It seems a lot of us struggle with flow. I see posts and journal entries here at HC asking for ways to find flow or improve flow. I too have a difficult relationship with flow. Lately when I've filmed myself, I see myself doing the same moves over and over and relying a lot on filler moves, like my favorite crutch, horizontal passing. I have also noticed that a lot of what I'm doing is sloppy - the hoop isn't spinning in a nice rotation when I'm vertically swishing the hoop around my hands, the angle of the hoop is bad when I'm doing a weave, the hoop is spinning all wonky around my waist when core hooping. Stuff like that. I've decided in the new year, I'm going to switch my practice focus back to more technique-based for awhile. Not turning on the music and "going with the flow" but hooping in silence, spending time really working on a particular move and then experimenting with linking it with other moves.
I use a practice method, which I really enjoy. I have all the hoop moves I know written on index cards, which I keep in a basket in my practice area. When I start a practice session, I randomely pull out two or three cards and use those as the focus of my practice. I work on the moves individually, possibly tweaking them a bit or adding variations, and then I work on linking the moves together. It's a great way to come up with new combinations, especially when you get two or three totally different moves you wouldn't normally think of putting together. For example, a halo with a jump in/jump through and a backwards weave. It can be fun (and challenging) to figure out ways to link two vastly different moves together in a nice flow.
My point is, a good base for working on flow isn't always "going with it," but consciously working on it. So often we read the advice to just "let go" - move and the flow will come. That may be true, but it seems to me that because we all are guilty of falling back on certain moves and doing combinations we're comfortable with, just "going with the flow" doesn't always challenge us to learn new things.
We also are all limited in some ways by our imagination and our thought process. We think a certain way. Perhaps it might be nice to let someone else think for us to bring us a new perspective. Collectively, there is no limit to what we can come up with.
So, my idea is this. Each week or every two weeks or whatever, someone volunteers to come up with a combination. I'm talking a simple combination, consisting of maybe 3-5 moves. That person posts a short video teaching the combination. The rest of us who choose, can learn the combination and work on it, perhaps adding our own twist or spice. Then we can post our versions of the combination, and voila! We've all learned the original combination and possibly many variations of it. (Sandra includes combinations in her classes, and I really, really appreciate them. I like to learn her version of the combinations and then play around with changing them.)
Obviously there is the matter of skill level. Not all of us know every move or trick. I think we should keep them relatively simple (although they don't have to be totally elementary) so that most people can at least do the base combination. For those wanting to up the ante, they are welcome to add to and embellish the combination with a fancier move. If someone doesn't know a particular move from a combination, part of the challenge can be learning the move (the original poster, if possible, could post links to tutorials of moves used in their combination if they know of any), or that person could substitue a move for the move in the combo they don't know. Does that make sense?
I just think there is great possibility in us putting our heads together and working on basic things. Often it's the simple things in hooping that add so much to it. Sure, really fancy tricks are cool, but in the average hoop dance, I'd say the majority of it is basics, with the fancier stuff thrown in for a "wow" factor from time to time.
Like I say, the videos can be short. Sometimes I feel like I waste a LOT of time working on videos to post. Your video of your version of the combination can be really short, like a minute or two, and you don't have to have music or anything if you don't want to. Just show yourself doing the combination and explaining any changes or embellishments you add. I say the more simple we keep things, the better!
Any thoughts? I'll volunteer to post the first combination just after the first of the year.
Thanks, Caroleeena. I don't know how I missed that thread, but I did. I checked out the videos you posted, then Favorited them on my YouTube account. I want to go back and study them some more.
I took ballet and baton for a year as a kid (5th grade), so I know how useful choreographing to a count can be. In fact, I usually use counts of 4 or 8 when I'm prepping to do certain moves, even if I'm freestyling. There's something calming about giving yourself that countdown to, say, a shoulder duckout or chest roll. It seems to make the move work better for me. Of course, several years of marching band experience also might be influencing me in that area... ;)
I'm looking forward to exploring this more. :)
Sounds good, Shelley. I'll be watching for it.
Meanwhile, I've been playing around with some combos during down time at work (I'm still riding out the bronchitis and haven't had a real practice session in over a week - GRRR!). I'm doing these more as exercises than choreography, but I may post a video sometime soon to share what I've come up with so far.
Wow, your article just organized my thoughts. I've been so confused lately about what methods to use to train better and the method you just mentioned makes perfectly sense. I can totally relate to everything you said. Thx for the suggestion. Now i hope to find the challenge videos too. I'm still figuring out the website ^_^