While attending a party in San Francisco six years ago, Heidi Pfeifle saw some women dancing while using the modern version of a hula hoop.
“I decided I had to learn,” said Pfeifle, who now lives in Lodi.
Pfeifle danced to various kinds of music while whirling a fancy-looking hoop around her waist. But sometimes it circled around her legs, seemingly defying the law of gravity.
These hoops are heavier than the plastic hula hoops you might have tried as a child. They’re made of heavy irrigation tubing and decorative tape.
After learning how to hoop dance from one of the dancers at the party she attended in San Francisco, Pfeifle began giving lessons, entertaining at special events, creating her own hoops and selling them.
“I do hoop,” Pfeifle’s boyfriend, Travis Speegle said. “I didn’t for a long time, but I really like it. Hoop feels a lot like play. It’s great exercise. It feels good and it’s fun.”
Pfeifle’s mother, an elementary school teacher, was with her at the fateful hooping party and took a liking to it. Her mom started demonstrating it at her school, Nightingale Elementary in south Stockton.
“She thought it would be fun for PE,” Pfeifle said of her mom. “Kids could have fun without realizing they’re getting exercise.”
In Lodi, hooping is popular at Lakewood Elementary School.
“She’s quite a young lady,” former Lakewood teacher Linda Crete said. “I was an elementary teacher for 15 years. I saw when Mr. (Ruben) Gomez took his old hula hoop equipment to Lodi Lake. We had a ball. It was just a kick.”
Pfeifle doesn’t have a place to give lessons, so now she is limited to giving private lessons. Sometimes, she gets people’s attention by hoop dancing in the middle of a park. They ask what she’s doing, and she occasionally ends up with a customer.
When she’s not hooping, she creates her own hoops and sells them.
“I’m making 10 or 15 hoops today with different designs,” Pfeifle said.
Crete, who met Pfeifle about a year ago, said hooping can be beneficial physically in many ways.
“It’s a great Christmas gift, I always thought, for the person who has everything,” Crete said.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.