Odds are the thought of hooping naked has at least crossed your mind. Either as a passing thought at which you furrowed your brow or as a possibility that truly piqued your curiosity.
Or perhaps you're one of the many hoopers who has tried it. In 2006, a group of young hoopers in Brattleboro VT attracted world media after hooping naked in a parking lot for nearly an hour. But more recently, it seems, hooping in the buff has picked up speed. In 2010, at Burning Man, one camp hosted an hour of hooping "au naturel" each and every morning of the week. In January, well-known burlesque and vaudeville hooper Miss Saturn hooped naked at her 30th birthday extravaganza.
In June, Claire French of Dreads 'n' hoops, danced nude for the British reality TV show, Naked Office. And a quick Google search will give up a list of videos and photos of folks spinning topless, nude, or working more skin into their burlesque hooping routines.
But then, these are all examples of public performance. Who's hooping naked in the privacy of their own homes, and what are they getting out of it? After meeting over 1600 hoopers this year on the road, I can tell and shred for an audience, who's to say what we do with the shades drawn?
Hoopnotica's HoopMamma blogged in 2008 about what she learned from de-robing and jumping into her hoop one August evening, in her living room with daughter sleeping on the couch nearby. She discusses how hooping in the nude helped soothe her body-issues, but also writes that "more importantly, there is a sensory experience that occurs that is TOTALLY missed out upon when hooping clothed."
I've hooped naked only once. And I chose purposely to do it with fire ('cause, ya know, I figured lighting would be important?). Why, you ask, did the idea even occur to me? That, indeed, is the question. It's not like I've ever imagined that running, or playing soccer, in the nude would be an awesome idea. In retrospect, I suppose my reasons were similar to those one has when skinny dipping. I wanted to feel my hoop, like the caress of the ocean, turn around all of my skin. And sure, there was the allure of innocent but clandestine fun. At the time, the relationship between my body and my hoop had attained its initial period of peacetime -- the first round of bruises had faded, and I was enjoying my first extended stints in copping effortlessly.
Was my clothing, I wondered, like my mental resistance, yet another obstacle I could remove between my blundering movements and the hope of discovering my "flow" in the hoop?
My one, short, and solitary experience certainly suggested to me that there's a lot more going on than a gratuitous thrill. My ego was surely not participating in the equation. Concern for how I might look lay on the floor forgotten beneath the pile of my clothes. Instead, I found myself attentive to the most minute of details of my body's dance- the instinctive work of my muscles, the confident precision of my feet, my posture. I became aware of how I hold myself when there's no other thought holding me back. I hardly felt sexy - sensual, perhaps, tribal, ancient, open. For lack of a better formulation, I'd venture to say my soul was hooping. Hooping naked did change how I hoop clothed. And I may just have to do it again.
What's your take on spinning solo in the buff, if you so dare, Hooposophy readers?
Originally written by Lara Eastburn
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