Tuesday, March 11, 2014


The internet is typically the first place we begin our research. We are no longer limited to thumbing through our local library’s index catalog to find what we are searching for. Everything we want to know and learn is virtually at our fingertips.  The web is a resource that can provide endless websites, tutorials and blogs all on the same topic from a variety of different perspectives. Many hoopers have benefited from this, and with a few clicks of our mouse we are on our way to becoming better hoopers than we were yesterday.

So what happens when this type of learning starts to isolate our experience? Maybe you have learned all you can from one tutorial, but are still having a hard time completely grasping the concept. Maybe something is still unclear for you or you are having trouble getting exactly what you need from these online hoop tutorials. If local classes and workshops are hard to come by in your area, you're in luck. The next wave of learning hoop dance is coming around the corner.

Meet Jedediah Walls’ newest brainchild: hoopmentor.com. Many of you remember Walls and his creation of The Hooping Game, which has taken the Facebook hoop community by storm and has become a popular place for hoopers to hang out online. Though the hoop mentor website is still in the beginning stage, it is shaping up to be something made by hoopers for hoopers. Starting at $35 you can sign up for one of the several courses being offered - ranging from beginner to more advanced styles. The key difference between free youtube tutorials and hoopmentor is that when you sign up you are getting a month of daily instruction as well as a means to connect with the instructor via google hang outs, Skype or one of the other tools in which we can communicate via the web. You can watch brief introductory videos and get a feel for the instructor's style and what they have to offer before you make your purchase. In a recent interview with Walls, I got the scoop on the website, the goals that have been met to make this vision a reality and what is coming next.

Christina: What goals did you have to meet before you could make the website happen?
Jedediah: At this point I’m totally overjoyed at the status of the site and where we are at with it. We were able to not just hit our goals but go farther. We received $350 in donations [from our online fundraiser] and were subsequently able to meet with programmers and have them work on some of the nitty gritty issues that were standing in the way.

CB: According to the site, there are a variety of instructors offering a range of online classes starting at $35. Tell us what exactly you are getting when you sign up.
JW: The question that everyone is asking: Why not just look up [free] tutorials on youtube? Well, everyone should be looking up tutorials on youtube. Tutorials are GREAT. We’re here to add to the next level.

CB: The next level of hooping is here! How is the site different from Youtube tutorials?
JW: We offer mentors and learning teams, and both improve your learning dramatically. When you work with a mentor, you learn faster and you learn tricks you can’t find online. There are people out there that just want the direct guidance and prefer that to youtube videos.

CB: Will there be a length of sessions?
JW: Each class is a month long intensive. Think of them as 30 day challenges.

CB: Is this closed to hoopers only?
JW: I wanted to be able to let everyone in the community play. That includes our producers, suppliers, and business people. So we’re offering products from different produces in the community. Gnar Hoops and Kemmithoops are supplying our initial offerings. We’ll rotate products and producers as we go. We also have some exciting alternative courses in the lineup: Business courses, Crafts Courses, and classes in Poi and other flow arts. We are looking into teaching other forms of dance. We hope to keep our courses organic and allow many different teachers in our community a platform to come forward and invent classes they feel would be beneficial.

CB: Can you talk about the sustainability of the site?
JW: It is feasible because the community wants it. I’m not doing it for the money that’s in it, I’m doing it because our community needs it. One of the things that we are finding is that this isn’t just a website – it’s a community. Our teachers are all taking a brave step in teaching in a relatively new way. I’m amazed at their innovation. It’s great seeing them grow organically and watching these initial stages happen.

If you have been looking for a way to take your hooping to the next level of learning, hoopmentor might be a great place to start! I have always said that the best way for me to get over a plateau is to take a class or workshop with someone. For those of us living in areas that might not have all the hoop action we need, the web is a perfect place to reach out. Start playing the hooping game, look for your new favorite mentor, reach out to others.

To keep an eye on HoopMentor, be sure to Like the facebook page for more details!
For a taste at what Jedediah has created, try out the Hooping Game on Facebook.

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