World-Class Hoop Dancer Nakotah LaRance Dies

Jul 15, 2020

Nakotah LaRance, a champion hoop dancer who traveled the world performing with Cirque du Soleil, has died at age 30.

In this Aug. 10, 2018, photo provided by Anderson Gould Jr. hoop dancer Nakotah LaRance performs at the "Hip Hop/Electronic: Indigenous Music & Dance of the Grand Performances" in Los Angeles. LaRance, a champion hoop dancer who traveled the world performing with Cirque du Soleil, died Sunday, July 12, 2020, after he fell while climbing on an old bridge in Rio Arriba County in New Mexico. He was 30.
Credit Anderson Gould Jr. via AP

LaRance was Tewa, Hopi, Navajo and Assiniboine. His father, Steve LaRance, says he died Sunday after falling from a bridge in New Mexico's Rio Arriba County. Native American hoop dancing involves doing intricate footwork while twirling and throwing hoops in the air and manipulating them into shapes such as wings or spheres. LaRance began competing in the Heard Museum’s annual World Championship Hoop Dance Contest in Phoenix as a youth and earned the title of World Champion there three times. He traveled the world performing with Cirque du Soleil for more than three years and then returned to northern New Mexico, where he created a youth hoop dance group.