Monday, February 04, 2008

The Making of a Hoop Star

Recently I have been asked by a tribe of amazing supporters how I began hooping. So I have decided to write a little post about my steps to becoming a hoop obsessed dancer.

A friend of mine Gala, creator of the must-read blog iCiNG (if you don't read her and love her by now you totally should!) held her 5th International Dress Up Day back in June 2007. The theme was alter ego. The pictures and stories sent in were glorious and the effort outstanding. One stood out for me and so I quickly jumped onto the link promising a "short video of my alter ego in action". What I saw was this...

A sideways video that would change my life!

I couldn't get the image of the funky hooper out of my head and I knew I had to get my hands on a hoop. I remembered that a year or two before during a totally spontaneous shopping spree at a sports store (??) in Tokyo Masao had bought me a hoop in a box that had to be assembled, made up of about 12 pieces. I dug in out of storage, put all the pieces together, realised it was quite small but took turns with Masao until one of us could keep it revolving around our hips for more than two or three rotations. Masao was the pioneer. His hips pumping at warp speed he was able to keep the tiny hoop spinning for quite some time. This crazy hip pumping went on for days. I was completely entranced by the motion, the sweat, the centrifugal force. At the same time I began to collect a growing number of hoop videos on youtube and information about hooping. I learned that I needed a large hoop, measuring about 95cm in diameter, if I hoped to do anything more than a hip pumping, body shaking dance.

I searched and pestered Masao to find me a hoop in Tokyo. It seemed near impossible, no one we contacted knew anything about the hoop thing. I persevered with my mini hoop and mimicked the motions and moves I had been watching over and over on youtube, spending up to two hours a days spinning, twirling, jumping and dropping the hoop. Finally Masao stumbled upon Hoopstore Tokyo. I could barely contain myself and sent an email to the Hoop Girl trained, Justin and Mario immediately. They wrote back with such a friendly response and I booked the next class that was available.

My mum was in Tokyo at the time, possibly confused by my obsession but obviously seeing my delight with the plastic pipe she came along with Masao and I to our first hoop class in Shinjuku. By this time I had mastered the hip pumping but was unprepared for how much of a workout the new, big hoops were about to put me through. Sweat poured, muscles burned and I felt completely alive from head to toe.

A few days later Masao set out on one of his city adventures to "meet a friend" leaving mum and I to relax, shop and cook up a storm. It was getting late and I still had not heard from Masao, he had been out all day and I had tried calling his phone several times to see if he wanted to have dinner with us. Mum appeared to be just as worried as me that he was not returning my calls, little did I know that she was in on the whole scam. Masao returned hours later with a perfectly wrapped, sparkling pink hoop. My mum had sent Masao off to buy one from Justin and Mario at Hoopstore Tokyo and the trio had spent the day talking hoops, business and boy stuff.

I now had everything I needed to start on the road to hoop stardom. We hit the park everyday. I feel like I ate, slept and dreamed hooping. It was the first thing I thought about in the mornings and I would go to bed each night in a spin from watching so many hoop videos on youtube.
I continued to go to a few classes at the Hoopstore Tokyo but as other parts of our lives got busier it became impossible to get to classes. We would go to the park and hoop late at night sometimes well after midnight. That is one of the most amazing things about living in Tokyo, it is so safe.

Still needing instruction but unable to make it to classes I invested in the Hoop Girl DVD and the Hoopnotica Teaching Training Package Level 1 & 2. I would watch them every morning before work and as soon as I got home from work preparing for my after dinner park hoop jam. Masao had his own hoop by this stage and we would teach, encourage and remind each other of things we had learned in class and on the DVDs. I definitely recommend both of these DVDs for mastering a range of hoop moves. Each has it's strengths. The Hoop Girl DVD offers inspiring dance combinations while the Hoopnotics DVD is fantastic for trouble shooting and tips on how to work through the learning process.

From there I basically took hooping into my own hands. Taking inspiration from Hoopers all over the world thanks to youtube, and I was able to connect with an intense and welcoming global community.

In January I was nominated by as one of 5 Newbie Hoopers for 2007. This was an amazing reward and opened up so many opportunities for me. I was invited to perform my first Hoop Dance in a Tokyo club, fulfilling part of one of my goals for 2008. I received my first LED hoop and twin hoops to begin my journey into the world of circus hooping.

Friday night at Velours in Tokyo marked my first Hoop Dance performance in a Tokyo club. It was just the beginning, I hope to see you out and about I plan to take this city by storm and whip the club scene into a flashing, rainbow swirl of wild hoopla! Be sure to come and say hi!

One of the most exciting things to happen in my world of hooping recently is the connection I have made with Bunny Hoopstar. Bunny is a Sydney-based hooper, performer and trainer. She has long been a powerful inspiration to me. In fact one of my goals for 2008 read "Meet Bunny Hoopstar". That dream is coming true very soon as I get prepared to jetset off to Sydney in March to complete teach training with Bunny at her Darlinghurst hoop camp. I had contemplated teacher training via a few other teachers but Bunny rocks the style, strength, individuality and hoop skills that I admire and aspire to the most. I couldn't be happier to have her as my mentor.

So what does the future of hooping hold for me?

I really look forward to sharing my adoration for this mind blowing, body changing, life transforming form of self expression with friends and students in Japan and the rest of the world. I am a life long learner of the hoop path so I also look forward to learning from students, friends and other hoopers.

Everyday I learn something new about my body, it's motion and connectedness with the colorful rings. I look forward to strengthening my practice with each dance.

My LED hoop is far too gorgeous to be locked up at home so I will be spinning it at clubs and events around Tokyo and in Australia.

I am open and ready for all of the exhilarating hoop opportunities that are heading my way.

So there you have it, my short but powerful journey into the world of hooping thus far. I feel it has only just begun and yet has given me so much more than I could ever have thought possible. I have an endless number of friends and hoopers to thank.

Anytime you feel like starting a revolution be sure to get in contact with me! Sure to put you in a spin in the funkiest possible way.

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Blogger Sandy said...

You are an amazing young lady!

5/2/08 12:50 AM  
Blogger sushizume said...

Thank you Sandy. Your support brings me a ton of joy!

5/2/08 8:47 AM  
Anonymous bunnyhoopstar said...

I love your writing not to mention your hoopla. Thank you for choosing me as your mentor. I feel honoured. And you have inspired me to pick up my cyberpen and blog ON! So thanx once again. Rokn pix btw X

5/2/08 8:57 AM  
Blogger sushizume said...

Thank you Bunny, for everything!
Look forward to blog posts Bunny-style.

Cannot contain my excitement about being in Sydney and hooping it up with you!

5/2/08 9:27 AM  
Blogger D'Jen said...

I just had to share with you!

I just bought a proper hoop with grip tape from Bunny's store, I want to get serious with my hooping and I decided to bite the bullet and buy a hoop from someone who knows what she is doing, mine just aren't cutting it.

Thanks so much for reigniting my hooping passion :D

5/2/08 6:34 PM  
Blogger sushizume said...

Congratulations d'jen I am happy to have helped out. I am sure Bunny is also excited that she has a part to play in your new hoop blaze!

I expect pictures!!

5/2/08 7:16 PM  
Blogger Lulu said...

Deanne, I am still so up for trying hooping with you!!! Just waiting for it to get a little warmer so we can head out the the park and give it ago.

How about in a couple of weeks??

Loved your pics, you were amazing!

ps: Friday night drinks are still on if your schedule is free!!!

5/2/08 11:09 PM  
Blogger sushizume said...

All the shimmying and spinning will definitely get us warmed up but I am totally up for waiting a few more weeks!

Will start some classes and hoop jams in the park in April after I come home from Australia. If we get a chance to get together before that, that would be cool!

I am still stuck with some things on Friday but as the week wears on I may be free. Definitely keep you posted. ;)

5/2/08 11:15 PM  
Anonymous yuki said...

whoa, that LED hoop is THE MOST AMAZING THING EVER. seriously! i love all the photos of you in it! i'm contemplating on getting one for my 'tokyo night lights' photoshoot..

8/2/08 12:49 AM  
Blogger sushizume said...

Yuki I bought mine from Super Hooper
They were super friendly and helpful!

Word on the street is that great ones also come from psi hoops

8/2/08 8:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm wondering, is hooping physically demanding? If so, what parts ache the following morning? I want to try, but I fear the consequences!

25/2/08 12:06 AM  
Blogger sushizume said...

Hi anon,
Hooping is as strenuous as you want it to be, you are in total control. It is a gorgeous workout and certainly trims fat away.
All of the consequences are purely positive. Any pain that your body may feel is simply messages to say you are awakening and ALIVE! That is what life is all about!
DO IT! Your body, mind and spirit will thank you for it! Are you in Tokyo? If so, get in touch and we can hoop it up some time!

25/2/08 10:39 AM  

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