VIDEO ARTICLE: Heard Museum hosts the 26th World Championship Hoop Dance Contest

Video by Craig Johnson

The World Championship Hoop Dance Contest at the Heard Museum brings together people from all over the continent each year to share in a universal love of the art of hoop dancing.

This year, the event attracted skilled dancers hailing from places ranging from New Mexico to Manitoba, Canada. The contest was a truly unique event to witness.

Although its history is told differently by each tribe, the general consensus is that the modern hoop dance evolved from a dance used in traditional Native American healing ceremonies.

It’s apparent that hoop dancing becomes a lifelong passion in those who choose to take it up. The historic dance is constantly being improved upon by each successive generation.

Each dancer has a set of signature moves with which they attempt to push the art form to a new limit. Regardless of skill level, every dancer has something new to bring to the table and the audience is receptive to creativity.

There is creative freedom in several aspects of the dance, from how the hoops are arranged on the ground prior to the dance, to how the dancer chooses to end his or her dance.

The number of hoops used varies from dancer to dancer, with some using three or four and others using over 20.

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