360 West August 2011 : Page 23

THE COOL ISSUE Hoop It Up Can a throwback toy whittle your waist? Yes, plus it’s fun trying. Geri McNiece tosses off a few moves at an Arlington park. She teaches classes at her studio, The Hoop Shack, also in Arlington. C THE DETAILS The Hoop Shack 2320 Superior Drive, Suite D, Arlington. 817-925-6625; www.aroundjoy.com Photos by Jill Johnson onsider the Hula Hoop: Michelle Obama managed 140-plus rotations at a White House function in ’09; Time named it one of the top 100 toys of all time in 2011; you can burn about 500 calories in an hour. While the original Wham-O version is still sold for about $8, special “sport” models that can be broken down into pieces for easy travel are available for serious hoopsters. Count Geri McNiece of Arlington as one of those. She was 47 and suddenly dealing with slight but alarming weight gains when she found hooping at the tail end of a Good Morning America episode in 2007. The guest twirling the hoop was so graceful — and slender. “I thought, I want a body like that, No. 1. I want to move like that. I want that girl back.” She tracked down the performer, Rayna McInturf, and eventually ordered a hoop and instructional video online from McInturf’s company. Before they arrived, McNiece happened to be in the L.A. area where McInturf was based and signed up for a private lesson. “I had the best time ever, but I was intimidated because I couldn’t do it the fi rst lesson.” Still, she took home positive energy. “I was in awe of her and her gentle spirit. I thought, ‘This lady’s got good juju. I could get in shape with this.’” McNiece, who has a dance background, went outside, got in her hoop and kept at it in her back yard for months. Eventually, she found herself studying to be a master instructor. Today, she teaches the Hoopnotica curriculum at The Hoop Shack, located in an Arlington warehouse her husband renovated for classes. She’ll soon add classes in Hoop Chi, a form that doesn’t require profi cient waist hooping. “Hoop Chi is like Pilates standing up. It’s meditative, but you’ll sweat because you’ll really control what your body is doing.” She’s taught hundreds of students, mostly women, in small classes of four to six people. McNiece and fellow hoopsters rocked their way through the Arlington Fourth of July Parade and have held pre-concert demos at Levitt Pavilion. Come fall, HoopJams are scheduled around Arlington and in Fort Worth. “The minute it gets cooler,” says McNiece, “We hit the parks.” — Judy Wiley www.360westmagazine.com August 2011 23

Find Out What The Hoopla's About

Hoop It Up

Can a throwback toy whittle your waist? Yes, plus it’s fun trying.

Consider the Hula Hoop: Michelle Obama managed 140-plus rotations at a White House function in ’09; Time named it one of the top 100 toys of all time in 2011; you can burn about 500 calories in an hour.

While the original Wham-O version is still sold for about $8, special “sport” models that can be broken down into pieces for easy travel are available for serious hoopsters.

Count Geri McNiece of Arlington as one of those. She was 47 and suddenly dealing with slight but alarming weight gains when she found hooping at the tail end of a Good Morning America episode in 2007. The guest twirling the hoop was so graceful — and slender.

“I thought, I want a body like that, No. 1. I want to move like that. I want that girl back.” She tracked down the performer, Rayna McInturf, and eventually ordered a hoop and instructional video online from McInturf’s company. Before they arrived, McNiece happened to be in the L.A. area where McInturf was based and signed up for a private lesson.

“I had the best time ever, but I was intimidated because I couldn’t do it the first lesson.”

Still, she took home positive energy. “I was in awe of her and her gentle spirit. I thought, ‘This lady’s got good juju. I could get in shape with this.’” McNiece, who has a dance background, went outside, got in her hoop and kept at it in her back yard for months. Eventually, she found herself studying to be a master instructor.

Today, she teaches the Hoopnotica curriculum at The Hoop Shack, located in an Arlington warehouse her husband renovated for classes. She’ll soon add classes in Hoop Chi, a form that doesn’t require proficient waist hooping. “Hoop Chi is like Pilates standing up. It’s meditative, but you’ll sweat because you’ll really control what your body is doing.” She’s taught hundreds of students, mostly women, in small classes of four to six people. McNiece and fellow hoopsters rocked their way through the Arlington Fourth of July Parade and have held pre-concert demos at Levitt Pavilion. Come fall, HoopJams are scheduled around Arlington and in Fort Worth. “The minute it gets cooler,” says McNiece, “We hit the parks.” — Judy Wiley

Read the full article at http://www.bluetoad.com/article/Find+Out+What+The+Hoopla%27s+About/791459/76391/article.html.

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