The art of motion – hoop dance contest world championships 2019

A young boy uses hoops to imitate birds flying. (Lily Qi/Medill)

By Lily Qi
Medill Reports

American Indian and Canadian First Nations hoop dancers gathered in Phoenix to compete with each other in this dance competition to celebrate Native traditions.

The 2019 Head Museum World Championship Hoop Dance Contest filled Feb 9 and Feb 10 with dances drawing together 36 First Nations from across the Americas.

The contest has five competition divisions – Tiny Tots for ages 5 and younger, youth for the 6-12 group, teens13-17, adults aged 18-39 and seniors for those 40 and over. Winners in each division except Tiny Tots received title and prizes. Winners for 2019 are Cody Boettner of the Creek (World Adult Champion), Lane Jensen of the Navajo (World Senior Champion), Nanabah Kadenehii of the Navajo (World Teen Champion) and Kailayne Jensen, also of the Navajo,(World Youth Champion).

Hoop dance, an art in Indigenous communities that honors generations of cultural traditions, has become an artistic expression for celebration.  Dancers use hoops to form various shapes or imitate animals in their tribal culture.

Photo at top: A young boy uses hoops to imitate birds flying. (Lily Qi/Medill)