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Heard Museum World Championship Hoop Dance Contest

Artistry, sheer athleticism, cultural traditions

On February 10 & 11, 2018, top American Indian and Canadian First Nations hoop dancers will compete at the Heard Museum for the prestigious World Champion title and cash prizes. At the two-day competition, men and women compete on an equal field.

The art of hoop dance honors the cultural traditions from multiple Indigenous communities that first employed hoop dance as a healing ceremony. Today, hoop dance is shared as an artistic expression to celebrate, share and honor Indigenous traditions throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Over the years, the art of hoop dance has grown, incorporating new and creative designs and intricate footwork while still respecting the fundamentals of hoop dance, a form of tribal dance that sets itself apart. Each dancer presents his or her own variation of the intertribal hoop dance, weaving in aspects of tradition and culture. Individual routines use as few as four to as many as 50 hoops, which are manipulated to create a variety of designs including animals, insects, and globes.

Dancers are judged on a slate of five skills: precision, timing/rhythm, showmanship, creativity and speed. Contestants compete in one of five divisions: Tiny Tots (age 5 and younger), Youth (6-12), Teen (13-17), Adult (18-39) and Senior (40 and older).

Through the stunning performances of both men and women who are vying to call themselves the World Champion Hoop Dancer, the event combines artistry, athleticism, tradition and suspense to present a memorable competition.

NOTE: Lawn seating only. Please bring folding chairs or blankets to sit on. This is an outdoor event, so please plan accordingly for the weather. Bottled water is the only beverage that may be brought into this event.

Book Signing

Visit Books & More from noon until 2 p.m. Sat. or Sun. and meet local author G.G. George, author of The Arizona State Fair.


Parking at the Heard Museum is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Additional parking has been secured in lots close to the museum. Please refer to the map below for locations.
Lot 1: 2020 N. Central Ave. (parking garage)
Lot 2: 2214 N. Central Ave. (Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona). Additional parking for people with disabilities is located here.
Lot 3: 2333 N. Central Ave. (DWL Architects+Planners)
Lot 4: 340 E. Palm Lane (Brookstone office complex)
Lot 5: 303 E. Palm Lane (Maricopa County Bar Association)

Click the map for an enlargement

Off-site parking for Hoop

Avoid parking completely and visit us via Metro Light Rail! #Stop 10009, Encanto/ Central Avenue, “Heard Museum”

Contestant Information

Download the 2018 Hoop Dance Official Rules

Early Registration

Online early registration is now available. We strongly encourage early registration. Online registration closes at the end of business on Feb. 9, 2018.
Click here to pre-register online.

Early registration incentives include:

  • Fast pick up: Your number and rules packet will be ready for you when you arrive (as long as we received your information by Feb. 9).
  • Drawing: A drawing will take place from the pre-registered names for a pre-paid Visa card worth $100.00.

Use the form below if you need to register through mail, fax or email:
2018 Hoop Dance Contest Registration Form for mail, fax or email

If you have not registered for previous Hoop Dance Championship Contests you will need to supply your tribal ID the day of the event or on your mail-in registration form.

On-site registration will be available for $5.00 per dancer starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning, Feb. 10 in Steele Auditorium. Blessing and rules review will follow at 9 a.m.

Discounted hotels available for a limited time

Hoop contestants can now get discounted room rates at three nearby hotels. There are a limited number of rooms at each hotel, so book your accommodations as soon as possible. The last day to make a reservation is Jan. 10, 2018 and is dependent on remaining availability.
Download Hotel Information for Contestants (includes discount rate information)

Please contact Sue Pappas via email at sue.pappas@pappasmail.net or by calling 503 706-6964 if you have any problems with booking.

For information on signing up to compete, please contact Shaliyah Ben at 602.251.0259 or sben@heard.org.

2017 Winners

Adult (18-39)

World Adult Champion: Tyrese Jensen (Navajo/Maricopa), Dilkon, AZ
Second Place: Tony Duncan (San Carlos Apache, Arikara, Hidatsa, Mandan), Mesa, AZ
Third Place: Dallas Arcand (Cree, Nakota Souix, Metis), Morinville, Alberta Canada
Fourth Place: Talon Duncan (San Carlos Apache, Arikara, Hidatsa, Mandan), Mesa, AZ
Fifth Place: James Jones (Cree), Tall Cree, Alberta, Canada
Sixth Place: Michael Goedel (Yakama, Tulalip, Lumbee), Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Seniors (40 and over)

World Senior Champion: Terry L. Goedel (Yakama/Tulalip) Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Second Place: Moontee Sinquah (Hopi/Tewa/Choctaw), Second Mesa, AZ
Third Place: Celina Cada-Matasawagon (Ojibway), Sheshegwaning First Nations, Manitoulin Island, Canada

Teens (13-17)

World Teen Champion: Nanabah Kadenehii (Dineh), Big Mountain, AZ
Second Place: Josiah Enriquez (Pueblo of Pojoaque), Santa Fe, NM
Third Place: Nathaniel Lakota Bears Heart, (Standing Rock/Santee Sioux), Monument, CO

Youth (6-12)

World Youth Champion: Kailayne Jensen (Navajo/Maricopa), Mesa, AZ
Second Place: Delano Paddock, (Navajo), Holbrook, AZ
Third Place: RJ Lopez (Pima, San Carlos Apache, Arikara, Hidatsa, Mandan), Salt River, AZ

View: Scoring Sheets – Adult Division FINAL 2017
View: Scoring Sheets – Senior Division 2017 Finals

In partnership with the Consulate General of Canada
Tyrese Jensen (Navajo/Maricopa) of Dilkon, AZ, was the 2017 adult champion at the Heard Museum World Championship Hoop Dance Contest in Phoenix

Tyrese Jensen (Navajo/Maricopa) of Dilkon, AZ, was the 2017 adult champion at the Heard Museum World Championship Hoop Dance Contest in Phoenix. Photo by Caesar Chaves

Event Details

February 10 – 11
Saturday – Sunday

Saturday, Feb. 10
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (gates open 8:45 a.m.; grand entry 9:30 a.m.)

Sunday, Feb. 11
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (gates open 8:45 a.m.; grand entry 9:30 a.m.)

Adults: $18
Seniors (65 and older): $13.50
American Indians: $12
Heard Museum members: $12
Children age 4–12: $7.50
Children 3 and younger: $0
2-DAY PASS : $30

Includes museum admission.

Heard Museum Campus

Event Category:
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Start time of each day's grand entry is approximate.