Adventures in Hooping

A few months ago I posted on the joys of finding my hoop groove. But there comes a time when achieving the next level in hooping requires a real live teacher. After much searching, I found a class offered at a circus school. That sounded cool - they'd be focused on tricks, right? On the first night of class, amidst kids juggling and women climbing aerial silks, I found my class. I noticed that the teacher and the other two attendees appeared much fitter at and least ten years younger than me. That should've been my first clue. The instructor gave us a choice for warm-up, jumping jacks or the trampoline. I hadn't been on a full-sized trampoline since high school. And certainly not one as high as these. I have to admit, I was a little nervous. But who's going to choose jumping jacks over a trampoline? So I climbed up and started jumping. Hesitantly, since I kept sliding around. I mostly focused on making sure I could stop. Okay, whew. Blood pumping, I was ready for the rest of the warm-up. My poor muscles strained at the stretches, but if this was the price for "advanced" hooping techniques, I'd endure it. 

Finally, we stood up. Now it's time for the good stuff, I thought. That's when the instructor said, "Okay, let's do our hand stand and head stand drills". My stomach dropped. Had I heard correctly? I sidled up to her and asked, "Head stands? Hand stands? What for"? "Aerial hoop tricks". I wasn't even sure what those were, and afraid to ask. In a low voice, I told her, "I've never been able to do a hand stand or head stand, even as a kid". Not a problem, she told me. I could work on incremental steps toward them, like doing tripods where you put your head and hands on the floor and lift your legs so your thighs rest on your elbows. Now, I'm not an upside-down kind of person. Really, really, not. So, once again, I was nervous. Actually, worse than that, I was devising an escape plan. But given how tiny our class was, there was no way to do so unobtrusively. Oh well, I could pretend to try to do tripods and kick ups and then withdraw from the class on my way out so I wouldn't have to endure this next week.