How to Break Down, Describe, and Name Hoop Moves

January 3, 2014 Caroleeena DancehoopdanceHoopingMovementUncategorized

One challenge of keeping a hoop journal is figuring out what to call a move and/or how to describe it. It’s also a challenge for hoop teachers. Hopefully these tips will help.

I try to start with a short metaphor or analogy for the name (lasso, stir the pot, infinity, beam me up, pizza toss, walk the dog, ANTM Walking Step-Thru), something that paints a picture. Then I add detail so that “Lasso” can become “Lasso going in Inside Circles on the Right Hand above the head” (I would write this as “Lasso IC RH TP, or, Lasso, in inside circles on the right hand in the top plane), which breaks down and describes one variation of the lasso while indicating plane, level, and direction.Circles Graphic

Sometimes I draw a stick figure, hooping, with arrows or symbols to paint a real picture.

Mostly, though, I try to be descriptive. I find it helpful to break moves down into:
Core Location: waist, hips, chest, shoulder, neck, thighs, shins
Hand Position: inside the hoop, outside the hoop, top of the hoop, bottom of the hoop (these can combine into “inside bottom” for example), side of the hoop (which I often break down to 3:00 or 9:00, like I’m looking at a clock-face).  I also use the clock analogy for hand positions. A movement might start at 12:00, at 6:00 or anywhere in between.
Palm Direction: facing sky, facing earth, directed forward, directed backward, to the side, to the opposite side.
Grip: C-clamp, lobsterclaw, closed grip, open grip, between the peace fingers (pointer and middle finger), In the L (formed by the pointer finger and the thumb), open palm (no grip at all), the Tomahawk Chop (chopping with the edge of the hand), on the thumb, Crook of the pointer finger, Crook of the pinky finger, back of the hand, balanced in palm from top to bottom, balanced in palm from side to side
Push Points and Nuance: front/back, side-to-side, catty-cornered left push (or right), up and down, swirling; from up and under (English), straight on, pushing down
Planes: front, back, side, opposite side, above, below, core facing earth, core facing sky. I also note horizontal on-body, horizontal off-body, vertical-front, vertical-on body, vertical-side, vertical-opposite side
Movement: spinning, flipping, turning, applying English from the underside like in saving the hoop or doing the one-handed beam-me-up
Direction the hoop is traveling: CW, CCW, up, down
Direction the axis (my hand or core) is moving relative to the hoop: same direction vs. anti-spin
Any transition: break, reverse, plane change, speed change, handing change, level change, footwork or dance move, etc.
Flourishes: any little gestures or poses or ways of standing or holding or moving a hand…details that add polish
Repetition or Alternations: many moves can be done over and over, or back and forth to create drills or sequences.

Common Abbreviations I Use: abbreviations image
– alt (alternate)
– rep (repeat)
– 4x (4 times)
– CW (clockwise)
– CCW (counter-clockwise)
– IC (inside circles)
– OC (outside circles)
– ^ (up)
– v (down)
– spiral with arrow to indicate direction (spiral)
– thru (as in step “through”)
– =x (equal time)
–  unequal sign (split time)
– fr (face right)
– fl (face left)
– xib (cross in back)
– xif (cross in front)
– s2f (step to front)
– s2b (step to back)
– sl (step left)
– sr (step right)
– 8 (infinity)
– rev (reverse)
– fwd (forward)
– bkwd (backward)
– s2s (side-to-side)
– vert (vertical)
– hor (horizontal)
– btb (behind the back)
– hor ob (horizontal on-body)
– hor offb (horizontal off-body)
– vert ob (vertical on-body)
– vert offb (vertical off-body)
– ef (earth facing)
– sf (sky facing)

– fp (front plane)
– bp (back plane)
– sp (side plane)
– tp (top plane)
– btmp (bottom plane)
– osp (opposite side plane)

– Grip Location:
– ttg (top top grip – grip from the outside over the top of the vertical hoop)
– btg (bottom top grip – grip from the underside of the top of the vertical hoop)
– tbg (top bottom grip – grip over the top on the bottom of the vertical hoop)
– bbg (bottom bottom grip – grip from the outside of the bottom of the vertical hoop)
– bfg (bottom front grip – grip from inside horizontal hoop)
– bbg (bottom back grip – grip from outside horizontal hoop)

Type of Grip:
– C (C-clamp)
– CG (closed grip)
– OG (open grip)
– PF (between the peace fingers; pointer and middle finger)
– L (in the L formed by the pointer finger and the thumb; our catcher’s mitt)
– OP (open palm  or no grip at all)
– LCG (lobster claw grip)
– DHG (door handle grip or back grip from the outside)
– BG (bow grip or inside door handle grip from the front/in-side)

– Cradle (cradle grip)

– TOM (the Tomahawk Chop  or chopping with the edge of the hand)
– Thum (on the thumb)
– Point (pointer finger)
– Pink (pinky finger)
– BOH (back of hand)
– BAL (balanced on or in _____)


And, when I want to get really specific, I describe which phalanges on each finger or the position in the hand – see graphic)Phalanges
– DP (distal phalanges)
– IP (intermediate phalanges)
– PP (proximal phalanges)
– MC (metacarpals)
– Carp (carpals)

For describing armwork, I break moves down into:
– Positions (1st, 2nd, 3rd position)
– Open vs Closed (Hands apart vs. hands touching at mid-line)
– Direction of arm travel (Inside circles vs. Outside circles)
– Direction of hand travel (inside vs outside circles)
– Direction of fingerwork (inside vs. outside circles)
– One hand vs Two hands
– Split time vs Equal time (arms moving opposite one another vs. together)

Finally, sometimes I will distill the move into a poem of sorts. A name that speaks to me — like the America’s Next Top Model Walking Step-thru. (Which, in my journal, is the ANTM walking-step thru.) This reminds me that I am model walking, crossing each foot far to the opposite side of the other foot, while stepping high (like I’m wearing high heels) and through the hoop. Descriptive but conveying a bit of technical information as well.

Other Things To Note:
– Where the move begins: Shoulder, knees, hips, etc.
– What muscle groups are involved
– How the move progresses from one place to the next (including handing changes, twists, turns, grips, etc.) Putting a move (or moves) in order creates a sequence and when you’re working with a sequence, it’s easier to figure out which step, if any, is not working. That allows the learner to focus their breath, intention, and attention there.


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