Editor’s Note: Step into the shoes of dancers from across the country who dare to imagine what it would look like if their city could dance with KQED’s If Cities Could Dance. Watch a new episode from season two of the video series every Tuesday through May 14, 2019.
In hoop dance lore, every time dancers pass through their hoops, they get younger and younger. “So you've got to be careful,” Lumhe “Micco” Sampson jokes. “When you do that too much you'll end up back in first grade and with really tiny limbs.”
Micco and his older brother Samsoche (Seneca and Muscogee Creek), who perform together as the Sampson Brothers are well known on powwow grounds and beyond for their impressive hoop dance routines. They've performed at dance and music festivals in more than half a dozen countries, and made appearances at hundreds of schools and universities.
“To have an opportunity to exercise it, to me, is an act of sovereignty, of resistance,” says Micco. “I’m still here. I’m still dancing.”
It takes years of practice to master hoop dance, and the intricate footwork and high-level coordination necessary to manipulate sometimes as many as 42 hoops at a time. Hoop dancers interlock the rings to mimic majestic animals, small insects or celestial orbs.