Repost from our previous blog site hooptricks.org - originally published on March 23, 2015 at 4:31pm
With so many people picking up a hula hoop now, you should know that there are also countless ways to learn how to use it. There are group classes, individual classes, online video tutorials, Skype lessons, learning on your own by watching others and trying to reproduce the moves you see, or simply by flowing with your sacred circle and letting the moves come to you.
Let's take a look at the benefits of each, and see what the flow community has to say about their methods of learning.
Group classes are led by an instructor, and can have a few, or a lot of participants. Generally, the price of a group class will vary with the amount of people that particular instructor teaches. Learning to hoop at an expert level takes a lot of time and dedication, and many instructors even pay for certification. Their time deserves to be reimbursed, so they will price their classes accordingly. Most classes run between 5 and 15 dollars, most being in the lower half of that range. Group classes can vary from the whole class learning new tricks together, or the instructor going around and helping each hooper with what they are working on. This is a reason why instructors will label their classes "all levels" or "beginner workshop", "intermediate class", and so on.
Why do we like group classes?
"I prefer to teach mixed/all level classes where each person gets mini privates with me to work on whatever they want along with my general lesson plan of ideas and concepts. And I prefer my classes to be less than 10 people so I have the time to really teach people to trouble shoot for themselves and better be able to teach themselves down the road."
-Cristina Holt, group class instructor and owner of Rainflower Hoops
Cristina Holt's Hooping Class in Atlanta, GA
" You can manually adjust their hands and other body parts into the correct position for tricks and other moves (which is something that only instructors or face to face people can do). I find that part of teaching to be the most helpful and crucial. Some peoples' body parts just don't want to move the way they need to, and they have to become familiar with the feeling of some moves."
- Melissa Stockwell, group class instructor of Hoop Fitness PLUS and owner of TranscenDance
Melissa Stockwell and her Hoop Fitness PLUS students
Though not as common, some teachers do provide individual classes (private lessons) as well. It can be more beneficial to the individual hooper to have more attention on them so that all their moves can be smoothed out individually. Usually privates cost more than group classes, and vary in length and structure depending on the student.
Cristina Holt of Atlanta, GA is an instructor who has been teaching flow arts from trapeze to hooping for over 10 years. Holt teaches some individual classes. "For kids, I usually don't teach private lessons for longer than 45 minutes and for adults they go between an hour and 2 hours," Holt said. "My youngest students are 5, and my oldest have been in their 60s and 70s!"
Other Forms of Finding Flow
Obviously, a person wants to get as much hands on experience as they can. But sometimes, we want to learn from specific people, and they are too far away to do an in-person lesson. This is when Skype comes in, and more renown hoopers can pass their knowledge to people around the country, and the world if they want!
Sheri Alice O'Brien teaches Skype lessons. "I feel like it works best when you are trying to go over tricks that they are not that comfortable with but I think that it is a little difficult to teach them brand new tricks via Skype. It's also really good if they want to see what they are doing wrong with a certain trick or if they want you to look over some choreography and see how they did and how they can make it better," O'Brien stated. O'Brien's classes are an hour long, and go down in price after the first class.
Holt also teaches Skype lessons, and also suggests them for wanting to learn a specific movement or trick instead of a group class.
A lot of hooping is framed around the fluidity of movement and flexibility. Yoga can do a great deal in helping one achieve this. Some tricks require movements our bodies simply are not used to, and flexibility only makes that easier.
Always explore the options available to you to improve your flow and love of hooping. If you have a passion, let it grow!