I’ve been teaching at Two Left Feet Dance Studio in Danville, California for not quite a year now. When I spoke to Stephanie, who runs the business with her husband, Randy, about adding a Tuesday morning class she said, “You should come in and do a demo some Friday night so the dancers can see what hoop dance is.” We agreed that I’d choreograph one song to include enough moves to give them an overview. I thought, well, I’m neither a performer nor a choreographer but I know I can get through one song.
I took the Hoop Girl Performance Training last August. Several of my friends had taken it and encouraged me, saying that it had been one of their favorite trainings. Unlike most of the women in the training, I had no aspirations of performing. Though I took the training in order to round out my skills as a teacher, I came away with so much more. I felt more confident, prepared to bring a new kind of creativity to my hoop dance and willing to get a little further out of my comfort zone.
Rob (my guy) came with me for moral support the night of my demo. When we arrived at 9:30 the dance floor was filled with dancers. I cued up my song, Stephanie introduced me, the music started and I moved out onto the floor with my rainbow hoop revolving around my hand. Though I was nervous I reminded myself that I was just there to demonstrate a hoop dance for them. I had so much adrenalin running through my body that I had no concept of time. I made my way around that (suddenly huge!) dance floor following the rhythm of the hoop and the music; a little surprised by how much I could feel the energy of the dancers who sat watching from the little tables lining the floor. I hooped on my core; from waist to hips and up around my shoulders. I swung it up overhead on my hands and then brought it down into a low sweep. I lifted the hoop off my shoulders and up into a weave pattern across my body before jumping through it. When the song ended I was out of breath, buzzing with energy and very proud to have made it all the way through without dropping the hoop.
What started out as a hoop demo turned out to feel much more like a performance. Had I gone into it realizing that I don’t know if I’d have been so willing to do it. Sometimes it’s better not to know and just get out there and do the thing that life is inviting us to do. It turns out that doing the unexpected has become something of a theme in my life since I picked up my first hoop in August 2009. I never expected to have my own hoop. Now I have a dozen. I never expected, especially at this point in my life, that I would be able to learn to actually hoop dance-and be so comfortable and happy in the hoop. I never, ever, expected I would teach hoop dance–much less love it so much. And I never in a million years expected that I would be given the opportunity, much less find the nerve to get out in front of a crowd of dancers with my hoop and perform for them. And each of these things has thrilled my soul. Each of these things has tapped me into my own deep (unexpected) reservoir of Joy.
Rob had never seen me do anything remotely related to a performance because other than the casual jam circles at the end of my classes in which each hooper spends a minute or two in the center for a mini-performance, I don’t perform. He had only seem me practicing for the past eighteen months and drilling different moves, dropping the hoop over and over and over. As we drove home he said, “I’m so impressed! You did great! I had no idea you could do that! The crowd seemed to be enjoying it, too. Did you hear them cheer?” I laughed and said, “Thanks! I didn’t know I could do that, either.” Neither of us thought to video it. Maybe next time…
In the mean time, my song was Let’s Dance by Mya from the soundtrack to the movie Shall We Dance. I have hooped to it so many times I know exactly where all of the breaks and tempo changes are. It has enough drama to make it interesting and the beat is just perfect for a hoop dance. The only example of it I could find on YouTube was this clip that is only includes about half of the song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHx_gXGD_3Y