Tried it

Hoop dance class

Puzzle Dust Circus, East Kew Uniting Church, 142 Normanby Road

Wednesdays 7.30pm-8.30pm.

Cost: $125 for six weeks or $25 per casual class

You might have thought hoops were a modern invention, but Egyptian tomb drawings from 1000BC show people playing with them. In 14th century England they were all the rage until doctors blamed them for heart attacks and back problems. Then in 1957, an Aussie children’s wooden hoop inspired the bright plastic hoops California company Wham-O began to manufacture. I hooped as a youngster but spent more time chasing after my hoop than spinning it. This time I am determined to master the swirl. At the hoop dance class we form a human hoop and follow instructor Kirsty Vis as she takes us through a warm-up to stretch and twist. The music is loud and pumping a heavy bassline – perfect for the fast-paced workout. We break into two groups – beginner and intermediate – and Vis splits her time between each group setting us bite-sized tasks to practice. She returns to check our progress often and gives us tips to improve technique.

The verdict

When the hour is up, I just want to keep spinning. Gyrating in a church hall might be an unusual way to learn a new skill and keep fit – hooping for an hour burns around 700 calories – but I am hooked.