Just one point separated the first, second and third place
winners in the adult division of the 19th Annual Heard Museum World
Championship Hoop Dance Contest in Phoenix, Ariz.
man who won, Brian Hammill, Ho-Chunk, came down with the flu before
the contest, and despite a 101 temperature still competed, beating
last years champion Charles Denny, Chippewa/Cree/Ute.
dug really deep to be where I had to be. Its a scary situation
(to be that sick). I felt it, but I tried to hide it. (Winning)
was very gratifying. Ive been competing for 15 years and this
is my first title. Im the guy who barely missed it a couple
of times, said Hammill, who took home a $2,500 prize.
year, Denny, from Fort Duchesne, Utah beat Hammill of New River,
Ariz. by just three points. Third place winner was Nakotah LaRance,
Hopi/Tewa/Assiniboine. The 2008 Teen Champion Hoop Dancer Kevin
Duncan, Arikara/Hidatsa/Mandan/Apache, competed for the first time
in the adult division finishing in fourth place.
annual event drew 78 American Indian and First Nation hoop dancers
who create routines with as few as four to as many as 50 hoops.
This was the second highest number of hoop dancers who registered
in 19 years of competition.
some families, like Duncans, hoop dancing is a family event
with siblings competing against each other. Five members of the
Duncan family competed in three events. Hammills two children
also danced in the Tiny Tot division.
champions included: Beedoskah Stonefish, Grand Traverse Band of
Ottawa/Chippewa of Interlochen, Mich. in the youth division (6
12 years); Peanutt Roberts, Choctaw/Nakodah of Atwood, Okla. in
the teen division (13 17); and Daniel Tramper, Cherokee of
Cherokee, N.C. in the senior division (40 and older). Finalists
in the Tiny Tot division split the $200 prize money.
was visibly lower than in past years. Weather and a sagging economy
may be to blame. Still, the show lived up to its colorful and entertaining
explained in fliers handed out at the event, it has been suggested
that the people of Taos Pueblo, N.M. first began performing a dance
in which a performer passed through a hoop. Recently, the hoop dance
has become more popular in dance circles, pow wows and contests
throughout North America.
dancer was judged for precision, timing/rhythm, showmanship, creativity
and speed. The five judges were former hoop dancers hailing from
South Dakota, North Carolina, Colorado, Oklahoma and New Mexico.
says the contest is like a family reunion for dancers. We
all get along really well; we see the children growing up. Theyre
(young dancers) bringing new formations. We learn from them and
they learn from us. The new stuff is phenomenal.
an accomplished dancer who formed his own dance group called Native
Spirit, hopes the title will help him secure more bookings, but
he says he wont let it get to his head. I will keep
it grounded and keep the presentations as Ive always given
them in a dignified manner. Hammill grew up in Wisconsin,
but currently lives in Arizona.