American indigenous groups to compete in hoop dance championship

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PHOENIX — American Indian and Canadian First Nations hoop dancers will compete in the Heard Museum World Championship Hoop Dance Contest this week.

The event will take place Saturday and Sunday. One-day tickets for the competition are available for up to $18, with two-day passes costing $30.

The event honors the traditions of multiple indigenous groups in North America that first employed the hoop dance as a healing ceremony. The dance has since become a form of artistic expression.

The dance has evolved over the years. It has incorporated new creative elements while staying true to traditional fundamentals. Each dancer has his or her own style or variation of the dance that weaves in different aspects of their respective culture and traditions.

Individual routines use as few as four and up to 50 hoops to create a variety of designs.

Dancers are judged on five criteria: precision, timing/rhythm, showmanship, creativity and speed.

Contestants can compete in one of the five divisions ranging from age 5 and younger to 40 and older. Men and women will compete on an equal field.

Th event will take place at the Heard Museum Campus on Central Avenue between McDowell and Thomas roads in Phoenix. Parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis with additional lots available near the museum.