Nakotah LaRance Wins 2nd World Hoop Dance Contest

Nakotah LaRance Wins 2nd World Hoop Dance Contest by Philo Hagen

Nakotah LaRance Wins 2nd World Hoop Dance Contest

For the second year in a row 26-year-old Nakotah LaRance spun away with the first place win and title of World Hoop Dance Champion at the 26th annual Heard Museum World Championship Hoop Dance Contest. In a very close contest this year, LaRance beat former champion Dallas Arcand by a mere six points to reclaim the title for a second year in a row. Hoop dancers from all over the United States and Canada made their way to compete during unseasonably high temperatures this year. The two-day event was held at the museum’s Scott L. Libby Jr. Amphitheater and featured Native American and indigenous hoop dance routines consisting of as few as 4 hoops and as many as 50. Hoop dancers are judged in five areas: precision, timing/rhythm, showmanship, creativeness and speed. Here are those who placed this year and some of the award winning performances.


• Nakotah LaRance (Hopi/Tewa), Ohkey Ohwingeh, New Mexico with 237 points

• Dallas Arcand (Cree/Nakota Sioux/Metis), Kipohtakaw First Nation, Alberta, Canada, 231 points

• Scott Sixkiller Sinquah, (Gila River Pima/Cherokee/Hopi), Phoenix, Arizona, 227 points


• Terry Goedel (Yakama/Tulalip), Rancho Cucamonga, California, 234 points
• Brian Hammill (HoChunk), Phoenix, Arizona, 227 points
• Moontee Sinquah (Hopi/Tewa/Choctaw), Second Mesa, Arizona, 208 points


• Talon Ree Duncan (San Carlos Apache/Mandan/Hidatsa/Arikara), Mesa, Arizona, 230 points
• Tyrese Jensen (Navaj0/Pima-Maricopa), Mesa, Arizona, 226 points
• Josiah Enrique (Pueblo of Pojoaque), Santa Fe, New Mexico, 219 points


• Jaron Yazzie (Navajo/Apache), Farmington, New Mexico, 235 points
• Kailayne Jensen (Navajo/Maricopa), Mesa, Arizona, 227 points
• Rylee Sandberg (Norway House Cree Nation), Winnepeg, Manitoba, Canada, 198 points

The Navajo-Hopi Observer reports that one of the highlights was a hoop dance by Jones Benally – one of the oldest, active hoop dancers. Recipient of the Heard Museum’s Hoop Legacy Award, the crowd and fellow dancers alike were in awe of the over 80-years-old’s performance with willow hoops. The dancers lined part of the hoop dance circle to honor his tradition of passing on tradition. Before his performance he said, “We teach our kids to carry on, to learn.”


Philo Hagen Philo Hagen is the Co-founder and Managing Editor of He’s been spinning things up online and off since April 2003. Co-Founder of the Bay Area Hoopers and LA Hoopers hoop groups, Philo has performed internationally and has won Hoopie Awards for Male Hooper of the Year and Video of the Year. He lives in Los Angeles, California, USA.

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