Lakota hoop dancer Kevin Locke.

Lakota hoop dancer Kevin Locke.

By Shirley Honyust/ Yenatli:yo

LONDON– Captivating audiences in 80 countries around the world for the past 30 years, Kevin Locke gave several impressive presentations with his hoop dancing and flute music over a span of four days while he was visiting London.

Locke is a Hoop Dancer whose Lakota spirit name is Thokaheya Inazig (translated as “the first one to stand up”) and is a Lakota man from Standing Rock Reservation, South Dakota.  Fluent in both English and his  native language, he wears many hats as he jet sets around the country  and the world.

He entertains each audience with his wide array of talents including music, dancing, storytelling and teachings. He spoke about the motivation and inspiration he received from his family and the many traditional teachers he met along the way. One specific teaching he passed on was that elders always say it is important to acknowledge the landowners in the territory you are visiting and to show respect and consideration for your host. Some of the other teachings he passes on are in regard to the hoops he uses and the significance of the four colours: red, white, black, and yellow as well as the four seasons, four directions, and four elements.

Locke’s performances include an interactive workshop session for the spectators to participate with him, to learn a smattering of sign language, a few words in Lakota, and some basic but impressive moves in hoop dancing.

These events were offered free of charge thanks to the generosity of Mr. Khajavi and one anonymous philanthropist who brought Kevin to London especially for World Religion Day, Jan. 16. Word spread quickly and Locke’s datebook filled rapidly with several other venues including the Grand Bend Legion in Grand Bend, N`Amerind Friendship Centre in London, Antler River Elementary School at Chippewa of the Thames, The Education Centre in London, Aeolian Hall in London, and the Mustang Lounge at Western University.

Locke is a gifted and generous dancer/ musician/ storyteller whose performances and workshops take him to cities and countries far away in places such as Georgia, Sweden, Switzerland, China and Indonesia. His advice to other young people now learning to hoop dance is “Just go for it!”.