Fifth graders experience Native American hoop dancing

November 14, 2017
Students learn hoop dancing

Elementary students across the district experienced Native American hoop dancing as part of a Big Impact Arts Grant from The Partnership Plan for Stillwater Area Public Schools.

Dallas Chief Eagle and his daughter, Starr Chief Eagle, are members of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota and world champions in Native American hoop dancing competitions. The two led workshops with fifth graders in each school. At the end of the residency, the fifth graders performed a hoop dancing routine for the entire school, followed by performances by Dallas or Starr.

The Hoop Dance is an age-old Native American ritual and performance. Each dance is as individualistic as the person who choreographs it. In an elaborate sequence of moves, the hoops are made to interlock and can be made to look like tails or wings. As taught by Dallas and Starr, the movements of the performances reflect important values including respect, creativity, determination, and self- balance.

See a video of Dallas Chief Eagle performing to a traditional Lakotan song, another one of Starr Chief Eagle performing, and the Afton-Lakeland 5th graders performing to a more modern song.

The Partnership Plan is the educational fund for Stillwater Area Public Schools. It provides the educational extras that are beyond the means of the district to provide. It also sponsors Da Vinci Fest, a science and art educational event on Jan. 6. For more information, visit