Derrick Suwaima Davis Talks Hoop Dance

Derrick Suwaima Davis Derrick Suwaima Davis won his first hoop dancing championship in 1992, his most recent in 2010, and he has earned the title of World Champion Hoop Dancer five times. So when the Indian Country Today Media Network sits down with him for an interview to break it down, we knew we were in for a pretty amazing read. How did he develop his own hoop dance style? Derrick explains, “I first saw the dance when I was around the intertribal gatherings in New Mexico. I was already a champion fancy dancer. As a young boy my father made us hoops. I didn’t really understand the significance but it was something I was drawn to. We began to imitate the dance… As I was coming along I really began to understand the story. The origin of the dance goes back to the Healing Dance where the shaman or the patient would pass through the hoop and whatever ailment was disturbing the patient would be dismissed. And although this dance is done in a public and competitive format, it still conveys that message of healing and restoring balance and the Hopi culture and how we talk about First, Second, Third and how we are now in a Fourth World. At the end of the dance I set down a four-hoop globe. Each time I pick up one of those hoops it acknowledges times of adversity and prosperity, and how through time it’s the plants, the animals and the insects that have taught human beings how to utilize the resources around us. And so, as we are stewards and guardians, it’s through our songs and our dances we ask and encourage everything to be healthy. Because if the environment is healthy, then we are going to be healthy. Through our art forms and with our good intentions we encourage well being. The hoop dance encompasses a large amount of teaching.” Full interview: Indian Country Today Media Network

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