What’s all the hoopla about?

Amy Edgett
Sierra Sun Community Editor
Amy Edgett/Sierra Sun

Once banned in Japan because the gyrating hip motion was deemed indecent, the Hula Hoop has made a revolutionary comeback.

Hooping has been around for eons. Ancient Greeks used them for exercise. They have been made from bamboo, grass and grapevines. Richard Knerr and Arthur and#8220;Spudand#8221; Melin trademarked the Hula Hoop in 1957, reinventing the hoop using Marlex, more durable than grass and more flexible than bamboo.

If you, like myself, grew up hooping and tried the new and#8220;cheapieand#8221; hoops only to have it twist in a torrent of gravity to the ground, have no fear. C Beach Hoops is here.

and#8220;Those hoops are made for little people,and#8221; said Lisa Wandzell, co-owner of C Beach Hoops.

and#8220;But Lisa, I am a little person,and#8221; said I.

and#8220;No, I mean really little,and#8221; she replied, indicating a tot about half my height.

C Beach Hoops offers a hooping class for all ages and sizes second Saturdays at the Truckee Donner Parks and Recreation District Community Center from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Borrow a hoop or arrive early to create a custom hoop. The plethora of pink, silver, blue, white and yellow wrapping tape is sure to inspire. Purchase a hoop and part of the proceeds goes to charity: This site was created by Sofia before she passed away at 7 years old last year, and is to bring awareness to the disease that took Sofia’s life: histiocytosis; a cancer-like disease that attacks skin and organs.

Sophia loved to dance, to move, to groove. And that’s what I discovered at the second Saturday hoop class. Danceable music, from Deadwood Revival, Sol’Jibe to Rev Peyton and his Big Damn Band thrummed through the gym. A very hip hooper, Heather Simon, was winding a stripe of yellow onto a purple, black and silver hoop. and#8220;I’m really into hooping, at music festivals, I like to hoop dance,and#8221; said Simon. and#8220;I was really just surfing the web for some Truckee hoopers and found this class.and#8221;

Simon, who has three hoops, touts the dance as a good ab exercise. She suggests you and#8220;Close your eyes and loose yourself, listen to the music and just get down groovin.’and#8221; Your ab work is now an experience. Make sure to hoop both ways or you’ll wind up with a lopsided six-pack. Simon also uses instructional DVDs. and#8220;Oh for sure, I’m not always just feeling it.and#8221; Simon is tuning up her hooping in preparation for Burning Man.

C Beach Hoops will be dancing and teaching at a variety of venues this summer. Check them out at most Truckee Thursdays; Commons Beach in Tahoe City, hooping to Truckee Tribe June 21; High Sierra Music Festival July 2-5; the Wanderlust Festival at Squaw Valley July 24-26 and a Goddess Party at the Village at Squaw Valley’s Rainbow Bridge on Aug. 2, from 3 to 6 p.m.

and#8220;It’s an awesome little undertone,and#8221; said Dean Levonian, the other half of C Beach Hoops about concert hooping. Levonian learned to make hoops while following String Cheese incident in the mid-90s and has been hooping ever since. and#8220;I used to hoop as a little kid, but I just started learning tricks this past year.and#8221;

Wadzell and Levonian met three years ago and have been hooping it up, learning new tricks along the way. and#8220;You can’t always just figure it out,and#8221; said Levonian, as he rotates smoothly, hoop winding in a lazy circle of pinks and purples, skimming the waist of his surf trunks. Levonian uses his hands as he speaks, demonstrating the ease with which he hoops. Even mentioning he may have a cocktail while hooping. So beachy. So relaxed. and#8220;There’s something to this, you don’t see unhappy people hooping,and#8221; Levonian smiled.

Happy hoopers continued the class, with gentle instruction from Wadzell and Levonian, the music a continuous blend of bluegrass, salsa and funk. Then the group got a bit more formal, as Lisa, who works at UNR in the Chemistry and Environmental Science Departments (and in a previous life managed an exercise studio) began a series of movements. Yoga-like in stance and feel, she worked through a routine from Betty Hoops, using the four elements: Earth, fire water and air.

and#8220;Sometime I close my eyes, so as not to be distracted and feel my body,and#8221; said Wadzell. Arms and legs, neck and shoulders turn are more than appendages, they are opportunities for tricks.

Wadzell likens the movement to keep things spinning around your shoulders, arms inside the hoop, to the Cat’s Stretch in Yoga. and#8220;The first time I did this for a while, I felt like I did a million sit-ups,and#8221; said Wadzell.

Set yourself up with a C Beach Hoop, made from heavy, flexible tubing. Get a lighter size for tricks, weighty for the easy slow movements or a sticky one for body grip. Tune in and get a grip on your body: hoop your way to happiness and health.

Hula Hoop is a trademark for a plastic toy that is twirled around the body.

Hooping has been around since 1,000 BC as a plaything for children in ancient Egypt. A hooping craze struck adults and young alike in 14th century Europe. On Aug. 5, 1999, in Reno, Nev., a girl Hula-Hooped her way into the Guinness Book of World Records by spinning 82 Hula Hoops simultaneously for three complete revolutions. This record has since been broken.

C Beach Hoops

Custom hula hoops, parties, events and weddings

Visit or call 582-4121.

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