Hula hooping renews a sense of childhood |

Hula hooping renews a sense of childhood

Instructor Meg Rose leads a hoop class at Sundance Studio in Steamboat Springs.
John F. Russell

— Renewing a sense of childhood, hula hooping offers more than just a full-body workout.

It’s a way of life.

“Hooping is so joyful for me,” said Meg Henry, one of the hoop dance instructors at Sundance Studio. “It makes me feel beautiful and alive. I get mad at it sometimes if I can’t do a new trick or something, but it always teaches me patience.”

The moment she laid eyes on a mesmerizing hooper at a String Cheese Incident concert, she had to find out what exactly hooping was all about. Now, six years later, she is one of the hoop instructors at Sundance Studio and has found a community of friends in an unlikely place.

“I think it’s a new trend based primarily on the music culture like String Cheese Incident,” said Kristen Rockford, owner of Sundance Studio. “You would always see a lot of hoop dancing at those concerts. People have begun to incorporate it more into their daily lives.”

When Rockford had the intent to open a studio in Steamboat Springs, she was searching for a Zen-like atmosphere to practice yoga and dance. Eventually, the location was deemed Sundance Studio to not focus on one area of expertise but to reach out to different areas of expertise such as martial arts and other forms of dance. A priority for her was facilitating the wellness of the community.

Bringing unique talents and expertise, instructors with extensive backgrounds in yoga, Pilates and various forms of dance have had the opportunity to teach classes at the studio.

Recently, hoop dancing has becoming a widespread trend across the nation and slowly is becoming a well-known force here in Steamboat. Sundance is one of the only studios so far to offer hoop dancing for kids and adults.

“I think dance is still underappreciated, undervalued and underutilized as a form of exercise,” Rockford said. “There are a select few in this town who know it’s such a wonderful form of exercise and expression — and good for your body and soul, too. But I’m hoping it will continue to build.”

Henry said she starts with the basics for hooping beginners. The basics don’t necessarily mean bigger hoops and trying to make it go around and around the waist, but rather controlling the hoop. She teaches students to practice more hooping off the body on their hands and legs.

“For me, personally, the best benefits are the form of self-expression and the release, relief. It provides you with a way to meditate and work out at the same time,” said Morgan Kurz, a certified Hoopnotica instructor who recently moved here from Lake Tahoe and is a new instructor at the studio. “It combines a lot of different attributes into one exercise, and I can’t do that with a lot of things.”

Beginners, take note: At first, it can be a frustrating concept, but it requires patience, energy and effort to persevere through those challenging moments.

“I think people need to know it’s an amazing way to get in shape,” Henry said. “It’s not easy at first, but you don’t realize you are exercising, and you can do it outside or even at the concerts. It’s a fun way to get out and be active.”

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1

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