PLATTEVILLE, Wis. – The Super Bowl gets a little taste of Wisconsin talent on Sunday, as a University of Wisconsin-Platteville student performs a Native American hoop dance.
Nedallas Hammill is a sophomore in business administration at UW-Platteville. He grew up in New River, Arizona and as a member of the Dine’ (Navajo) Nation and Ho-Chunk Nation began hoop dancing at the age of 4.
He started with five hoops and moved up to 13, but at one point even recorded 28.
It’s an art form that Hammill says has special significance in the indigenous community. The hoop, he said, represents that circle of life, which has no beginning and end.
“The story of the Ho-Chunk tribe is about a warrior’s journey,” Hammill explained in a press release. “A warrior went out because he felt lost. During his journey he discovered many things of beauty and nature; the flying eagle, the butterfly coming out of the cocoon, the flower, sun, moon and stars. When he came back to the village, he wanted to tell his people what he saw, but he couldn’t put it into words and instead he made hoops to tell his story.”
But Hammill is not the only one in his circle who does hoop dancing. He said it’s a family affair.
Hammill’s father owns Native Spirit Productions. The company specializes in musical, cultural dance performances — and Hammill said he hopes to take over one day.
“I have been hoop dancing all over the United States and outside the country. It has given me the opportunity to meet many different people,” he said in a press release. “It’s cool to share my culture. I enjoy hoop dancing. I want to make it my profession. Sharing the art is not only good for the educational aspect, but it is also something I would like to do for the rest of my life.”
In 2020, Hammill was the teen World Champion Native American Hoop Dancer.
Now he returns home to perform for the millions of football fans watching the Super Bowl on February 12 in Glendale, Arizona.
“I’m excited to go back to Arizona. It’s going to be one of the bigger shows I’ve done. I’m nervous and excited to announce my name,” Hammill said in the release. “I will hoop and my uncle will sing.”
After the Super Bowl, Hammill said he will travel to Phoenix to compete in the World Hoop Dance Contest February 18-19. It will be the first time he will participate after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hammill said that what he likes most about hoop dancing is telling a story.
“When I’m hooping, I like to emphasize my movements. When I do the eagle, I don’t want to just show it off a little bit and then move on to the next formation – when I do the eagle, I want to tell the story of the eagle taking off and flying around – and eventually morph into the next formation’ Hammill said in the press release.
He said he encourages those in the community to attend all Native American performances, such as a pow-wow.