World champion hoop dancer Dallas Arcand chases 4th title
Every year Indigenous dancers come from across Turtle Island and gather at the Heard Museum of the American Indian Art & History in Phoenix, AZ.
In stunning displays of physicality, creativity, rhythm and coordination, men and women compete in the World Championship Hoop Dance contest.
Dallas Arcand is a three-time world championship hoop dancer, he will vie for his fourth title February 11 and 12.
Arcand hails from Alexander First Nation, just north of Edmonton and has been dancing for 25 years.
"They say that the original style of hoop dance was a ceremony. So it was actually a performance like how we see it today," said Arcand.
"It's not like hula-hooping."
The dancers tell a story with their hoops. Each dance can have as few as five hoops or as many as 35.
"The hoop dance is just a storytelling dance, in which we express ourselves and our storytelling beliefs, what we believe in and our connection to the four elements of Mother Earth — the ones that can fly, the ones that can swim, the ones that can crawl and the ones that walk upright."
Arcand takes his hoops and makes a variety of shapes and symbols including florals, eagles, bears, buffalo, butterflies, tipis and stars.
"The biggest thing is making that connection with the drum and becoming harmonious with it, and becoming one with it. And that to me is the art of the hoop dance."