Hula hoops have been a form of recreation for centuries– no one knows exactly when people started using them, but it is certain that ancient Egyptian children played with hoops made out of dried grapevines. Other early hoops were made of willow, rattan, or stiff grasses. There’s even an ancient Greek vase (dated 500- 490 BCE) currently in the Louvre that depicts Ganymede, a Trojan hero, rolling a hoop!

Hoops were popular in Great Britain as a form of exercise as early as the 1300s, and they have served an important role in a Native American form of storytelling called hoop dancing. In the 1950s, hoops started to be made out of plastic and the craze went global. By the mid-1960s, hula hoops were being incorporated into circus acts.

We were fortunate enough to have performance specialist Ellie Steingraeber on the show to demonstrate her amazing talents with hula hoops. Having been part of the circus for 10 years, Ellie loves inspiring her audiences and making people smile. Do you think you could twirl 100 hula hoops at the same time? Ellie can! Maybe with enough practice (and enough hoops!) you could, too.

Keep up with Ellie on her website and Facebook page, and if you would like more information on hula hoop history, click the citation below:

“History of Hula Hooping.” N.p., 2013. Web. 10 Feb. 2017

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