Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Jamming, spinning together and playing capoeira

It might seem weird for me to write something about flow arts and capoeira in one post but I've done that before anyway so nothing new. Maybe now my focus is the interaction between people.

In capoeira, we have a thing called the roda or the wheel. It's basically everyone gathered in a circle. At the center of which are the players of the game. I've always been nervous when it's time to gather for the roda. I've been behind many lessons in class so it was hard for me to feel confident about playing. Everyone is soooo good and I actually still feel bad that I seem to be behind.

And then there's jamming while playing with your favorite props. In the usual spin jams I've been too, people would play with their props of choice at the same time. Sometimes we follow our own feelings and find individual flow. Sometimes there's a collective vibe and just feel the flow as a group. My unforgettable experience at Brasilipinas was with Ehrlich and Athena while we were in the middle of a circle of people. I don't know what really made it different but I just know that there was a collective and infectious energy that night and though I wasn't able to do a lot of fancy tricks it was one of the best moments I had while hooping.

After that I just know that we shared the same space and the same mood. This made me think that I really like playing or spinning with other people too. And it's like capoeira. You share the same space and the same music. You might move differently from each other but you both have to interact with each other's movements and mood. 

Lately I've been getting more comfortable with my capoeira friends even outside our training setting. I guess it makes it easier for me to trust them when we play together. That they will respond to my movements without being show offs or even when they do, they will also guide me and give me that opportunity to learn. Some people just have that effect? But eventually I guess I'll find it easier over time :).  For some reason I actually find myself wanting to play more capoeira and I don't know if it's me starting to find some kind of flow as I keep on trying and just not stopping despite a lot of moments where I'm almost hit because I was approaching a kick instead of escaping it. 

It's really a matter of time for me to get used to this kind of interaction. But I suppose that me wanting to learn would eventually triumph over the fear of getting hit or hitting someone whether with my limbs or a prop. And I guess it's time to just have more fun.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Reflections and affirmations

There are times when you watch a movie and you hear those lines that are just so trite or so cliche. But really it sometimes makes perfect sense.

Last weekend, one of my friends and I had a talk and she just told me to never give up because she is sure that things will come around. It's one of those things that I know deep in my heart but at the same time it's getting hard to believe each day. There are times when I even want to give up doing the #100hapydays project because I sometimes lose sight of what makes me happy. But the harder it is to feel instantly happy, the more I need to reflect on my life and remember that it's not all bad and that I still have enough strength to move and do good things in life - not just for myself but other people too.

It's hard to get up when there's just too many things weighing you down. You fight the urge to shout at the world. You keep some things inside and it's not nice. But more often than not I'm reminded that I'm not the only one fighting battles left and right. Other people do too. Some can talk about those battles more freely. And I could only do so in such a vague manner because there are things that I would still prefer to keep to myself and just share with few trusted people.

Too many things to deal with. 

And I can't run away from them. And I shouldn't add to them. And I must realign myself to my personal values and not lose sight of them while I look for the solutions. 

I've been collecting images from Facebook that give me the timely reminders. Some of them might sound like the advice that you are always given and it might be really like that. But I do need these reminders and affirmations now more than ever. The battle is in the mind and busy-ness will just be some kind of escape, not the answer.

The body will just get tired after all that busy-ness. But the mind won't stop hammering you with all the thoughts and worries you might have. So instead of filling your head with all that negativity you need to fill it with positivity and some affirmations that would heal. It won't be quick but it will be part of the process. And hopefully you won't ever give up and instead find it easier to breathe and just deal.

At the moment these are what I have to remind me to keep moving.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Come learn hoopdance with me at the Philippine Flow Festival 2014

Hi everyone! I have the opportunity to teach some basic hoopdance techniques this March at the Philippine Flow Festival.  There's going to be lots of stuff going on such as performances and workshops for the 3 day event.  There will be our fellow spinners from other parts of the country (like our friends from Cebu!) and also from other parts of the world (Psycusix! Marvin Ong! And more).  The workshops will be held in Arts in the City (Taguig) and these are the schedules of the hoopdance basics that I'll be teaching:

March 27 - Off body basics

Off body hooping is when you hoop with your hands or mostly you holding the hoop somehow. We'll explore the places where you could put the hoop (in front of you, back of you, on top of you, etc. and the concept of planes!). We will also try to touch on various techniques like handspins, tosses, holding the hoop, and (if we have time) an introduction to off body breaks and reversals.  Even if you don't know how to do waist hooping, it's ok. :) It's all focused on how we could also use our hands, elbows to hoop.

March 28 - Basic transitions

The hoop can be a fun prop to use as you move it on your body and off your body. You could step and jump into the hoop. You could also move the hoop on various parts of your body as well as change the orientation of your hoop (horizontal to vertical).

March 29 - Basic breaks and reversals

A break is when you stop the hoop's revolution. When you oppose the hoop's revolution or suddenly stop it, there's still momentum and it moves in the reverse direction.  It is preferred that you could at least do waist hooping and even just basic chest/shoulder hooping for this. If not, let's see how breaks and reversals can actually help you learn those things the way it helped me. If there would be more advanced hoopers who'd sign up for this, let's play with behind the back pinch breaks, knee breaks and maybe ankle/foot breaks!

Look at the images below for the complete details:

Day 1 - March 27

Day 2 - March 28

Day 3 - March 29

Hope to see you there! Let's hoop, spin and just have lots of fun playing with our props. :D

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Circles Everywhere - in Hooping, Capoeira

I started hooping in 2012 as a way to lose weight. The amazing thing about it is that the hoop has made me found a way to connect with my inner self and outer self, which is way beyond the physical benefit of having a regular cardio routine. The plastic circle we call the hoop is probably one of the most meditative tools I've encountered because it lets me lose the worries when I spin in it.  At the same time, the hoop is also the best way for me to see that there is a way for me to connect my movement with my thoughts and feelings.

Last year, I started to learn capoeira hoping that I'd get more familiar with staying near the ground and keeping myself in motion. Blame Brecken Rivara's video "Floored" for this because she was floor hooping like crazy and I want to do that someday too. My friend Rica introduced me to one of her friends who happens to be a capoeirista.  From that point on, I have been attending capoeira classes regularly and each session makes me feel happy that I am a capoeirista.

Last Thursday, we had a music class and we studied several songs including "Roda Maravilhosa." It means "Marvelous Wheel." The roda is the circle we form and we play capoeira together. Like the hoop, there is a circle involved in capoeira and every capoeirista takes part in this roda by singing songs, clapping and playing the game. We are taught that when we make the roda, we should keep close to each other as we stand to create a perfect circle, one that doesn't have big gaps between people, one that isn't a squarish shape. We are also taught that in the roda, we have a shared energy as we sing, clap and play.  And the lyrics of the song "Roda Maravilhosa" is a perfect reminder for me the other night.

With hooping, my relationship with the hoop has been on an individual to individual level in the sense that I take the hoop as one entity to interact with. I move within it, or with it. It's mostly my energy interacting with the hoop. When I say energy, I mean the literal physical energy as well as the creative energy of my soul. Sometimes I might say that the hoop is leading my motion, and that's because there's a path that the hoop creates when it spins around, as well as when I break it and it naturally reverses its direction. Usually the interaction I have with the hoop would have music, to set the mood and the pace. Sometimes, I just practice with it even without music so it's just my will to move and the hoop's path that create new patterns.  The physical object and the spinner interact directly in hooping.

In capoeira, the circle is not a physical object to have interaction with. Instead, the circle is composed of people. The interaction is not between a circular object and an individual. Parts of that circle interact with each other. Two people from the roda play a game while the rest cheer on by singing, clapping or playing instruments.  Everyone in the roda gives something into the circle and it's reflected in the pace of the song, the movements of the players, and everything in the roda. It's not exactly the same play with the hoop that you could see the circle in a tangible manner.  In capoeira, the circle is everyone, not a thing that is outside of you.

What I like in hooping and capoeira are the following things:
  • There is a concept of flow or one's movements just being naturally stitched together, expressing one's self.  It took me a long time to find flow in hooping and it seems like I am experiencing the same thing in capoeira. But I do think it will come sooner or later, I just have to keep practicing!
  • Music.  Music is an important aspect in both hooping and capoeira.  Even though I do hoop without music, I have to admit that it has helped me learn new moves and combinations.  The pace of the songs I've heard has inspired me in one way or another. In capoeira, music is important too.  It sets the mood.
  • Interaction.  In hooping there's the interaction with the hoop.  And there's also interaction with fellow hoopers.  It's not like an interaction that is always face to face but that's ok.

So far I am discovering things where both have similarities. Here's hoping to find more as I go deeper in my practice.

Monday, January 20, 2014

30 Day Challenge 2014 - Days 10-19

I've had some issues with uploading videos at home so I am just posting about my daily practice now.

Day 10:
Rolls rolls rolls. I swear that after this challenge, my rolls should have a little bit of improvement.  I've stopped learning rolls because I wanted to learn other moves. Hrm. Time to learn this again.

Day 11: 
Being crazy with interacting with the hoop. Stepping through it, lifting a leg on top of it, no hands hooping, etc.

Day 12:
Worked on the continuous elbow matrix. As the days go by, I've been able to make progress with this move using my regular hoops instead of my big one. :D

Day 13:
This was me trying out a roll combination. Actually I spent the night in a spin jam where I was able to practice some fire hooping but I forgot to ask someone to take a video :( So here's a clip of me practicing a half roll by tossing it over my neck. And seriously, rolls are hard. I can't seem to find myself doing smooth rolls especially with a light hoop. 

Day 14:
Did I say that I have been obsessing over the continuous elbow matrix?! Hahahaha. I blame Caitlin Hofer!

Day 15:
Foot hooping and shoulder stand practice. I blame Kat Lopez-White for this one. It's quite difficult to do foot hooping by itself. I just had to get motivated to take it to the next level! I still have a long way to go though. Adding the shoulder stand to one of those things I want to learn outside of hooping so I could use it for hooping. ;)

Day 16:
I just realized last week that one of the things from Alvin Lopez's workshop last December is the cat eye isolation. And that it's part of the lessons that I got from XD Tsk. I should pay more attention to the list of tricks in the classes I've signed up for!  One of the biggest realizations after watching the video is that the way I move my hand is still terrible because it's not consistent. Like how the hand should be at 3 o'clock but it is around 1 o'clock. :(  Must practice more!

Day 17:
Playing with a mini hoop - flow practice. Just playing with it while music is on. It's a challenge for someone like me who's not exactly from a dance background.  But it's really fun, to be honest. This is one of those times that I try to be crazy with a hoop :p

Day 18:
After forever, I studied CAPS again! This is one of the tricks I've been wanting to learn from 2013. It looks like I am finally having a little bit of progress though I still have to orient myself before starting CAPS.

Day 19:
Spent the Sunday afternoon with some spinner friends and I was taught how to do drills for the infinity toss and more releases for the rolls. And there's also a variant of the thread the needle. But the highlight of the day was CAPS!
Looks like I am getting somewhere with CAPS. Finally. Maybe I had to really just rest from learning CAPS for a long time. Now I need to be more relaxed when I do CAPS!

Participants in this particular 30 day challenge:

Friday, January 10, 2014

30 Day Body Rolls Challenge

I blame hoopers Mike Hayataka, Caterina Suttin and Mat Poretta for yet another hooping challenge. I swear, I wasn't planning to join because I just wanted to see what everyone else was up to.  Rolls is one of the techniques that I wanted to learn last year but my obsession with breaks and reversals is much greater than the desire for rolls.

The 30 Day Body Rolls Challenge is basically you (the hooper) having to come up with a combination every day.

I might not post daily updates here as it's mostly something I plan to just try until I run out of combinations.  The videos will be up on my YouTube channel though.

Why am I bothering to do this? I guess it's because I am serious about studying movement with hoops. And I might discover that I actually like rolls? :))

2014 30 Day Challenge - Day 9

Actually practiced both hooping and capoeira earlier. For capoeira, we practiced various au and queda de rins. I am guilty of not practicing au batido and one-handed au much but that's because I am really scared of not having anyone to help/check me in case I fall. I usually practice at night when people are asleep so that I could have the space all to myself and not worry about people passing by. A trade-off.

In any case, I couldn't help myself and I shot a quick clip of me practicing queda de rins earlier when I got home.

queda de rins practice clip

Some of the things I still need to work on:

  • Core strength - That way I could eventually keep my legs up in the air as well as try other variants of queda de rins.
  • Finding the sweet spot on my right side - Because I can't seem to position myself comfortably enough on my right side and it affects my balance very much. :(
  • Patience - That I will not hurry into lifting my legs in the air.

As for hooping, I mostly spent time practicing rolls. There's a 30 day body rolls challenge and I guess I should take this opportunity to learn rolls and how to combine them with other moves.  I have to admit though that my biggest issue with rolls is the way I release the hoop. I also did a bit of practice with the elbow matrix.  Getting to the point of doing 2 repetitions of the elbow matrix. It feels darn nice. ;)

Other participants in this particular 30 day challenge: