Angelika Gawronski of Shaw TV in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, recently did a profile on Dallas Arcand, the three-time World Champion Hoop Dancer and she learned a lot about the nature and basics of aboriginal/native hoop dance along the way. “Hoop dance has been here for around 1200 years,” Dallas explains. “Originally the hoop dancing was a ceremony that our ancestors used to help restore balance and harmony in the world.” Later on he also tells Angelika, “Some say that the hoops had healing powers themselves,” and with all of the testimonials and transformations we’ve seen over the years we’re whole heartedly inclined to believe that is still very much the case. The soundtrack used here is “The Real Hey Ya” by Northern Cree and it’s available on iTunes.
One of the most fun times any performer can have on stage is when the choreography is put aside and the art of improvisation is embraced. Formality takes a back-seat as the performer brings a kind of raw magic as they freely explore and express what they are feeling in the moment and it’s rare to get to see an improvised performance from a five-time World Champion hoop dancer. Tony Duncan performs live with Arvel Bird to the song “Ride Indian Ride” and dips into his incredibly deep Native American hoop dance repertoire to give us something really special, a hoop dance directly from his spirit. The song is available on iTunes and his performance is the first 4.5 minutes. Tony lives in Mesa, Arizona, USA.
In “Electric Hoop”, a documentary short by Ashley Bomberry and Mohsen Nazeri, the unexpectedly unique Erik “Arik” Pipestem describes his process of exploration on story telling through hoop dance. Fusing several traditional Native American pow wow hoop dance styles with acro and hip hop, jazz, ballet, contemporary, and Latin, Arik is a First Nations performer who is one of a kind. He’s also a dancer and choreographer with many years of experience performing with Cirque Du Soleil, So You Think You Can Dance Canada and more. He’s spun it up in several music videos as well including “Red Winter” by Drezus – which is also the soundtrack for this and it’s available on iTunes. Arik lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Nakotah LaRance is a six-time World Hoop Dance Champion whose star has really risen performing not only with Cirque Du Soleil’s “Totem” show and elsewhere, but he truly captured the hearts of a whole lot of hoopers last year with his mad Native American hoop dance skills in the Geronimo music video with The Knocks and Fred Falke. Here we have the total treat of getting to see his competition performance at the Heard Museum’s World Championship Hoop Dance Contest in Phoenix, Arizona, and while we know he placed sixth this year following a relatively unprecedented hoop dance off, regardless of whatever happened with the judging there’s something truly awe inspiring going on here. Video by Danny Upshaw. Nakotah lives in Flagstaff, Arizona, USA. A Hooping.org Video of the Day.
The 23rd Annual Heard Museum World Championship Hoop Dance Contest recently took place again in Phoenix, Arizona, and hoop dancers came from all over the United States and Canada to compete for the ultimate title of becoming World Hoop Dance Champion. It’s a pretty big deal not only to receive the highest honor from your community and peers, but the first place prize also comes with a $3,500 cash award and this year that incredible honor went to Derrick Suwaima Davis (Hopi/Choctaw) who won this year for an unprecedented sixth time! Davis last captured the World Champion title back in 2010 and this year he returned to Phoenix and danced himself right into the winner’s circle all over again. Check out his award winning hoop dance performance below:
With a score of 235 points, Davis came in ten points ahead of the amazingly talented Tony Duncan who earned the World Champion title for himself back in 2011, while Kevin Dakota Duncan placed 3rd this year with 215 points. The Duncan brothers were very high profile this year in part as the result of the appearance in Nelly Furtado’s Big Hoops music video. Watch their second and third place performances below:
Over one hundred hoop dancers gathered at the West Edmonton Mall for a rally protesting Bill C-45, which was passed by the Canadian Senate last month. In response, the Assembly of First Nations unanimously voted to adopt a statement of unity which says, “Bill C-45 will not be enforced or recognized by the First Nations.” The Idle No More movement was out in full force with approximately two thousand demonstrators urging Prime Minister Stephen Harper to repeal parts of the bill, saying that it infringes on aboriginal treaty rights, and on the rights of all Canadians to have clean drinking water. Samson Cree drummers led the protest participants in a procession around the West Edmonton Mall. Conway Kootenay of the Alexander First Nation, who helped organize this event, explained to the Edmonton Journal, “The general public got to see some of the ceremonies we conduct all the time. The grand entry is where everybody comes in, dancing in solidarity and nationhood. It represents our appreciation and our love for Mother Earth.”
There was a great deal of diversity among the participants. Non-aboriginal groups such as the Council of Canadians and the Edmonton Raging Grannies also came to show their support for the Idle No More movement. Some hoop dancers were from nearby Canadian provinces while others traveled from as far away as California to support First Nations. Sage Romero, a 34-year-old Paiute hoop dancer from Taos Pueblo, California, said, “We’re all related as native people in the issues that we’re dealing with, so we’re showing them that they have the support of our people down there. We’re trying to assist in raising awareness. For us to work together, it will show that we’re all stronger, unified.” At the gathering, he offered a hoop dance that he described as “a healing type of dance.” He explained the reason he chose this dance: “Seeing the hurt that people are going through right now, and the tough times, I felt it’s good to bring that traditional teaching of this dance back, that’s what it was offered for.”
Due to the sounds of the crowd cheering, we advise you to turn down the volume of your speakers before clicking “play” on this video:
Kevin Locke first burst into the national scene as a hoop dancer with his performance involving 28 hoops in a complex and acrobatic dance. In the span of his career he has graced many pow wows, toured for more than two decades and lectured in more than 80 countries. A Lakota hoop dancer reared on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, The Indian Country Today Media Network sat down with him to talk about elevating the human spirit through hoop dance. What is the significance of hoop dancing to Kevin Locke? He explains, “The hoop or circle is the most pervasive and ubiquitous world archetype. For all people the shape represents peace, wholeness, harmony, beauty, sacredness, divinity, continuity, infinity, and well being. The hoop or circle is God’s mark on every aspect of creation even down to the smallest atom, proton and neutron. In its essence the hoop dance is a choreographed prayer – a prayer that we may all be restored to our place in the hoop of life, in God’s creation.” Read the full interview here.
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
Dallas took some time finding his own balace and harmony. Along the way he dabbled in confusion, anger and crime, but once he found his path he committed himself to solid ground and high ideals. Arcand explained, “I hope I can be a shining light for my people. For me there’s a lot of integrity in that.” And now, with his 25 hoops in motion, he continues to create and innovate. “I am constantly creating new pieces of art through music, through dance, even in teaching my son to be a good person.” His son, 14, is following in his father’s footsteps as a passionate hoop dancer. “Teaching my son my craft means a lot to me, it keeps the circle going. I tell him the best thing you can do is show up on time, know your craft, be the best you can be and stay true to who you are and what you stand for.” Arcand, who also composes music and plays traditional cedar flute, also recently released his fourth CD Sacred Sweetgrass.