By Michael Petroski
As the crazy American phenomenon that has had more than 100 million hips gyrating since its production by the Wham ‘O toy company back in 1959, the Hula Hoop is celebrating its 50th birthday this year.
Local writing center tutor and Stony Brook student Adrienne Lojeck is working to get everyone back in the swing with the plastic hoops that are no longer used as just toys for kids.
“People don’t know how easy it is to use a Hula Hoop, and I am trying to get the word out and get people re-interested in the hoop,” Lojeck said.
She said she wants to have the reemergence of the hula-hoop to the modern world and for people to know how to use it. Another hope for her is for others to realize that the hoop is not just a toy but can be used to help people get into better shape.
“In the future I want this to be a possible career and hopefully spread the word about my hoops,” she said.
Lojeck, a striking woman with thick dark hair and hips that easily move to the beat with Hula Hoops intact, makes her own brightly colored and multi-sized hoops. She uses the big rings for presentations and sells them to her friends. For the last two months, she has sold 10 hoops. She first started making the hoops in December 2008, so it has only been a few months now, but her enthusiasm is contagious. Her inspiration for starting this is “all the people online having fun and exercising with the hoops, one of them being Hoop Girl,” she said.
Christabel Zamor also known as “Hoop Girl” is a fitness trainer who has been teaching “sold out classes.” She has also worked with Cirque du Soleil, Warner Brothers, and Universal Pictures.
The Hula Hoop is a very simple, easy to use toy that has been around for an estimated 3000 years. The origin of the name came from the ancient toy and the Hawaiian Hula dance. The original hoops, invented in early Egypt, were made of metal, bamboo, wood, grasses, and even vines. Richard Knerr and Arthur “Spud” Medlin of Wham-O toys that make the current plastic Hoop then remade it. Twenty million Wham-O hula-hoops were sold for $1.98 in the first six months. The success of the Hula-Hoop has resulted in Wham-O becoming the most successful manufacturer of Hula-Hoops in modern times. These hoops have lasted for generations and other toy companies have started to make them. Now even people can make them, with a little knowledge on how to.
“The way I make the hoop is very easy” Lojeck said. “The most important thing to do first is stop at Home Depot,” Lojeck joked. “Next, I buy an irrigation tube, measure to desired length or by how tall the person you are making it for is and make the cut.” She added, “The last thing I do is connect the tubing and use special tape to keep it sturdy.”
Thanks to Hoop Girl, “the Hula Hoop has been reintroduced not only a toy, but a tool to help you get into shape,” Lojeck said.
Lojeck has learned much of what she knows from popular web sites filled with Hula Hoop information. Another web site she mentioned is hooping.org, which will instruct about the many ways a Hula-Hoop can be used. It also shows photos and people using the Hula-Hoop all over the country and the world. Another site she mentioned is “The hooping life” which presents video documentaries in which people find ways to use a Hula-Hoop in fun and interesting ways.
“I was never really interested in sports as a kid, but then I saw the videos and I started using and making the hoops,” Lojeck said.
You can find info at her web site at outtathiswhirld.weebly.com. Lojeck wants to see more people with her hoops and to provide them with more information on how to use Hula Hoops. She also has started up a club of hula hoopers called Long Island Hoops. What they do is go to parks and events and use the hoop any way they want to with music. If you want to join go see Adrienne Lojeck in the Islip Arts building in the Writing Center or you can write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.