Hey everyone. I looove hooping to a live dj but I kind of choke when I know people are watching me. I work at midnights, so on some Saturday nights I've been going to the club and hooping on the dancefloor when it is still empty. I love the space, the lighting, the loud beats... I love it when my husband or friends come to watch me. But then other people show up and start to watch me. Lots of people. It makes me so nervous! In fact, I find that I suddenly don't have the confidence to do the more complex moves that I can usually pull off at home. Why must it be that way? When 50 people are watching me, why can't I feel MORE confident so I can do my best? It gets so bad that my hands shake and I have to stick to core hoopdancing for awhile. Having an audience of strangers just really throws me off my flow.
Does anyone have any tips for dealing with this adrenaline spike? It makes me shaky and I feel like I'm going to drop my hoop! How can I relax and forget the audience?
I think it just takes some time to get used to. I still feel some nerves if I'm hooping in public, but it's better than it used to be. I sometimes say to myself, 'It's just me and the hoop, just me and the hoop...' and try to just zone everything else out and be one with the hoop. Sounds silly, but it helps to get me in the zone.
That's good advice... it's really helpful to know I'm not the only one who loves hooping but is not a natural at receiving attention while doing it. Thanks for sharing :)
That is totally normal, and happens to all of us, especially when jamming turns into a "performance" in your head.
I find a few things personally really helpful:
Having warm up time before being in front of lots of people- no one is at their full hooping potential the moment the hoop is on them, you need to have some time to find your flow.
Having a drink- just one- is the most effective way I've found to deal with that adrenaline shakiness. It lowers my inhibitions and increases my confidence just enough to kill my nerves and make me feel far more badass. I'm not a big drinker, but I do drink socially. Afew years ago I would have poo poo'd the idea snobishly, but after performing both completely sober, and after having a drink and feeling the difference, I am open to the idea of using alcohol as a tool like that. I've found it to be pretty common amongst performers who are of legal age, but it's not necessary or for everyone. Also, more than a drink or two makes me sloppy, so I'm pretty careful to not get carried away.
Another helpful thing is to learn how to tune everyone out, and tune into the music. Sometimes it's easier for me to do this by dancing without my hoop for a few minutes, so I can really concentrate on connecting to the tunes and my body. Then I pick up my hoop and integrate it into the dance. I usually hoop with my eyes unfocused, so I don't really look at anything... The people all blur into the background, and I hardly notice them, especially if you do a lot of spinning.
The last things are flight time, and loving your dance. The more flight time you have, the better you get, the more confident you generally feel. As I've racked up hours in my hoop, I've come to appreciate and love the unique dance that I do with it. It feels amazing, and I have so much fun doing it, and I know that the more fun I am having, the better it looks, which gives me more confidence, which makes it feel more amazing and it turns into a positive feedback loop. Couple that with more time in the spot light and things do just get easier.
Thank you so much for this reply, as it really gave me some insight into how to deal with this!
I definitely "warmed-up" before I knew I'd be watched...actually I hooped more than normal all day right up to the time I left, in between doing my hair and getting dressed even. I think I prepared up tooo much because I was kind of tired about an hour into hooping in public despite the adrenaline. How much is a good warm up? Do you hoop during the day like normal if you know you'll be doing it at night? I think the best thing would be if you could warm up in a private space adjacent to the dancefloor... but then if there was such a thing I'd probably just stay in there. ;)
I never thought of having a single drink to calm the nerves, since I rarely drink, so I guess I'll give that a try!
I like the tip about hooping with an unfocused gaze, I will definitely be trying that. I think that would help you get into a more meditative state of mind. Good advice.
Sounds like the consensus is that it's a common phenomena for nooby hoopers, and that it will get easier the more I do it (in public)! Will one who isn't comfortable with attention ever really come to enjoy it though?
Thanks for your reply Kacie it was super helpful!
I've forced myself to hoop in front of people since about two months into my hooping journey. I knew I'd want to be able to do it publicly so I'd practice in public spaces, at parks and whatnot. Then I started bringing my hoop to outdoor concerts in my area and I'd hoop in the back of the space. I'd hoop at local events/festivals. Then I started street performing. Then I did a couple actual performances and have been put on the stage at a few local concerts.
At this point I'll hoop just about anywhere. I just worked my way to bigger and more visible places, but there were a lot of nerves involved. It took doing it over and over to get to the point where I no longer feel like I'll throw up or pass out before I hoop in front of people, but I just kept putting myself out there.
Ican have 1-2 drinks (depending on if I've eaten) and still hoop and sometimes it does help to drink a bit first—totally agree with that. I just can't have more than 2 or I'm sloppy and just end up throwing and dropping my hoop.
Hi Tilly! I've kind of tried to take the same route... but it's been almost 4 months now and I've hooped in public maybe only half a dozen times, parks and parties included. Did you have to force yourself to do it? And did you do it a lot, like multiple times a week? Maybe I should try to practice in public spaces more where everyone, children, old ppl etc can see me, if I want to be more comfortable in the club/festival/party environment. Thanks for the advice. :)
Just know that you the baddest biotch and ain't nobody gonna steppa yo' stride!
LOL <3 K I will keep this in mind!
Ditto what Kacie said. A glass of wine. Or two... :)
This is a great post and has been very helpful for me as well :) I get nervous very easily, especially when people are watching me considering I do NOT like to be the center of attention, but I have learned that the more I expose myself to these nerves, the less controlling they are! I haven't done any stage performances, but I have done small performances where people can sit and stare as long as I'd like. I still feel that super nervous feeling at first, but I just remind myself how amazed I was the first time I saw hoopdance. Most of your onlookers are not hoopdancers and every little trick you do probably amazes them more than you realize. Telling myself that no matter what I do my onlookers will be impressed helps a lot (regardless of how true it is). I've also learned to kind of forget about the people who are watching and focus all of my attention on the music and my hoop. Sometimes I even close my eyes for a second just so all of me can be consumed with my natural flow. Chances are the more you expose yourself to these feelings of nervousness, the more likely you are to overcome them! Don't let your fears chase you away - face them and let them make you stronger <3