The Hoop Dancer - Please contact me with specific program requests.
What is the hoop dance? If you're here, chances are you're already familiar with the hoop dance, and you're here to learn about my specific hoop dance and what I offer in my programs. If you're not entirely up to speed on the hoop dance, feel free to take a minute (more specifically, four-and-a-half minutes) to enjoy the video above shot by my friend Monique at the LaSalette Shrine powwow in Attleboro Ma, June 2008. Afterward, take a minute to read a little background on the hoop dance, what it means to me, and what I offer as a dancer and performer.
About the Hoop Dance:
The modern hoop dance was born in the 1930s, inspired by a centuries old ceremonial hoop dance which is generally considered to have been universal among early tribes. Although there are as many meanings and lessons in the dance as there are hoop dancers, to me it is a storytelling dance. The dancer uses colorful hoops and his or her own body to create intricate shapes, often telling the story of life. However, it cannot be truly appreciated by reading a description, or even watching the video, so let me tell you about my programs, and then check my schedule for powwows I'll be attending. If you have an event scheduled for one of my free days in which you'd like me to share the hoop dance, feel free to contact me directly.
As a Hoop Dancer, what do I offer prospective clients?
I offer two different programs: Full-drum-and-dance and hoop-dance-only sessions. My programs are unique, different from many educational Native American programs and performances. I generally specialize in CONTEMPORARY Native dance styles that are commonly seen at powwows today, and I share information, histories, and other trivia about many modern styles such as Northern & Southern Fancy, Straight, Woodlands & Plains Traditional, Grass, and Women's styles such as Fancy Shawl, Buckskin & Cloth Traditional, and Jingle.
What makes my program truly unique, whether it's just a Hoop Dance presentation or a full-drum-and-dance program, is that, whenever possible, I present the introduction of the program in street clothes, usually a pair of jeans and a concert t-shirt, or something along those lines, then quickly change while the other dancers share the first dance, an "intertribal" dance. Over the years, this has become a bit of a trademark of mine, and it serves to break down any misconceptions that people might have about modern life in Indian America. Many people only know what they see in movies or on TV, and a very few movies about Native Americans take place in modern times, most films showing people of certain Nations the way they were hundreds of years ago. The dancers perform in full "regalia," which is the term that is generally accepted as proper to refer to the ceremonial dress the dancers wear.
The "full-drum-and-dance format" features my dance troupe The HawkFeather Dancers. As a dance group, The HawkFeather Dancers is comprised of six to eight dancers including me, each performing a different style, as well as two to three singers drumming on either a large powwow drum or hand drums, usually depending on available space. During this program I will explain the various dances before the individual dancers give a short demonstration. Usually members of the audience will have an opportunity to participate in certain dances. The Hoop Dance, the spectacular highlight of all of my presentations, ends the program.
Please note that members of the HawkFeather Dancers live throughout the United States, so a full drum and dance program usually requires extensive logistical planning, often months in advance, sometimes up to a year.
In the much shorter "Hoop Dance Only" program, which is usually just me and a singer or two, I often end the Hoop Dance with an invitation for anyone to try their hand at this dance. Rarely do guests take me up on this offer.
For all of my presentations, I close with a formal question & answer session (time permitting), and an informal meet & greet always follows the show. The meet & greet is my favorite part of the show, as I love to hear feedback and I really enjoy meeting people who have attended my presentations.
Finally, the question every potential client wants or needs to know: my fees. I used to say that I don't charge a fee, but unfortunately we don't live in those times anymore. However, while I average about $300 per performance, I am still able to say that I don't charge a SPECIFIC fee. Everything is negotiable, and although I do request expenses at a minimum, even that can be negotiable depending on circumstances. In other words, just ask...chances are I'll be more than able to work within your budget.