Tag Archives: Annual World Championship Hoop Dance Contest


23rd Annual Hoop Dance Contest Showcases Diverse Skills from Dozens of Cultures

Hundreds of spectators gathered at the Heard Museum in Phoenix to watch the 23rd Annual Heard Museum World Championship Hoop Dance Contest. The contestants represented dozens of tribes from around the U.S. and Canada, bringing with them their own unique styles of costume and dance.

Preliminary rounds were held on Saturday for each of the divisions, consisting of Tiny Tots, Youth, Teen, Senior and Adult. The final rounds began Sunday morning, starting with the Youth. There were contestants from six to twelve years old competing, and an energetic six-year-old from Salt River took first place.

Hoops Dance Contest The Teens showed exceptional talent, many of them having practiced since they were very young. A young man from Winslow won the division with an enthusiastic performance.

The Senior division is for contestants 40 years of age and older, and a few names always trend at the top. This year was no change, as Brian Hammill (HoChunk) claimed first place again. Lowery Begay (Dine) took second, and both men have won many times. Tommy Draper (Dine), a previous award winner as well, took third.

The most anticipated portion of the weekend is the Adult division final round, and six prizes are given to represent the broad age category. The diverse performances were stunning for their skill and expressive passion, and many of the winners have won titles before.

First Place went to: Derrick Suwaima Davis (Hopi/Choctaw: AZ)

Second: Tony Duncan (Apache/Arikara/Hidatsa/Mandan: AZ)

Third: Kevin Dakota Duncan (San Carlos Apache: AZ)

Fourth: Dallas Arcand (Cree: Alberta)

Fifth: Charles Denny (Cree/Northern Ute: UT)

Sixth: Nakotah LaRance (Hopi/Tewa/Assinboin: NM)

Hoops Dance Contest Denny and LaRance danced in two tie-breakers, putting on an incredible show for the crowd as they out-danced each other.

Live traditional drums and singers played for the dancers, and families traveled far to cheer on their contestants.

Finally, the inaugural Heard Museum Hoop Dance Legacy Award was given to Jones Benally (Dine) to celebrate his 75-year run of hoop dancing. A traditional practitioner from Winslow, Benally has performed for Queen Elizabeth II and Oprah and has worked as a healer all his life. Now in his 90s, Benally danced like a young man and reminded the younger contestants to preserve their cultures by continuing the cherished practice of traditional hoop dancing.

To see the winners and videos from last year, visit heard.org/hoop

Top 5 Native American Experiences (Spring-Summer 2012)

Top 5: Native American Experiences (Spring-Summer 2012)

The Top 5 Native American Experiences — as voted on by Experience AZ readers:

Annual World Championship Hoop Dance Contest

2301 N. Central Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85004
Experience the fast-paced precision and grace of hoop dancing as the top hoop dancers from the U.S. and Canada compete. Visitors can enjoy delicious fry bread and other American Indian foods. Saturday and Sunday, February 11-12, 2012.

Heard Museum

2301 N. Central Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85004
Experience myriad cultures and the art of American Indians in 10 world-class exhibit galleries, plus enjoy sculpture courtyards, superb dining and shopping for your own uniquely Southwestern gifts and art.

Pueblo Grande Museum Indian Market

4619 E. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85034
Native American artisans representing more than 50 tribes display and sell arts and crafts.

Southwest Indian Art Fair

1013 E. University Blvd.
Tucson, AZ
The Southwest Indian Fair features some of Arizona’s best Native American arts from 200 renowned artists. Demonstrations, food, music and dance performances will also be on hand. February 18-19, 2012.

Turkey Mountain Traders

7008 E. Main St.
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Turkey Mountain Traders specializes in the finest antique (pre-1940) American Indian art, antique American Indian jewelry, and antique American folk art. Its gallery is located on Main Street in Scottsdale and is open Monday and Wednesday-Saturday (and by chance or appointment on Tuesdays) from October through May.

Experience AZ Spring-Summer 2012