Hula-Hooping in Cape Girardeau: Much More than a “Fad”

Hula-hooping has grown tremendously in the United States. It made a huge pop in the 1970s, died down in the 1980s and has been growing since its return in the 1990s.

Cape Girardeau is home to several hoopers. Last year, Joann Miller (hooping since September 2009) led “hoop jams” at Pitter’s Cafe and Lounge. These hoop jams were a chance for Cape hoopers to gather among their peers for practice, play and learning. Many women attended, including local hooper Leigh Ann Hutchings (hooping since March 2010).

With regards to Miller’s start in hooping, she says, “I was living at Camp Zoe at the time. I had seen hoopers and had been jealous but never tried. But one day I picked one up, tried, bought a hoop, and I kept up with it. It gives me more energy than other hobbies.”

Hutchings states, “I had recently stopped doing dance, which I did my whole life. Hooping was a way of carrying on dance in a new form and not have to deal with constraints of modern dance.”

Miller and Hutchings both admit that since the cancellation of local hoop and spin jams, they hardly hoop with others anymore. Each would like to see more people in Cape Girardeau learning how to hula-hoop and get involved.

“We have a decent group of hoopers,” says Hutchings. “I would be happy with more if people do it for themselves and not for a fad. The ones who do it for themselves will stick with it.”

To build a hoop club in Cape Girardeau, Miller says, “A space would be good to start with and someone dedicated to be in charge.”

“There should be a group schedule,” says Hutchings. “And people need to realize the health benefits.”

Many hoopers can be found at music festivals and other outdoor events. But there are better reasons for hooping. Miller and Hutchings elaborate on why they hoop.

“It just feels good,” says Miller. “It’s really non-thought for me. It’s movement, it’s grace; it’s moving meditation. Something to look forward to that brings so much joy.”

“It helps me get out my energy and emotion. I do moves more gracefully than speaking words,” said Hutchings.

Both young women admit that they’ve gone through many hobbies during their lives, but they’ve always stuck with hooping.

Hooping is something persons of any age or gender can participate in. If anyone would enjoy becoming an active member of a Cape Girardeau hoop club, contact Hailey Medlin at 573-225-8911. For more information on hula-hooping, visit www.hoopcity.ca, www.hooping.org or www.hoopnotica.com.