Go hula crazy with a belly dance class

Sally Cox from Hoop Shaker
Sally Cox from Hoop Shaker

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Combining the skills of hula hooping and belly dancing might sound like too much of a challenge to some.

It’s a bit like being asked to pat your head while rubbing your stomach, such is the concentration required to keep a hoop moving as you attempt to perform undulating dance steps in time to the music.

But anyone who does want to give it a go will find there’s no better teacher than LA-based Valentina Martin.

And now the American expert is heading for Portsmouth for a workshop organised by Sally Cox, who runs hula hooping classes all over the local area.

The belly hoop fusion workshop will take place on Monday, November 26, from 6pm-8pm at the John Pounds Centre in Queen Street, Portsea.

Spaces must be booked in advance and the workshop costs £25.

Sally says it’s a great chance for those interested in learning more about hoop dance to add style and grace into their routines, while also finding out how to use their arms more.

Valentina – who runs Unity Hoops and performs all over the world – promises to teach the sacred art of belly dance and show followers how to incorporate it into their hooping technique.

And it’s also a great way to work up a sweat as the session will require participants to use their arms, shoulders, chest, hips and core to shimmy and undulate.

‘Valentina is coming over later this month to do some other hula hoop and belly dancing events so I got in contact with her and asked if she was interested in coming to us,’ explains Sally.

‘I was so pleased when she said yes, it’s such an amazing opportunity for us.

‘She’s so elegant and graceful in her moves.

‘This is a really good opportunity for people who want to do more hula dancing.’

While the workshop isn’t strictly for beginners, those who haven’t tried hula hooping before can still take part – if they’re prepared to put in some practice first.

‘I would say that if people haven’t hula hooped before and they want to try this, they can come along to a couple of beginners lessons and that should be enough to see them through the workshop,’ adds Sally.

‘Belly dancing and hula hooping are very similar.

‘Belly dancing is more about the control and isolation of different parts of the body and hula hooping works the core and the arms.’

Sally’s seen her hula hoop classes take off in the past couple of years as more people look for fun ways to keep fit.

US First Lady Michelle Obama has also been credited with introducing a whole new wave of people to the craze after she was spotted working out with a hoop.

To book a place on the belly hoop fusion workshop e-mail Sally@hoopshaker.com.

To find out more about Sally’s regular classes, or other special workshops and one-off events, log on to hoopshaker.com