as my dance partner.

The school year ended and my dear instructor moved out of state, but my roommate and I had plenty of new hoop dance friends to swap tricks and dance with all summer long at the weekly community Hoop Jam – I couldn’t get enough!

My hula hoop and I went everywhere together! We had our favorite spots: the room with the high ceiling, that spot in the yard. I found myself hooping to celebrate, hooping to meditate, hooping for hooping sake, and enjoying learning new movements left and right. As my skill expanded, my ability grew allowing my movements to flow with every rotation of my hoop.
…and then eventually…it wore off and I began feeling stale. I danced less and less with my hoop, and for shorter sessions.

Then it dawned on me: I hadn’t learned anything new in a while. I was disenchanted with doing the same few trick combos and only spinning in circles. I felt ready to push past the hooping plateau, and infuse my hoop dance practice with more dance.

If you’re feeling stuck in a rut, knowing you can bring more to your hoop dance flow…
I completely understand. I’ve been there. Many times. I’ve learned to stay ahead of the ebb, and I find my flow time and again by changing up my routine.

Designing my unique and dynamic hoop dance flow gives me joy, and I’m excited to share tips for finding your own personal style! 

First…find your why. Ask yourself some questions – what do you love about hoopdance? What do you admire about your favorite hooper’s movement or style? What fundamental elements get you going? Is it the art of illusion? Using movement to create shapes? The grace of balance, coordination, and harmonized motion? The cathartic experience of cardio release? 

Second…take a moment to consider what inspires you. Define for yourself how you want to make the most of your movement practice, then commit yourself to it. Once you’ve reflected on what calls to you and defined your intentions, you’ll find inspiration all around!

Third…expand your style. Here’s the biggest insider secret I can offer you: learning from and with others undeniably propels personal growth. I shake up my routine by taking a variety of classes from esteemed local & visiting instructors. I often invite my friends to attend these new movement classes, and it’s great fun to experience and grow together! Don’t feel limited to learning only within the hoopdance community! I enjoy movement training that doesn’t involve my hoop, and such practice is an important part of my hoop dance journey.

Katja’s Inspirations & Influences from alternative movement practice classes:

Yoga/Flexibility Training taught me to control and consider mobility, balance, and flexibility and to move with breath…to be mindful to breathe.

Belly Dance particularly inspired me with the dynamic chest movements as well as the practice of keeping on my toes (hoopers are notorious for turning on their heels which is poor form & will quickly lead to injury).

Hula Dance enhances my ability to tell stories with my hands, a culture I hold near and dear since I had the pleasure of spending my childhood on Oahu.
Choreography Classes keep my movements open, refresh my body from the same comfortable combos, and introduce new muscle memory from drilling counts. Choreography classes are a unique look into the instructor/choreography creator’s flow.

Stiltwalking refines my balance & confidence in standing tall 8’ tall! I’ve been very positively impacted as an entertainer by my stilt walking practice.

Fourth and last…a little bonus tip: capture and display your inspirations on a movement mosaic. This will allow you to solidify your focus on an influence board, a picture collage, a bulletin board of keepsakes from classes/workshops, or word art. I highly recommend putting it somewhere you can see it regularly celebrate your unique inspirations!

Here I captured my inspirations and goals through symbols and words that were meaningful to me. I pinned it on my bedroom wall, where I can look at it often!

How does a Movement Mosaic lead to dynamic hoop dance flow? It encouraged me to immerse myself fully in understanding the things that inspire me and helped me recognize the value I gained from my class experiences as well. Every glance at my Movement Mosaic gives me another opportunity to celebrate the fantastic impact each inspiration has had on my unique flow!

We all have our own individual set of experiences and influences, and your movement mosaic will be a reflection of that. I hope you feel inspired to celebrate movement practices that ignite the spark in you!

Tag me in photos of your Movement Mosaic on Instagram @katjahoops 

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