“Dances have always been significant in the lives of Native Americans as both a common amusement and a solemn duty. Many dances played a vital role in religious rituals and other ceremonies; while others were held to guarantee the success of hunts, harvests, giving thanks, and other celebrations.” (“Native American Dances – Legends of America”)
There are many different dances and dance figures that have a variety of symbolic meanings. Depending on the dance’s purpose, for example, guaranteeing a successful hunt, the figures, costumes, dance moves, and music differ profoundly.
One of the most popular forms of Indigenous dancing on social media is hoop dancing. Hoop dancing is a form of storytelling through dance. An Indigenous hoop dancer uses hoops to create shapes as they move to the music. The hoops represent animals, symbols, and designs.
While the dancing aspect is essential, the hoop itself is way more significant than initially perceived. Traditionally, the hoop symbolizes the never-ending circle of life. It has no end or beginning and reminds one that we, as nations, are all connected.
The hoop or circle is the most pervasive and ubiquitous world archetype. For all people, the shape represents peace, wholeness, harmony, beauty, sacredness, divinity, continuity, infinity, and well-being. The hoop or circle is God’s mark on every aspect of creation, even down to the smallest atom, proton, and neutron. In its essence, the hoop dance is a choreographed prayer – a prayer that we may all be restored to our place in the hoop of life, in God’s creation.”Kevin Locke, a nationally recognized Lakota hoop dancer, on the meaning of hoops