The Heard Museum World Championship Hoop Dance Contest combines artistry, sheer athleticism and cultural traditions to create a unique competition. This weekend Saturday and Sunday, February 5 & 6, 2011, approximately 70 hoop dancers from across United States and Canada will showcase their skill and talent as they compete for the prestigious World Champion title. The two-day event will be held at Phoenix’s Heard Museum.
The tradition of dancing with a hoop has an extensive history among Native people. The hoop or circle is symbolic to all Native people. It represents the Circle of Life and the continuous cycle of summer and winter, day and night, male and female. Some Native people use hoop dancing as a part of a healing ceremony designed to restore balance and harmony in the world, which is not performed publicly.
It has been suggested that the people of Taos Pueblo, New Mexico, first began performing a dance in which a performer passed though a hoop. Recently, the hoop dance has become more popular in dance circles, powwows and contests throughout North America. Young dancers are learning from accomplished hoop dancers, and new innovations are appearing.
During performances, dancers will incorporate speed and agility as they manipulate their bodies through one to more than 50 hoops. Some dancers also incorporate creative designs and difficult manipulations of the hoops to present unique variations of the dance. Through the hoop dance, accompanied by either Northern or Southern drums, the performers express distinct cultural traditions, as they are judged on a variety of categories.
The Jay Kahn Memorial Fund sponsors the youth competition prizes and the Arizona Commission on the Arts is a supporter of the contest.
Registration: This contest is open to Native dancers only. Tribal enrollment card or CIB required. For more information call 602-251-0212
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