Exploring Levels In Hoopdance

March 3, 2015 Caroleeena DancehoopdanceHooping


Levels refer to a dancer’s movement up and down the vertical axis as they move in and through space. As hoopdancer, our prop, the hoop, becomes an extension of the hoopdancer that can also explore movement up and down the vertical axis.

Low level: Body Movements on the low level include crawling, rolling, sitting, kneeling, lying, and low level shapes. Hoop Movements on the low level include hip hooping, low leg hooping (such as shin and/or ankle hooping), walk the dog, isolations while squatting, stir the pot, passing the hoop under the leg, and hoop rolling. Emotionally, these moves may be used to represent “feeling low” emotions, such as sadness, mulling, nervousness, or fear, though they could also represent physical activities, such as lying down to sleep. Low level moves can include locomotor moves (meaning moves where the dancer is moving) or non-locomoter moves (meaning moves where the dancer is still). The hoop may also be moving or still.

IMG_0428.JPG hl hoop

Middle level: The middle level is the level used most by both dancers and hoopers. It includes body movements that range from crawling on four legs, kneeling, sitting, in squat, bent over, or upright with knees slightly bent. Hoop movements at mid-level include thigh hooping, hip hooping, waist hooping, vertical earth facing hooping, breaks and/or paddles, around body passes, isolations, horizontal cat-eyes, horizontal chest rolls with bent knees, horizontal back rolls with bent knees.

sylvi nooping

Nooping: High Level Core Hooping

High level: Body movements on the high level include positions like standing up tall, rises from the heels or to the tiptoes, or jumps and leaps. Hoop movements at high-level include chest hooping, shoulder hooping, neck hooping, head hooping, nooping, vertical sky facing hooping, lassos, eggbeaters, hand spins, palm spins, thumb spins, horizontal chest rolls with straight knees, horizontal back rolls with straight knees, shoulder rolls, and tosses.¬†Emotionally, these moves may be used to represent strength and power, or “high-flying” emotions, such as joy, celebration, happiness, or surprise. High level moves can include locomotor moves (meaning moves where the dancer or hoop is moving, such as tosses) or non-locomoter moves (meaning moves where the dancer is still, such as simply holding the hoop above the head while standing tall).

Changes in levels can be large or they can be small. A simple bending of the knees can create a small level change where as dropping to the floor can create a large level change. Hoop moves that easily move from high to low or vice-versa include spiral staircases (aka escalators), tosses, chest rolls at an incline, beam-me-ups, vertical cat-eyes, iso-pops, and pizza tosses.

hooping backbend

Exploring levels are an important part of exploring space in dance. We hoopdancers are lucky to be able to explore levels with even more diversity than many other dancers because we can explore it with both our body and our prop. Hoopdancers can also combine levels by having the hoop at one level and the body at another level. For example hooping in lasso while one hand is on the floor in a back bend combines a high-level hoop move with a low/mid-level body move. The combinations and possibilities are endless! And each level conveys a multitude of nuance and meaning. The emotions we can create through our exploration of levels is also endless.

This tutorial demonstrates how isolations from outside the circle, sometimes called tracing or ghosting, can be used to move between all three levels:

high levellevel changeslevels in hoopdancelow levelmid levelmiddle level

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