Hula Shakers

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For all of you who have been intrigued but too lazy to try pilates, Jen Bleier has a word for you: Hoopilates.

Part pilates, part hula hooping, she married the two as a way “to get friends who aren’t avid exercisers to come out and play.”

The hoops in her Prospect Park class are not the super light ones you hooped with as a kid. They’re heavier and have a wider circumference, so they’re more likely to stay around your hips.

They’re also more likely to turn heads. Elaine Tian handmade the sparkly ribboned hoops, just as she did for Sufjan Stevens’ indie pop opera, BQE, in which she choreographed the mesmerizing, synchronized hooping sequences in the film and on stage. (She’s also one of the “Hooper Heroes” in the DVD being released with Sufjan’s new album this fall.)

Tian taught Bleier, a pilates instructor at Ellie Herman Studios in Park Slope, to hoop. Bleier got hooked, and realized it added a really playful, cardio element to the pilates repertoire. Since May, she’s held small, weekly Hoopilates classes in Prospect Park, but has been keeping quiet about it as her site’s being developed. In the meantime, you can RSVP for the next class this Sunday, August 9, by emailing her. The suggested donation is just $10, and you can come sans hoop if you give her a heads up. (Junior hoopers will have to wait a little longer for the kids’ class Bleier’s planning this fall.)

If you haven’t already sensed a craze in the works, the Bell House is hosting its first hula hooping dance party, Hoop (There It Is), tomorrow night. Bleier and Tian will be there with about seven hoops to test drive or buy for $29 (take a peek at the ones available on Tian’s site, Circle Candy). But since many will be bringing their own, the hoopless need not worry. “Hoopers are really generous,” says Bleier. “There’s typically a pile of hoops at any party that you can try.”

Sent by Nicole. Top photo courtesy of Jen Bleier, second by Elaine Tian.

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