There is a feeling I have when I dance with a group: a connectedness that emanates from the heartbeats of the dancers who have practiced together.
So many of us are solitary hoopers by choice or circumstance. We dance solos and freestyle, sometimes in company at festivals and jams, but rarely in sync with the hoopers around us. Dancing a group choreography is a completely different experience. I let go of my individuality and melt into the precision of the dance. I support my troupe as a member, not a star, so that our movements shine. There is no me, only we.
When the choreography has been practiced and polished until it is integrated into each dancer’s muscle memory, then the spirit of the dance takes over. Nobody panics about the next 8 count, it simply unfolds as everyone moves. The kinesthetic spirit that rises is the reward for rehearsals and for giving your self to the service of the group.
Many hoop dancers shy away from group choreography. It’s a commitment to learn and practice. It may require them to put away their best moves, shelve their personal style. Or perhaps it is a struggle to learn new forms. It is definitely not for the hooper who wants to dance exclusively in her own way.
For the rest of us, group choreography is a structure that gives our dance form. It allows us to work within constraints, finding dance within the counts of the choreography, offering challenges along the way as we figure out how to make it our own.
Most importantly to me, group dance creates a shared history that cements our troupe and our community. “Do you remember when we did that dance?” Yes, we do. We all have a story to tell about it.
This is why I create the WHD Dance: to help dancers connect with each other and with the amazing spirit of united movement, and to give the world of hooping a collective experience.
I invite you to join in the WHD Dance this year to find this feeling for yourself.