Renowned Native American hoop dancer comes to Sweet Briar

Kevin Locke
Kevin Locke, shown in this promotional photo, is a master of the Native American hoop dance. Courtesy of Ixtlan Artists Group.

Kevin Locke, renowned for playing the indigenous Northern Plains flute and his mastery of the Native American hoop dance, will perform at Sweet Briar College on Tuesday, March 1. Lakota singer and fancy dancer Doug Good Feather will join him for an evening of music, dance and storytelling. The performance, presented as part of the Babcock Season, starts at 7:30 p.m. in Murchison Lane Auditorium.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for seniors, $5 for students and free for the SBC community and for children younger than 12. Seating is general. To reserve tickets, please contact the box office at (434) 381-6120 or at boxoffice@sbc.edu. To purchase tickets by credit card, please visit brownpapertickets.com.

Doug Good Feather
Doug Good Feather is a champion fancy dancer. Courtesy of Ixtlan Artists Group.

Locke is Lakota, from the Hunkpapa Band of Lakota Sioux, and Anishinabe. Growing up on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, he learned from his elders the values and traditions of his people. His long career has been devoted to serving as a cultural ambassador for audiences across the U.S. and in more than 80 countries.

The hoop dance traditionally employs 28 hoops, usually wooden, that twirl and intertwine to form images representing the changing seasons — flowers, butterflies, the sun and moon, for example. Locke’s program, “The Hoop of Life,” will combine his flute music, Good Feather’s vocals and inspirational storytelling — another craft Locke has mastered. He offers narrative explanations before and after demonstrations of the dance, and often invites audience members to join him onstage to participate.

“What we’re going for is a true B.F.A. experience,” said Sweet Briar dance director and show organizer Mark Magruder, referencing the interdisciplinary nature of the Bachelor of Fine Arts program.

Good Feather also will dance a solo, something Magruder is looking forward to with much anticipation. The fancy dance is the most energetic and colorful of the dances performed at Native American powwows around North America. For years, Magruder has taken his dance history students to Monacan or Chickahominy powwows.

“I love watching Native Americans dance,” he said. “The fancy dance is quite aerobic and athletic — that’s where they get to break out all their best moves.”

For more information, contact Magruder at (434) 381-6150 or mmagruder@sbc.edu.