When was the last time you hula hooped? For most of us it was probably back in elementary school. This staple of the American toy industry, around since the 1950s, has the same unchanged simplistic design. Sure the colors might be a little different from when you were a kid, and some light-up or glow-in-the-dark but overall, the hula hoop is still a way to create fun.
A passion for teaching
Colleen Bell stumbled upon hooping a few years back. “I found a YouTube tutorial on how to customize a hula hoop,” she explained. Her interest piqued, she watched videos on hooping tricks. Now she performs regularly in parades and at Maumee’s Buster Brown’s Lounge.
Though Bell enjoys performing, her real passion is teaching. Now a fully certified hoop dance instructor, she owns Mae C Rae Hoops, which meets at the Perrysburg Gymnastic Center, where she teaches hoop dance and hoop fitness to children and adults.
“Our younger kids’ classes are typically more game related, and as you get older the classes become more focused on the fitness and dance of hooping,” Bell stated.
A standard kids’ class involves a history of hoop dance, learning tricks and playing games, ending with a dance party. A “hoopsmith” workshop is also available, allowing kids to make their own hoops to take home.
Bell currently offers weekly classes, and has recently begun booking birthday parties and Girl Scout troops. Each class can be tailored to benefit the participating group. “I’ve helped Girl Scout troops earn badges in fitness, and fairness. For the fairness badge we teach the idea of being fair through different games.”
Be Authentically You!
Although the educational aspect can be tailored towards the particular group, Bell insists on one important theme in all of her classes — “celebrating who you uniquely are’ — which provides her business motto “Dance, Hoop,
Play – Be Authentically YOU!”
Bell explains, many people, especially adults, come to class uncomfortable with hooping and dancing in front of others. “I get students who are super shy, but over time they just love it [hooping], and showing off what they can do.”
Hooping Health Benefits
That confidence boost leads Bell to marvel at the mental benefits of hooping. “I used to be very shy when I was young, and now I’m hooping, teaching hooping, and performing. It’s really helped me open-up as a person.”
Hooping offers proven physical benefits. A recent American Council on Exercise (ACE) study shows that hooping has similar cardio results to kickboxing while developing flexibility, and helping with weight management. One hour of hooping can burn 400-600 calories.
Regardless of age or experience, the childlike fun of hooping is the perfect way to exercise and let loose. To learn about upcoming classes, visit Facebook.com/maecrae, or email Bell at MaeCRaeHoops@gmail.com
Q&A with Colleen Bell
1. What’s your favorite activity to do with your family/kids?
Lately, because of the winter weather, we’ve started doing workouts together in the living room.
2. Best Holiday memory you have from when you were a kid?
Being at my grandma’s house on Thanksgiving. She had ten kids and they all came with their kids, so there were a lot of cousins and family. It was always great being together.
3. What’s your go-to activity when you finally have a few minutes to yourself?
4. Name one thing you swore you’d never do as a mom, but totally do.
Saying “because I said so.”
5. Describe your life in five words.
Fun, challenging, rewarding, interesting, evolving.