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Hooping at UConn

By Melissa Collins

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Jennifer Dennehy, professional hoop dancer, instructor, and hoop maker, gave a performance at the University of Connecticut’s Student Union on April 20th, 2013. She then proceeded to spend several hours teaching UConn students the basics of hoop dancing.

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Dennehy has been dancing for 25 years, but hoop dancing for just three. The combination of dance and hooping is called “flow”.

Dennehy recalls how she got into hooping.

“I saw it for the first time on the beach and thought it was the most beautiful dance form.” Dennehy said. “I tried for three hours that day but couldn’t hula hoop at all, so I left counting down to the next drum circle when I could try again. Two days before the event, I had a dream that I was hooping at a competition and won. Ever since that day I’ve been able to hoop.”

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Dennehy teaches two students how to hoop.

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Dennehy speaking to a larger group of students starting to gather for a hooping lesson.

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Students look on as Dennehy demonstrates an aspect of hooping.

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Rebecca Loeser (left), a UConn Junior majoring in Computer Science, gets the hang of hooping.

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Dennehy was always ready with an encouraging word or piece of advice to help each student, despite the large number of participants.

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A view of participating students through Dennehy’s hoop.

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Beata Kaminska, a UConn Junior majoring in Neuropsychology  spins a hoop on her arm, practicing a technique that Dennehy had demonstrated.

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Two students mimic Dennehy in an attempt to learn the trick she’s performing.

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Beata Kaminska (left) returns a runaway hoop to her younger sister, Ola Kaminska, who is a freshman at UConn majoring in Marketing and Communications.

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As the crowd thins out, Dennehy is able to devote her attention more towards those genuinely interested in hooping.

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Loeser hoops at the hips.

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Ola Kaminska and several others prepare to follow Dennehy’s lead for the next trick.

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Kaminska (Left) practices a spin, along with Amanda Purnhagen (Middle, a Junior and Philosophy major), and Josephine Ankrah (Right, a Freshman, HDSF major).

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Jessica Berner, a UConn Sophomore and Communications major, works on using her ankle to hoop.

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Loeser lounges back near the end of the lesson, practicing hooping with her ankle.

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