PHOENIX, Ariz. — Twenty-seven year old Dallas Arcand, Cree, from Alberta, Canada, took home the 2006 World Champion Hoop Dancer title on Feb. 5, as he beat out the best hoop dancers from the United States and Canada at the intense world competition at the Heard Museum in Phoenix.
Arcand received second place honors at the 2005 contest and came back this year to win it all. With an almost-perfect score of 291 points out 300, Arcand outshone the other contestants in precision, timing, rhythm, showmanship, creativeness and speed. He received a cash reward of $2,500, which Arcand graciously donated $500 back to the Heard Museum to up the ante and prize money at next year’s competition.
Receiving second place honors was four-time world champion Derrick Suwaima Davis, Hopi/Choctaw, third place was awarded to four-time teen world champion Tony Duncan, Apache/Hidatsa/Arikara/Mandan.
About 9,000 spectators attended the two-day event, which drew 66 dancers competing in five divisions Senior, Adult, Teen, Youth and Tiny Tot. The event, considered the most competitive hoop dance contest in the world, was sponsored by Casino Arizona.
Hoop dancing incorporates speed and agility as dancers maneuver their bodies through one to more than 50 hoops. Dancers also integrate creative designs and difficult manipulations of the hoops to present a unique variation of the dance.
In the Senior Division, Terry Goedel, Yakama/Tulalip, from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., reclaimed his 2005 title; second place honors went New Mexico resident Tommy Draper, Navajo, and Flagstaff, resident Jones Bennally, Navajo, claimed third.
Local teen champ
In the Teen Division, Nakotah LaRance, of Flagstaff, claimed his fourth teen champion title and is also a two-youth champion.
When asked how it feels to have nailed championship titles for six years in a row, LaRance said it felt very good but is getting harder every year. And although he’s been hoop dancing for more than 11 years, he claims he still gets nervous.
“I won by just one point this year and barely made it to the third spot in the second round,” he said. “I knew had to do a good performance in the third round to win.”
LaRance said he began preparing for the Heard competition about two months ago and tries to add something new to his routine each year.
“This year I did the moon walk, where I have two hoops spinning on each arm in opposite directions,” he said. “I haven’t done that the last couple of years.”
Charles Denny, Chippewa/Cree, from Fort Duchesne, Utah, took second place in the Teen Division, and Kevin Duncan, Apache/Hidatsa/Arikara/Mandan, of Mesa, Ariz., rounded out the top three.
There were a record number of Youth competitors –29 dancers total. First place went to first-time competitor, Waskwane Stonefish, Odawa/Chippewa, from Michigan. Reclaiming the second place title was – Jace “Peanutt” Roberts, Choctaw/Nakota of Okla. Mike Goedell, Yakama/Tulalip, from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., placed third. Seven dancers competed in the Tiny Tot Division, the youngest of whom was 4 months old, and they evenly split the $250 cash prize.
The judges included: George Bear, Cree, from Winnipeg, Canada, Randy Medicine Bear, Rosebud Sioux, from Loveland, Colo.,; Andy Grant, Eastern Band Cherokee, from Cherokee, N.C.; Michael Roberts, Choctaw/Chickasaw, from Ada, Okla., and Mike Salabiye, Navajo, from Window, Rock, Ariz.: and Jackie Bird, Sioux/Mandan/Hidatsa, from Bushnel, S.D.
The Oklahoma Outlaws hosted the Southern Drum from Oklahoma and California and were led by Glen Ahhaitty, Kiowa/Comanche. The Mandaree Singers from New Town, N.D., led by Sidirick Baker, Mandan/Hidatsa/Arikara, served as host Northern Drum.
The 17th Annual World Championship Hoop Dance Contest is set for Feb. 3 & 4, 2007.