Although the bitter, winter chill stung on Thursday, February 8th, Madison Union 256 was warm and alive with the spiritual swivel of hula hoops during MAD4U’s “Hooping With Ashley Hunter.” Taught by Lucy Simms Center instructor Ashley Hunter, the free 4-week workshop is designed to spread the joy of hula hooping to JMU students and members of the Harrisonburg community.
“Hula hooping has been growing in our awareness for some time, really,” says Shari Scofield, coordinator for MAD4U. “I thought, what a great way to energize these long, dreary winter months.”
The workshop begins with a quick warm-up, and then settles into a laid back atmosphere where attendees can flex their skills– hoops provided. With instructor Hunter to gently guide the group, attendees were able to work at their own pace while also watching and learning from one another.
“I learned I could hoop when I was 25, and it was a surprise to me because I couldn’t do it my whole life,” said Hunter. Through fostering a low-pressure environment, Hunter strives to help people find their “aha moment that happens, the light in someone’s eyes when they get a trick they’ve been working on.”
To keep the hour and a half fun and productive for everybody, Hunter planned the class to breezily accommodate every attendee’s skill level. Hunter taught basic hula hooping movements for beginners, but made sure to include more complex modifications for hooping vets.
Class of ‘05 alumna Rachel Gaghan found her “aha” moment by learning the sophisticated “duck-in” trick during the workshop– despite having little hula hooping experience.
“I swore I would [hula hoop] everyday, and then started to adult too hard and never did anything fun,” says Gaghan. “I’m going to try again.”
Since the workshop is four weeks, Gaghan will have three more chances to hone in on her hula skills with Hunter, and even gear up to show off at MAD4U’s larger outdoor event series, Get Down at Sundown.
“The hoop suggests that spring will come,” says Scofield. “So you’re practicing something that you will then unveil as the flowers are blooming and the sun is shining.”
There are still three more weeks left to get in on this hip swinging action, and perfect attendance is not required. Come to Madison 256 at 7:00 on 2/15, 2/22 and 3/1 and unleash your inner hooper.