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Native American Hoop dancing is a dance form where the dancer tells a story through his movements and the creation of various shapes with the use of the hoops. These forms include animal shapes such as the eagle, coyote, and butterfly, and other forms such as the sun, the moon and the earth. The hoops themselves represent the never ending circle of life and the dancer’s relationship to all things. A dancer can use from 1 to 32 hoops in the performance of this art.
Hoop Dancing almost died out in this generation, but with the advocacy of individuals such as Kevin Locke and the support of apprenticeship programs developed by various Native American Arts councils , the dance has experienced a wonderful revival throughout the country. The apprenticeship program has allowed both boys and girls to study with elder dancers; learning their traditions and this form of sacred Dance.
We selected this particular video of Lowery Begay dancing to music by Sennan Quigley and performed by the Jeff Ball Band because of the expression of modern Native American flute music accompanied by a quasi-jazz set. Traditionally, the dance is only accompanied by the drum. We also see a djembe on the set indicating that native artists are embracing and incorporating musical expressions of other world cultures.