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Barrel Rolls

        This class has had a few different incarnations, so there's more on it written below. But generally, this is a class on spinning. Spinning on the vertical plane and sometimes isolating the hoop while doing that. I like to rely on an exchange between myself and the hoop that carries me through the movement. I think that some of the most spectacular looking maneuvers can be made much easier by establishing a studentship to them. Following the hoop at times, actually waiting to be pulled and guided by it, can help to bring us there. There are more tools for this than I will ever come across. But in the meanwhile, as far as this class goes, I'm primarily interested in taking note of the tension that arises in the preparation of movements; the strain that occurs despite the physical elements that could rather be working in our favor. Often hoop movements are accomplished in spite of the elements at play, rather than in response to them. But the hoop can actually be used at a compass for this- our awareness to nuances occurring. Sometimes I like to say that the "move" is actually the experience. ...and are some specific areas of

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Everyone has their thing. For me, it’s staying in flux.

    Remaining just off balance, teetering asymmetrically around the center of gravity, I really enjoy developing a rhythm of alternation; not just between myself and the hoop, but between the upper and lower halves of my body. I love it when a spin is perpetuated by an exchange in leadership this way. The hips and legs pull the chest and arms that then pull the hips and legs, etc. etc. With a hoop at hand, it’s all the more: like having an upper-body tail-- an extension of the top half that adds both dynamism with its added momentum and softness with its signature curve.


    In that way the momentum (or “flow,” as it feels to be) is never set stagnant or stabilized in a set position, but rather sent circulating between ourselves and the hoop; the hoop serving as both a facilitator in the movement and a measuring stick by which to observe our fluidity of motion.


   In a “Barrels” class that includes the word “alternating” in the title, we will mostly likely be adding a secondary spin to the initial roll I like to teach. After following the hoop through the first barrel, the momentum should be returned to us, allowing for an additional “pop,” with any luck, at a nice rhythm. And there’s arms and feet and backs and heads: a TON of understanding to be gleaned from adherence to the pathway of this undulating circuit. It’s a lovely time. And it’s looks good ;)



Body Consciousness


   For just a minute, let’s assume that effort to be smooth and flowy is just a catalyst for gentler movements that don’t hurt your body. My guess is- that by allowing the hoop to lead at times, we can be taught more effectively by it: not just because of the attention brought to the hoop, but also because of the awareness brought to ourselves in reference to the hoop.


   To make it brief, I’ll just talk about me. I can say that the way I adjust myself structurally is inspired by the effort to catch the wave of momentum I feel with the hoop and to emulate it, often as subtly as possible. It’s a work in progress that I’m discovering what comparative effect the hoop actually has on our bodies. I recognize that it has a very specifically coiled and twisted nature, perhaps not entirely for the better. Only long-term charting can tell.


   But on my part, I’ve taken interest in the understanding of joint ranges and useful body limitations that have definitely resulted in making the hoop moments really soar and recycle. It’s an exciting system: two objectives incidentally facilitating each other and creating a dynamic alignment. It’s the most entertaining form of self-care I’ve come across, at least.

   And in this class it’s very conspicuous, the benefits of listening to the limits are point blank and may actually even ignite a new interest in more of the same in other movements.




Figure 8 Navigation part of barrels too :) 


  Weaving and tipping, darting around, “navigating.” Like a fish. Actually, the imagery we all picked out one year was of the “Stevie Wonder fish,” because of the head sometimes swaying back and forth in a figure 8.


    As it applies to the Barrels class, I like to use the basic “weave” in introducing a moment of limbo (or redirection), wherein you can take the momentum from a spin or “roll” and send it off in the direction of your choosing. The weave is good for this: shifting one way and the other: clockwise, counter-clockwise, clockwise, counter-clockwise (relative to you body, not the space). And the redirection of the “8” is portrayed very directly in the weave. You can find it in other movements as well, however, that share this undulation and can similarly ride the tail of a barrel roll and branch out into the transitional space.


     Where it really interests me is that by understanding how to slightly adjust your body to accommodate these patterns, we can learn how to essentially get “out of the way” of the redirecting momentum and “navigate” the space very smoothly.


    And once again, the smoothness can be alternately used as a catalyst or a measuring stick for toward better understanding of your body. Sometimes a simple drop of the shoulder or shifting of weight can change everything. Asymmetry plays a roll; observing gravity. It all fits together in a woven combination of elements that we can choose from an reconnect in riding these “waves of flow.”

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