Tag Archive for Hopi

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

Derrick Suwaima Davis at Grand Canyon

Hoop dancer Derrick Suwaima Davis

Hoop dancer Derrick Suwaima Davis

The North Rim of the Grand Canyon was the place to be recently for a truly majestic view at the 18th Annual Native American Heritage Days. Taking place on August 11 and 12, the event featured world class hoop dancer Derrick Suwaima Davis, a Native Arizonan from the Hopi and Choctaw nations who performed on both days. Suwaima, who began participating in Pow Wows at the age of 3, is a Five Time World Champion Hoop Dancer and Champion Fancy Dancer. In addition to hoop dancing he has also been a member of the pop/rock group “Clan/destine” for seven years, worked with The Phoenix Symphony, appeared as a model in Marie Clare magazine, appeared as man of the month in Cosmopolitan and his image has been used by many from the Arizona Tourism Bureau to the U.S. Postal Service.

Native American hoop dancing is thought to have originated in healing ceremonies among the Taos tribes of northern New Mexico. Other tribes adopted the dance, and its popularity spread through powwows and exhibitions. These days, dancers compete with one another for speed, precision, and the number of hoops they can handle and interlock into forms such as butterflies, spheres, snakes, eagles, or bears. “Hoop dancing takes a lot of mental preparation,” Davis explained. “It’s like weaving a basket – you have to remember what goes where.” You can view his 2010 World Champion hoop dance here.