The World Championship Hoop Dance Contest returns to the Heard Museum February 12 & 13, 2022, when the top American Indian and Canadian First Nations hoop dancers will compete at the Heard Museum for the prestigious World Champion title and cash prizes.
The art of hoop dance honors cultural traditions shared by multiple Indigenous communities. With roots in healing ceremonies, traditions and practices, today hoop dance is shared as an artistic expression to celebrate and honor Indigenous traditions throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Over the years, as the hoop dance community has grown, dancers have incorporated new and creative designs and intricate footwork while still respecting the fundamentals of the form. Each dancer presents his or her own choreography, weaving in aspects of tradition and culture. Men and women compete on an equal field, and individual routines may feature as few as four to as many as 50 hoops, which are manipulated to create a variety of designs such as 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). Cash prizes totaling $25,000 are awarded to winners in each division, and victors in each division can claim the honor of being the World Champion.
Through stunning performances of those women and men competing to be named the next World Champion Hoop Dancer, the event combines artistry, athleticism, tradition and suspense for an unforgettable weekend of fellowship and competition.
Pictured at top: Lisa Odjig (Ojibwe, Odawa, Pottawatomi) competes at the World Championship Hoop Dance Competition at the Heard Museum, Phoenix, Arizona. Photo: Heard Museum.