The Lakota Hoop Dance as Medicine for Social Healing

Benjamin D. KOEN*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The Lakota Hoop Dance is a choreographed prayer that aims to create health and healing at the individual and collective levels of human life through an expression and manifestation of the principle of unity. For instance, at first glance, the dance might be seen as an incredible physical feat. It is also emotionally fulfilling, psychologically centering, spiritually uplifting, and socially unifying, bringing forth joy, happiness, knowledge, peace, understanding, compassion, love, and unity. This article is concerned with the underlying belief and meaning of the Hoop Dance, which is viewed as a healing medicine to remedy the cause of social illnesses. It gives an introduction to the Hoop Dance as a social, medical intervention, not as a comprehensive and concluding statement on the subject. It helps to generate further interest across disciplines in the Hoop Dance and other traditional arts that can serve to benefit people across cultures.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Medical Ethnomusicology
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199940509
ISBN (Print)9780199756261
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sept 2012

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Choreographed prayer
  • Healing medicine
  • Lakota Hoop Dance
  • Medical intervention
  • Social illnesses


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