The dancefloor ecosystem is a community of living organisms (dancers, djs, kids, mosquitos) in conjunction with nonliving components (air, music, water, dirt floors, stars), interacting as a system. Like all ecosystems, the dancefloor is constantly changing, balancing, and feeding the goals of these diverse components.
We, the hoopers, have an important role to play — to combat Wall.
The Wall is an invasive species that feeds off of insecurity, lethargy, giant sunglasses and texting. You’ll be able to identify Wall-infected members by their planted feet, stiff body, positioned equidistant from their neighbor, silently proclaiming “this is my space”. Wall also causes people to constantly check their phones, so they are easy to spot with lighted faces. Wall is commonly found on the outskirts of the dancefloor, though under certain conditions it can spread throughout the system, making it difficult to find space to dance, and a struggle to move through the crowd.
Wall can be balanced by adding movement. Cheering loudly, flowing between Walls, moving wildly in open spaces, and dancing with exaggerated arm motions all help ‘stir up’ the energy and push back the advance of Wall.
The hoop is a particularly helpful tool in breaking up stagnation – it’s the jackhammer of the dancefloor. When a hooper fills an open space, Wall-infected members will move from their locked position, out of curiosity and out of fear of flying plastic. This is especially true for glow toys! The space that the hooper creates allows for individuals to release the Wall and reintroduce movement into their own bodies. This has a cyclic nature – a little bouncing here and a little hip shaking there will spread quickly – and a small change can quickly balance the system. When the hooper relocates, a vibrant bubble of movement has been created and protected from Wall.
Any dancer has the power to balance the system, no hoop required. I was recently at a Bjork concert where Wall was very strong – the audience was standing in rows, uniform, still, and rock-solid. Super-dancer Sarah and I were able to weave between the rows as if walking through a labyrinth, the rows gradually getting closer and closer together as we approached the stage. As we danced, we could look back and see the walls of the labyrinth begin to sway, to jitter, and to release.
Wall can be prevented by warming up the dance floor. Whether with a hoop, an introspective swaying, or an epileptic fairy feline ninja dance, the first steps into the empty space help others feel safe to step in. This warm up makes it clear that NOW is the time for dancing. Hoops are particularly good at warming up the dance floor because of our big footprint, the positive connection with childhood playtime, and the energetic flows that follow. The “WTF?!” nature of the hoop dancer and their technique mystifies onlookers, giving them something to talk about as they build courage to step into the present moment. Pulled forward by the movement of smooth hips and quick hands, it’s not a coincidence that non-hoopers suddenly feel called to move.
Do your part – be present, keep moving, and dance bravely! Recognize and neutralize the spread of Wall at your local dance party!