See also: Hoop Dance Origin Story
“There are different versions of how the hoop dance was created. It is centuries old for sure and it is a story telling dance (more on that below). As for its origins, some will say that the Creator gave wooden hoops to a dying man from the Plains, who wanted a gift to leave behind.
Another origin comes from the Anishnaabe culture. A little boy did not have the typical male interests as he preferred to be alone and watch animals. Therefore he was shun by his father and earned the name Pukawiss “the unwanted”. However, the little boy continued to study animals and their movement, such as eagles, bears, or snakes. In no time he was copying their movement, spinning like an eagle in flight for example.
He then went on to create the Hoop dance and taught it to others to teach them about the ways of the animals. Simply put, it was a hit and everyone wanted in!
So what does the Hoop dance represent and what does it involve?
The hoop dance is done with as many hoops as 40 and is performed by a single dancer. Yes you read that right. 40 hoops!! Used by one person! The hoops are used dynamically and in a static manner (like the picture above in which you can see spheres created by the dancer).
The dance typically begins with one hoop though. If you think of a hoop, well it is a circle and we now know that the circle is a very significant shape within the native culture. It represents the sacred cycle of life, the never ending cycle. The Medicine wheel, the four stages of life.
As well as the interconnectedness of us all, the fact that we all are related, part of a circle. The hoops represent all the elements that come together, the elements being connected. Slowly, hoops are added representing different elements, including animals, other humans or the life elements such as water or air or even life events such as marriage. The hoops and movements of the dancer are evocative of animals movements. Indeed, the formations made with hoops can represent wings or a tail for example.”
Continue reading at : Native American Hoop Dancing – Traditional Native Healing