Saturday, April 03, 2021

Artwork: Young Hoop Dancer

 My latest artwork, "Young Hoop Dancer." Polychromos color pencils. Apache Junction, Arizona ©Melissa Enderle

Although I've been a part of my family's Yellow Bird Dance group since I was a toddler, performing in front of audiences with the hoop dance is something I've only done in the last few years. It takes a lot of coordination and practice to get those hoops into the different formations such as a butterfly or eagle while at the same time doing fancy footwork, accented by the jingle of bells attached to my sheepskin leggings. Everything– the formations, facial expression, movement, and the homemade costume– has symbolism. My ancestors created the hoop dance to be part of a healing ceremony, but for the past 30 years, our dance group has used a form of the hoop dance to share a bit of our culture with others. I can't grasp as many hoops as my older brother, papa, or uncle, but I'm feeling much more confident with my form. In a couple of weeks, we'll be heading to the Heard Museum for the annual World Championship of Hoop Dancing. Native American groups from all over the country will be competing. My papa, who has used 40 hoops in one dance, is a five-time world champion. Last year I got 2nd place in my age division. After today's performance, I think I can get first place. Wish me luck!

See more of my artwork on my website, on Flickr, or my Artwork Facebook Page.