WHD Dance

WHD Dance – on hiatus for 2017

I waited as long as I could before I announced this, hoping that somehow I’d be able to put out a choreography for 2017. But life conspired against me in this regard.

There’s no WHD Dance for 2017.

I’ve been choreographing and filming this since 2009. It’s been a big deal in my life every year. A red letter day that I worked hard to make happen. But this year I can’t do it.

Maybe I’ll be back at it next year but I can’t promise. The past twelve months have brought many changes: I am bouncing between three countries, doing new work, and there are health concerns for myself and other family members.

Thanks for your understanding. And thank you for being part of the WHD Dance project all these years.

Ups and Downs on World Hoop Day

I’m sending out greetings to hoopers around the world as we celebrate World Hoop Day. Whether you’re hooping in the privacy of your home or performing the WHD Dance in front of an audience today, I hope you’ll find happiness in your hoop.

Even if I don’t always feel it myself.

Sometimes I am disappointed that after all these years and all this effort, I’m not an A-list hooper, that I don’t get invited to teach at conferences, or have a popular YouTube channel. Honestly, I know that my temperament is not even enough for that to work for me.

On the joyful side, hooping encouraged me to find my body’s power, make new friends, and experience all sort of different ideas. I’ve taken my enthusiasm for hooping around the world and shared hoops with thousands of people in person and online. Wow, what a blessing.

I can alternate between joy and disappointment in the single rotation of the hoop.

Today, though, I am going to unleash my hoops into the rainy day and spin with abandon. Let me celebrate everything I’ve done and all that’s coming, good and bad. I will dance and play and I hope that you will join me, wherever you are.

Happy World Hoop Day.

WHD Dance 2016 – help wanted!

The WHD Dance choreography for 2016 is done and the tutorial videos are online. I am excited about this year’s two part interleaved dance and I think it is going to be one of the most fun ever to teach and perform.

Now I need some help from you.

I’ve already had a lot of help this year. Lysa, Amanda, Bekah and Jenny all pitched in with comments on an early version of the choreo that helped me to refine the dance. My friend, Ark, helped me with the filming on a day she took off from school (because hooping is better than math class). And well-known, festival favorite hoopers inspired me with their moves; when you watch the tutorials see if you can tell who inspired me.

I need some MORE help finishing the rest of the tutorial materials. I have run out of time to do the “rehearsal counts” audio and the “dance with me” videos.  Does anyone want to collaborate and take a stab at them? Send me a mail to spinmatsuri@gmail.com if you have time and interest.

Finally, share the tutorials with your hooping friends, on your social media, or wherever you like. I never quite know if the word is getting out to everyone who might like to participate. With your help, it will.

Thank so much for your support and your participation in the WHD Dance project. Seven years and counting…


WHD Dance, once more for 2015 and on to 2016

On Sunday, I performed at the Kamogawa Hula Festival and one of my acts was the 2015 WHD Dance. This is probably the last time I’ll dance it for a while, because it’s time to start choreographing the 2016 WHD Dance!

I’m excited about what I have in mind 2016 and I hope to have the dance done and filmed by the end of June, so watch here (and on the Facebook WHD Dance page) for details.

WHD Dance 2015 – tutorials and notes


This year marks the 6th annual WHD Dance, a worldwide hoop choreography project to celebrate World Hoop Day. I never imagined it would go on this long – in fact last year, I swore to myself it would be my last one. But here we are, with the 2015 tutorials published and ready to learn.

Each year the choreo gets a little more dance-y. This year we’ve got a Bollywood-inspired dance complete with sultry hip rotations, jaunty touch steps and stompy squats. The hoop moves focus on beginner-intermediate tricks that should be accessible to hoopers with a few months experience and who are willing to learn a few new things.

(Be sure to check out the page with all the tutorials and materials, too!)

Extra Notes

I want to share some ideas on how to customise the dance for your troupe, your space, and your hooping level.

  1. The beginning section can be done standing (as filmed) or seated, rising to standing during the gestures.
  2. Weave Variations are any sort of weave you like – plain, jump-thru, weave isolations, extensions, etc. Keep them all the same for your troupe or let each dancer choose for themselves.
  3. The Mandala Variations section is filmed as a mandala turn, but this can be done with a regular b-t-b mandala or mandala isolation, or for people uncertain about behind-the-back moves, Big Circles in front will work, too.
  4. Tighten up the dance moves by focussing on the angle of your elbows, the distance of your vine steps, and so on. My dancing in the tutorials is pretty loosey-goosey, which is OK for a soloist but ugly in a group. Practice, practice, practice and get everyone consistent.
  5. LED hoops look great with this choreo. I included a few moves especially for glow hoopers.
  6. Fire? Yes! Light the hoop during the head roll to keep the static burn to a minimum & watch out for the fold/flip.
  7. Counting is optional if you listen to the beat of the music. Hit those beats and keep everyone in sync.
  8. Fun is not optional. Add your smiles and buoyant energy to make the dance really shine on stage.

About the Song

This year’s song is an edited version of Chaiyya Chaiyya from the movie Dil Se. It’s a love song inspired by a poem in Urdu that starts “He who walks in the shadow of love has heaven under his feet” and the repeated lyric Chaiyya Chaiyya means “Walk in the shade of love”. You can find the whole translation here.

Dancing in the Mountains: WHD Dance 2015


Travel in India inspires this year’s WHD Dance. In the foothills of the Himalayas, I’ve been choreographing Bollywood style and it’s turning out to be quite cute and fun. It combines some off-body moves with a bit of on-body dance, lots of bouncy footwork and graceful things to do with your arms & eyes.

The song, Chaiyya Chaiyya, is an Urdu love song from the film Dil Se. It’s 3 minutes long, edited from a longer version, and you can listen to it here: https://soundcloud.com/spin-matsuri/chaiyya-chaiyya-whd-2015

My Internet access is limited until I get to Bangalore in early July, but I plan to film the tutorials and get them uploaded as soon as I can after that! If you want to start working on the hoop moves, here are some in the dance so far (If the names aren’t familiar, you’ll find most of them in the 33 Hoop Moves video.)

  • Anti-spin flower
  • Weave
  • Baseline pass
  • Isolation
  • Mandala
  • Z-spin
  • Lasso/cowgirl

If want to drill movements while waist hooping, practice turning in the hoop, walking, and doing grapevines. Some of the footwork also involves squats, turns, and formations.

WHD Dance 2014 Compilation video

275 dancers. 11 countries. 27 locations and 31 performance groups. That’s what you’ll see in this year’s WHD Dance compilation video.

If you watch closely, you’ll also see: a giant kite, a hooper on stilts, hair hooping, twerking hoopers, Gail, disco lighting, a windmill, acro-hooping, two different oceans, the Friendship of Peoples fountain, and a trio of professional circus performers.

As a hooper yourself, you’ll probably recognise the culmination of hours of rehearsal, costume planning, and location scouting that went into making each one of these videos happen. You will certainly recognise the personal attributes that make this project work: courage to try, determination to succeed, and the ego surrender of being a good group dancer.

Thank you to all of the hoop dancers who participated this year – including everyone who didn’t get a video of their performance or rehearsals. You’re as much a part of the WHD Dance as the hoopers who appear in the compilation. I know there were many of you – I sent out over 150 tutorial packets this year.  Wow.