Hooping Dictionary

* Please feel free to use information from Hoop City's dictionary with proper citation and reference.

Have you ever been chatting with a hooper and are having trouble understanding what move you're talking about? Below is Hoop City's Hooping Dictionary. It includes terminology, tricks and other hooping related information. To make a contribution to the dictionary make a comment below and it will be added to our list.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


Axis Switch: Grabbing the hoop and flipping it so it begins rotating on another axis. Axis switching is similar to a plane change except that the hoop returns to it's original plane to complete the move.


Breaks: An interruption in the hoop's current. A break can occur both horizontally and vertically, either on or off the core.

- Contribution made by Ann Humphreys of The HoopPath.
The HoopPath is often regarded as the pioneers of breaks and reversals
and their work in this practice has revolutionized and dramatically impacted hoop dancing all over the world.

There are three different styles of impact when performing a break.
1. Quick Break: When the hoop hits a body part and reverses using it's own moment.
2. Absorption Break: A slow break where the hooper slowly reverses the hoop by absorbing some of the momentum and then pushing the hoop to get it going again.
3. Freeze Break: When the hoop is gripped firmly and frozen in space for a moment. Freeze breaks are commonly used for Plane Changes and Axis Switching

- Contribution made by Sandra SaFire Sommerville of SaFire Dance.

Burningman: A huge annual fire event in Black Rock desert ,Nevada, USA. See Burningman


Circles of Light or COL: An annual video competition run by HoopOfPoi.com that results in the production of an amazing DVD of inspiring fire performances.

Core: Any part of you from the top of the head to the soles of the feet, on which the hoop may spin in the horizontal plane.

- Contribution made by Ann Humphreys of The HoopPath.

Current: The direction the hoop is spinning. Most hoopers have a current that flows to the left. Your dominant current has no correlation to whether you are left handed or right handed. The HoopPath uses the terms "first current" and "second current" instead of dominant/non-dominant, to de-emphasize forming a preference or an idea that one current is "better."



Flamingo: Balancing on one leg and hooping on the grounded leg.

Flight-Time: The time you have spent, in an hour-to-hour ratio, hooping in your life. You may or may not have been practicing tricks. Any time you spend interacting with your hoop counts, even if the hoop is not spinning. Engaging in a full isolation of holding the hoop is one place in space and moving around it, for example, counts as flight time. Time you spend thinking or talking about hooping is not flight time. Taking a water break or a phone break during practice time does not equal flight time. Time you spend interacting with your hoop in some way, shape, or form is flight time.

- Contribution made by Ann Humphreys of The HoopPath.

Flow: The ability to move comfortably with a close relationship to the hoop, utilizing one's repertoire of tricks with grace and style. Flow is a blissful experience when the hooper becomes one with the hoop.



Hooping: An artistic movement involving dancing with a hoop (or hoops) used as a prop or dance partner.


Infinity Hooping: Holding two hoops in one hand to create the shape of an eight or infinity symbol and manipulating this structure.

Isolations: When the hoop is held in one place in the space as it is rotated or you move around the hoop.



Kerosene: Fuel used for fire spinning.

Kevlar ®: Used as a wick for holding a flame for fire props.

Kickstart: Starting the hoop with you foot. This can be done by grabbing the hoop with your foot and bringing it to your hand or by using a foot pop-up.


Lamp Oil: A fuel used for fire spinning.

LED (light emiting diode): Nearly indestructable chemical lamp used in many lighted products including many models of Glow Hoops.


Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS): A Material Safety Data Sheet contains information for handling or working with a particular substance. MSDS's include information like the flash point, toxicity, health issues and handling procedures. As well as what to do when something goes wrong in an accident.

Minis: Minis can vary in size but are typically smaller than 30 inches in diameter and are used as a pair for off the body or poi style hooping. Check out the Video Gallery for examples of mini hooping.




Planes: The angle of your hoop. When hooping at the waist the hoop has a horizontal plane. When vertical hooping the hoop has a vertical plane. Planes become very important when hand hooping or poi style hooping as you will want to keep your angles straight.

Plane Changing: The act of changing the hoops plane. This can be done gradually or very suddenly.

Poi: Poi spinning originates from the Maori people of New Zealand. Poi has influenced hooping in both the language and terminology used for tricks. More importantly poi has had a dramatic impact on mini hooping as many of the moves used with minis are rooted in poi moves. For more information on poi spinning visit Home of Poi.



Reversals:We use the term "reverse" (pl: "reverses") to mean a change in current. A reverse always contains a break, but a break does not always lead to a reverse. A reverse can happen on or off the core, horizontally, vertically, or at an angle. The key distinction in a reverse is that the current changes.

- Contribution made by Ann Humphreys of The HoopPath.


Splitting: The art of separating hoops onto different areas of the body when multi hooping.

Stalls: This is when the hoop is stalled in one place on your body. It is achieved by spinning the same direction as the hoop in the same speed resulting in the hoop stalling in one position on your body.

Surface Switching: The act of switching your grip on the hoop from the outside surface to the inside and vice versa. Often done by carrying the hoop on the thumb or other surface of the hand as grip is adjusted.


Twins: Refers to multi hooping with two hoops. Twin hooping can typically refers to on the body core hooping as well as poi style hooping off the body with hoops that are larger than minis.

Tandem: Tandem style hooping is when two people hoop within one hoop. Tandem hooping requires a large hoop to work with and is achieved when two hoopers move as one unit. Check out the Video Gallery to see examples of Tandem Hooping.

T-Rex Hands: This experience often occurs with new hoopers as they tend to focus a lot of attention on the hoop itself and by forgetting about their hands, a solid claw-like position is often held while hooping. To eliminate the T-Rex effect begin moving your fingers, wrists, elbows and arms while maintaining on the waist and begin isolating your movements so you can hoop and move freely at the same time.


Union Hooping: Interlocking two hoops firmly together and dancing with this hoop "matrix."


The Vortex: When the hoop is passed from hand to hand, spinning up and down horizontally around your body. This move is done by quickly combining lifting the hoop from behind you, switching hands, bringing the hoop down and passing behind your back continuously. Other names for this move: The Beam Me Up, The Corkscrew


Wall: The wall is an experience that every hooper will have at some point in the hoop journey. The wall is the feeling of stagnation in your hooping, where new ideas have stopped and progression has slowed dramatically. Overcoming the wall can be a very gratifying experience. Suggestions for climbing over a wall include connecting with other hoopers to jam and share ideas, searching videos online, hooping in reverse, trying out multi hooping or poi style hooping and finding new challenges for yourself.

White Gas: A fuel used for fire spinning.





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