I’m enjoying my off season. Minimal running and maximal funning. My friend, The Little Honey Bee, and I have decided to live out a popular childhood dream and join the circus. Not really. But we are taking circus-inspired lessons. A series of three activities to prepare us for the inevitable call from Cirque du Soleil.
First up, hula hooping. In my mind I am an awesome hula hooper. I can do tricks, handle multiple hoops, and wow the crowd with my mad skills. I mean skillz. Wii Fit agrees and I am currently the top scorer on our home system. The fact that Husband is the only other contender is irrelevant.
The last class I took with Honey Bee was a striptease lesson. It started with the instructor telling us to do our normal “sexy walk”. I slowly raised my hand, shyly asking, what if you don’t have a normal sexy walk? Don’t be silly, she scoffs, everyone has a signature sexy walk. Is this true? Am I the only person in the entire world without a signature sexy walk? That is a rather bold claim. This wasn’t the time for debate, so I faked it. Badly. And it went downhill from there. Little Honey Bee could make a living with her dancing skills, I … could not. So it is with some trepidation that I entered the studio of my hula hoop dreams. I mean dreamz. I hoped to fare better this time around.
Hoop Toronto’s Feelgood Friday Class promised “ego-boosting moves” and “hell yes! energy” and, erm, “increased libido”. Hooping is not as easy as I remember, but I’m thrilled to report that I don’t suck. Sadie Spins didn’t immediately try to recruit me to join her Hot Hot Hoopers performance troupe, but I wasn’t a total disaster.
We began with a 15-minute introduction to waist hooping. By the end of the intro my hips were tender and I was sweating. To emphasize, after the introduction I was tired. The hour long class had yet to begin. Honey Bee turns to me and asks, why do we always take classes that leave us covered in bruises? I think I sustained a neck injury during striptease. This time I feared hip dislocation. The next day I went to a pilates class and quickly realized how sore my abs were from hooping. Not just sore to the touch, but sore deep in the muscles. I can’t laugh without grimacing. Hooping is a workout. Or I’m hopelessly out of shape. Hooping is a hilarious workout. I don’t normally laugh with such abandon in a fitness class. Well, sometimes (often) I laugh inappropriately during classes (usually at the suggestion I contort my body into some sort of impossible yoga pose), but this time my giggles didn’t elicit stern looks from the instructor.
We tried different sizes and styles of hula hoops, including one so big it couldn’t hold a circular shape and took five minutes to make a complete rotation, slamming into your core at agonizingly slow intervals. At one point the instructor hands everyone a blindfold. I was skeptical. Very skeptical. Very extremely skeptical. Honey Bee and I exchanged what-have-we-got-ourselves-into looks. The blindfold was to help get us comfortable with dance hooping, without worry about what we looked like or what the hooping superstars (the non-beginners crashing the beginner class for their own ego-boosting purposes) were doing. To my total shock, the blindfold worked. We played a game in which we had to mimic our partner and I laughed ’til I cried. There were bouts of dizziness, when my brain tried to catch up with my fast-moving head. I learned techniques to combat the dizzies. By the end of the class I could hoop through the five levels of movement (from working on the floor all the way up to your tiptoes), transition between hooping and hoop dancing, stop and start the hoop gracefully, spin, switch directions, jump with the hoop, run with the hoop (yes run!!), and pose. Even sexy pose. I can’t, however, hula hoop in reverse. I am a unidirectional spinner. I love my new party tricks. The next time I go to a picnic I’m going to impress. Honey Bee and I may even try a stunt run in the fine tradition of the joggler. Look out for the hoop-runners, coming soon to a 5K fun run near you.
Title Reference: Shakira, featuring Wyclef Jean – Hips Don’t Lie. From the album Oral Fixation Volume II. 2006.