Life on Long Island
Taking the Hula-Hoop to new heights (call it 'hooping')
The Hula-Hoop is often identified as something used by children for fun, or as a historical footnote as a fad during the 1950s – but today, for some the hoop has become an adult and modern obsession, and are using the large rings for more than just playtime.
Web-search “hooping” (that’s the preferred term, instead of “Hula-Hooping”) and “New York,” and classes, workshops, gatherings and performances centered on the use of the hoop will show up in solid numbers at locations in the city . . . but not so much on Long Island. However, there are definitely hoop happenings east of Queens as well.
There are LI-based MeetUp groups dedicated to shared hoop undertakings, and health-minded businesses like Five Branches Wellness in Greenport (430 Main St., 631-629-6636, fivebranchesgreenport.com) and Absolute Yoga in Woodbury (1 Guilles Lane, 516-682-9642, absoluteyogastudio.com) that offer hooping fitness classes – and then there is someone like Evan Davis, who uses a hoop to create unique and singular physical performances.
“Well, I don't really consider it a sport,” says Davis, a 23-year-old student from Coram, when trying to describe the nature of the activity, “It's never been about competitions or striving to be the very best, it's always been more of another way to express myself in dancing that turned into a passion-driven hobby, that also happens to be a great exercise. I definitely consider what I do a form of art, while it's a super-kinesthetic activity for the person hooping it's also a very visually appealing form of movement for those watching. When you start to get into choreographed performances, it's really hard to not think of it as an art form.”
Anyone curious to see what Evan does can look to YouTube, where he has posted clips that show his taking of a hula hoop and moving it around, up, over and off his body in a fluid motion, controlling the band at all times and shifting it from hand to hand, bouncing it off the ground and swinging the hoop around his limbs without stopping; at times it seems as if the ring is moving on its own.
However, his demonstrations are not limited to the Internet, as he has performed at concerts and outdoor events, using special hoops (such as LED-lighted and flaming bands) at times, and furthermore has traveled far from the Island to do so: “I started performing down in Blacksburg, Va., for the local music scene at a bunch of smaller concerts . . . I [later] found myself quickly absorbed into the hooping scene up here and started performing a lot of events in the Brooklyn electronic [EDM] scene.” Davis has also appeared with the touring Starscape music and entertainment festival during its 2012 stop in Baltimore, but can usually be found locally, pointing out that “you can also find me jamming out on the beach during the summertime.”
He’ll be sharing both his techniques and thoughts with students during a six-session series of hooping classes to be held at Don Audio in Holtsville starting on Feb. 7 at 8 p.m. It is designed for hoopers of an advanced level, and Davis will discuss and demonstrate how to master some of the expert movements used in hooping to create one’s own personal routines. Keep in mind: This class isn’t open to beginners, but Davis is more than willing to instruct fledgling hoopers, mentioning he is “definitely available for private lessons. I'm also able to travel . . . but travel money gets included into the costs.”
Davis does charge for instruction (the aforementioned six-class series is $25 each meeting or $100 for all six), but is also driven by a desire to instill his passion in others. “There really is nothing like getting lost in a circle,” he continues,” Hooping has become so prevalent in popular culture within the past few years to the point where I continuously see hooping and fire dancing on popular TV shows . . . It gets me really excited feeling like I'm at a point in my own hooping journey where I can help to introduce something that I feel is so wonderful to a much larger group of people. I'd just love it if everyone gave it a try next time they see somebody messing around with a silly plastic circle.”
“Creating a Unique Hoop Style Through Personalized Movements an Intermediate/Advanced Hoop Course” with Evan Davis
WHERE Don Audio: 194 Morris Ave., Holtsville, 631-383-1306
WHEN six classes on Thursdays, from Feb. 7 thru March 14, 8 p.m.-9 p.m.
COST $25 per class or $100 for all six
EXTRA INFO There will be a $5 “warm-up” session from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. for hoopers and curious parties alike before the Feb. 7 class. Anyone looking to contact Evan Davis for lessons, insured performances or other information can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.