Dance as Ritual

Rachel, Anela, and I (Haley) decided to focus our project around dance.  Dance has been an important factor in all of our lives and so we wanted to explore that connection to Native American Ritual.  We wanted to raise the questions of how different forms of dance were connected, the importance of dance as ritual, and whether or not dance had to have ties to religion for it to be ritual.

For my section of the final project, I decided to research Native American hoop dance and include modern elements of hula hooping.  I’ve seen many hoop dance performances and have always been amazed at the beauty and connections to storytelling.  I also personally use hula hooping as a meditation and personal dance practice.  I looked up the history of hoop dance and explored the different elements of what it consists of.  I explored what the meaning and importance of the hoop is in Native American culture.  I was struck by the concepts of unity and connectivity and wanted to share that with the class by incorporating organic hula hooping moves throughout the speaking part of my presentation.  As Lakota hoop dancer and storyteller Kevin Locke said, “hoops symbolize the great hoop of life, where the sky meets the earth, and all of the hoops that exist within that sphere”

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