HULA HOOP HISTORY 1958-2010 the Influence of Hoop-Dance in the American Pop Culture
This article explores the history of hula hoop invention and evaluates its influence in the American pop culture since 1958 to the present time. Hula Hoop is viewed as a socio-cultural phenomenon for having deep influence in the way many people (children and adults alike) play for fun, dance, do physical exercises, or meditate to approach harmony, peace, and wellbeing in life. Historical documents indicate that the hula hoop phenomenon has had special influence on the American-style of dance and music specifically during late 1950s and early 1960s. Now, hula hoop has become a useful tool to develop new dance style, doing aerobic, circus-style hooping performance, group weight loss and fitness classes, creating new community and seasonal gathering activities in which children and adults alike participate.HULA-HOOP: THE RISE & FALL & RISE AGAIN!
Hula Hoop & American Pop Culture
HULA HOOP HISTORY 1958-2010: The Influence of Hoop-Dance in the American Pop Culture
Los Angeles California is known as the Hoop City, the birth place of hula hoop in 1958 in USA. Southern California is also the land of developing hula hooping from just a children's outdoor game to a productive adult fitness tool in 21st century. Today all over the world families, children, moms, and dads are enjoying hoop dancing, exercising, and playing. Every year annual USA national & international hoop championship competitions are held, where tens of thousands of hoopers from all over the world get together to have fun and demonstrate their talents.
In 1957, an Australian company began making wood rings for sale in retail stores which gets the attention of a fledgling California toy manufacturing company:Wham-0." In 1958, Richard P. Knerr & Arthur K. Melin manufactured plastic hoops in different colors. Hula hoop showed to be a great success -100 million sold in the world's market in the first year.Note: What is a Hula-hoop? "A light multi-colored plastic hoop whirled around the body for play or exercise by the movement of the hips." (Definition source: Webster's Dictionary.)
Hula Hoop Culture in the First Decade of 21st Century
The first decade of the 21st century has witnessed the rapid growth of "hula hooping" in the American culture as well as around the world. The biggest growth of hula hooping as a fitness exercise was within the adult fitness & also circus-style hooping tricks. There are many hoop dancers, performers, and hoop-exercise instructors around the country, who started to make new hula hoops for different purposes. One of these goals is to create a hula hoop with which one can do circus-style hooping tricks. As a result, people have witnessed the application of hula hooping & doing amazing tricks by different circus-aerobic performers on different TV shows, such as on NBC, CNN, ABC, & also on several different shows in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The First Lady Michelle Obama- Hooping Exercise in the White House
This decade witnessed also the moving of hula hoop from people's backyards to the front yard of the White House. In October 21st , 2009, First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed elementary school students to the White House for a "Healthy Kids Fair" to promote healthy eating & exercise for children. One of the main goals was to focus on the importance of educating our kids about healthy eating according to Mrs. Obama. The First Lady also successfully managed to encourage kids and their parents to get more involved in outdoor activities to promote a healthier life style for all American families. The First Lady's activities in this area, encouraged the usage of hula hoop & hooping throughout the country to contribute in a more advancement of hula hoop culture in USA.
Different Hula Hoops Invented in 21st Century
There are several different companies which are involved in making & improving their hula hoops' designs & structures to make the best hula hoop possible for different purposes: fitness, recreation, & doing aerobic tricks. The changes which these creators have made to the structures & designs of hula hoops include as followings.
Diameter: Usually the aerobic hoops are smaller than ones made in the classic format. They are lighter in weight & smaller in diameter to allow hoopers to maneuver easily, doing more new complex circus-style tricks. Weight: The fitness hoops are usually heavier than performance hoops. The purpose here is to place enough pressure around the belly fat & eliminate them. This exercise also has proven to be very helpful for building muscles while having fun & playing with your friends and family members.
Collapsible Hula Hoops which can be Assembled/ Dissembled: One big problem with classic hula hoops, is that they are made in one big piece of plastic tubing. They are big & difficult to carry around. Solving this problem, inventors started to make collapsible hula hoops. These hoops are made of four to eight pieces which can be assembled & dissembled. This quality made it easier to carry the hoops around wherever you want to go. However, one problem has been, the difficulty of assembling/dissembling them. Also, these hoops require hoopers to buy carrying bags which make the prices more expensive. Foldable Hula Hoops: The invention of foldable hoops has made a dramatic changes in the hula hoop structure. The final finishing of these hoops is that they stay in one piece but they are foldable. You can fold them twice to make them smaller, able to carry on your shoulders. You do not need to have a bag, carrying them. Also, they are less expensive than previous collapsible hoops.
Collapsible Hula Hoops with A Bungee Cord Inside: The 21st century's first decade has also witnessed the invention of collapsible Hoops with a piece of bungee cord inside the hoops. These hoops are usually made of four separate pieces which you can assemble/dissemble. The difference is that a bungee cord passes throughout inside the plastic tubing. This cord holds the four pieces together which make the function of assembling/dissembling & carrying the hoop around easier than other collapsible hoops.
In 2010, a new kind of hula hoops has been invented with a design which makes the function of assembling/dissembling not only much easier, but also a part of circus-style hooping tricks. In the history of hula hoop invention & development, the function of assembling/dissembling the hoops have always been considered as something hoopers do after they finish hooping. However, the structure & design of performance bungee hoops have made it possible to assemble/dissemble the hoop as part of doing circus-style hooping tricks. These hoops are made of four plastic tubing pieces with three still connectors & one 4-inches long connector which connects the pieces together when the hoop is open & ready to play with. During hooping you can span in & out the long connector by pulling in & out the tubing pieces to fold/unfold the hoop as tricks.
Hula Hoop & Psychological Research: Application of Hoop Dance in Mindfulness (Motion-based) Meditation
Since late 1990s hula hoop has been used by some mental health professionals for research purposes in the fields of sports psychology, psychotherapy, and neuropsychology. In these studies hula hoop has been used as a tool for individual and group physical activities. The researchers showed that the application of hula hoop facilitated improvements in the participants' following characteristics: brain's bilateral Alpha Asymmetry and depressive symptoms(26). bilateral-body coordination, whole-body coordination (27), relational and social skills, self-acceptance, group acceptance, and group cohesion (28) (29).
Siamak Monjezi, PhD, MFC (Marriage Family Counselor) has recently written a book: "Hoop Dance & Mindfulness Meditation" which is under review for publication and will be published in near future. In this book the influence of hula hoop invention and hoop dance in the American culture since 1958 is explored and discussed from different historical, socio-cultural, and psychological aspects. In this book the application of hoop dance for meditative purposes is explored. A theoretical framework (in the field of psychology and psychotherapy) is provided to explain how hoop dance can be used in motion-based meditation to improve self-awareness and self-control. Awareness of oneself and controlling one's thoughts, emotions, and sensory-motor functions require
physical harmony (whole-body coordination) and psychological management of overwhelming stress. This goal is approached through the process of meditative hoop dance, the procedure of which is described step-by-step in the book.
Physical & Psychological Advantages of Hooping Exercise
At the end, a list of different areas in which hoop dance can be applied for self-improvement is provided: self-awareness and self-control; eye-hand coordination; gross/whole body coordination; weight loss/fitness exercises; motion-based meditation (to increase awareness and control of processing information in working memory and to increase self-control over sensory-motor function); helping children and adults with ADHD to improve their eye-hand coordination and increase self-control over working memory's function while doing a physical exercise/dance; balancing physiology & dietary system; and improving physical & mental skills required for aerobatic and circus-style hoop tricks.
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3. Olson, J.S. (2000). Historical Dictionary of the 1950s. Greenwood Publishing Group.
4. Definition of hooper: www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hopper.
5. Johnston, B.H. (1995). The Manitous: The Supernatural World of the Ojibway. Key Porter Books Ltd.
6. Csikszentmihilyi, M. (2003). Good business: Leadership, Flow, and the Making of Meaning. New York, NY: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-200409-X.
7. Lew, A. (April 18, 2007). Elvis and the Birth of Rock. Genesis Publications. ISBN: 1905662009.
8. Kadinsky, S. (October 21, 2009). Michelle Obama Hula Hoops to Promote Kids' Health. CBS News.
9. Obama, M. (November 18, 2009). Remarks by the First Lady at Hollin Meadows School Visit. The White House, Office of the First Lady. www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks.
Siamak Monjezi PhD