World’s best hoop dancers return to Phoenix to vie for world champion title By Native American Times
O’siyo. It’s that time again!
70 of the top Native hoop dancers from across North America will showcase their skill and talent as they compete for the prestigious World Champion title at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, this February. Fans of the Hoop Dance come to view this spectacular event from the United States, Canada, and Europe.
“As it has for 22 years, once again the World Championship Hoop Dance Contest combines artistry, sheer athleticism and cultural traditions to create a unique competition. Top American Indian and Canadian First Nation hoop dancers from the United States and Canada are preparing to compete for the prestigious title of world champion during the two-day event at Phoenix’s Heard Museum on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 9 & 10.
You’re invited to join in the 23rd celebration of one of Indian Country’s most unique sports – the dazzling performances of the men and women who compete for the chance to call himself or herself the World Champion Hoop Dancer. Hoop dance fans from across the U.S., Canada and Europe are already making plans to cheer their favorite dancer on to glory… As the Hoop Dance sport grows in stature, so do the competitors…
Over time, the intertribal hoop dance has expanded to incorporate new and creative designs and extremely intricate footwork. Each dancer presents a unique variation of the intertribal hoop dance, weaving in aspects of his or her distinct tradition and culture. Individual routines are presented using as few as four to as many as 50 hoops, which are manipulated to create a variety of designs including animals, butterflies and globes… Dancers are judged on a slate of five skills – precision, timing/rhythm, showmanship, creativeness and speed.
In recent years, younger competitors such as Nakotah La Rance (Hopi/Tewa) who’s also an up-and-coming actor, are incorporating modern dance steps like hip-hop into their routines…”
For Information: Call 602.252.8848 or visit heard.org/hoop.
Video: Watch Tony Duncan world champion Hoop Dancer in Evansville Indiana By eeriawan
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action… this expression is unique… Dance is the hidden language of the soul”― Martha Graham
Teachers will find free and Complete Lesson Plans with Answer Keys on the following U.S. tribes: Apache, Blackfeet, Cherokee, Choctaw, Crow, Iroquois, Kwakiutl, Mohawk (read about the fascinating “Sky Walkers”) Navajo, Shawnee, Sioux, and Zuni.
We also offer our unique and informative Tribalpedia which offers concise historical and current material about many Native tribes. Included are Discussion Questions for students.
There are many legends about how the Indians learned about the Talking Feather”. Here is one of them…
Long years ago, when gods walked this earth and the land beyond, Kanati and Asgaya Gigagei, were together enjoying the warm summer day. It was a day when the crickets chirrupted in the waving, green grass,when they noticed a figure moving towards them.
As the figure approached closer Kanati said “Look, that woman is crying, what could be the matter?” “I can not imagine why anyone would cry on such a glorious day.” Replied Asgaya Gigagei. “Let’s ask her.”
As the woman drew nearer, they could see her buckskin was decorated with beautiful designs and colors. She carried a bundle filled with leaves, sage, and colorful stones and feathers. They knew immediately this woman was a holy being.
Kanati asked her “Holy mother, why are you crying so?” The woman looked up in wonder, because she had been walking with her head down. “I’m crying because the men of my village are fighting constantly! Each thinks his ideas for leading the tribe is the best!” Kanati and Asgaya Gigagei glanced at one another, in perplexity. “Why, if there are so many good ideas for leading your tribe, why are the men fighting? And why aren’t you and the other members happy!” The poor woman shook her head sadly and replied, “Yes, you are right, the men do have very good ideas, but every man wants to speak his own ideas, and not listen to anyone else. They all shout and scream at one another so loudly, that it frightens the children who run and hide behind their mothers. The women are sad because their husbands come to the house upset and angry. Furthermore, the tribe is suffering, because no one can seem to make a decision.” Just then a beautiful Eagle was soaring overhead, Kanati called out “Brother Eagle, may I have one of your feathers, there are poor humans in desperate need!”
Bother Eagle replied “Yes” and shook himself until a single iridescent, large feather fell to the ground. “Many thanks and Blessings on you” said Kanati. Kanati made secret signs and prayers over the Feather. Asgaya Gigagei helped him with the blessings. Kanati then said to the woman “This is the sacred Talking Father, it holds great power for the one who holds it. Go back to your people, hold this feather up in the air, all who see it will fall silent, and listen to what you have to say. Tell all who listen that from now on, who ever holds this feather, all present within the Circle Council must listen to his words. The feather must then be passed on to the next speaker.”
The woman thanked Kanati and Asgaya Gigagei and hurried back to her village where there was total chaos!. Everyone was talking at once, children were crying, men were screaming at each other. As soon as she held the feather over her head, all became quiet! No one could utter a sound! the holy woman proceeded to give the directions given to her by the gods. She then passed the feather to the first man. He called the Talking Circle together, and each man had his say as he held the feather. From that time on that tribe flourished because they now had direction, and each person could hear and understand what their peers said. The people worked together, to build a great nation. Along the way, they shared the wonders of the Talking Feather with other tribes they met. “And that my friends is the true story of how the Talking Feather came to be!”