Phoenix rocks to an ancient beat at hoop dance fest

By Andrew Curley
Navajo Times

PHOENIX, Feb. 13, 2014

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(Special to the Times - Roshan Spottsville)

Derrick Suwaima Davis (Hopi/Choctaw) of Old Oraibi, Ariz. earned 234 points and took home the top prize of $3,500 in the adult division of the 24th annual Heard Museum World Championship Hood Dance Contest over the weekend.

Pulsating Central Avenue with a sound that far predates the high-rises of downtown Phoenix, singers from distant Plains tribes provided the beat for dancers from across the country competing in the Heard Museum’s 24th annual Hoop Dance Contest last weekend.

In front of a semi-circle of sprawled-out blankets, lawn chairs, and umbrellas on the Heard's lush central lawn, dancers in brightly colored regalia, feathers, paint, bells and hoops danced to the fast beat while performing incredible acrobatic feats with up to a dozen hoops.

They danced like birds with wings they constructed from the hoops across their backs. They constructed circles and semi-circles and did backflips over these.

It was an all-male group of winners this year. The top contender was regular Derrick Suwaima Davis, Hopi/Choctaw, from Old Oraibi, Ariz., who has won several of these same competitions in the past.

Hopi/Choctaw take home top prize at Hoop Dance

PHOENIX – The winners of the 24th annual Heard Museum World Championship Hoop Dance Contest held Feb. 8-9 are as follows.

Adult Division

1. Derrick Suwaima Davis (Hopi/Choctaw) Old Oraibi, Ariz., 234 points, $3,500.

2. Tony Duncan (Apache/Arikara/Hidatsa/Mandan) Mesa, Ariz., 220 points, $2,500.

3. Lane Jensen (Navajo/Maricopa) Mesa, Ariz., 208 points, $2,000.

4. Nakotah LaRance (Hopi-Assiniboin-Tewa) Ohkay Owingeh, N.M., 207 points, $1,500.

5. Dallas Arcand (Cree) Calgary, Alberta, 206 points, $1,000.

6. Alex Wells (Lil'Wat Nation) Mount Currie, British Columbia, 204 points, $750.

Senior Division

1. Brian Hammill (HoChunk) Phoenix, 214 points, $2,500.

2. Moontee Sinquah (Hopi/Tewa) Phoenix, 200 points, $2,000.

3. Lowery Begay Dineh (Navajo) Jonesborough, Tenn., 191 points, $1,500.

Teen Division

1. Talon Duncan (Apache/Arikara/Hidatsa/Mandan) Mesa, Ariz., 225 points, $750.

2. Tyrese Jensen (Navajo) Mesa, Ariz., 216 points, $500.

3. Tomas I. Hunt (Navajo) Page, Ariz., 190 points, $350.

Youth Division

1. Jaron Yazzie (Navajo/Apache) Farmington, N.M., 225 points, $350.

2. Ascension Harjo (Mohawk/Kickapoo/Seminole) Hagersville, ON, 223 points, $200.

3. Rito Lopez Jr. (Pima/Apache/Arikara/Hidatsa/Mandan) Scottsdale, Ariz., 201 points, $150.

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