News from MIAC/Lab

Native youth of all ages will come together for the Nakotah LaRance Memorial Youth Hoop Dance Competition August 6 and 7, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, Santa Fe.

JULY 19, 2022

Santa Fe, NM – The Lightning Boy Foundation, a non-profit organization founded to honor the life of Valentino ‘Tzigiwhaeno’ Rivera and the legacy of his mentor Nakotah LaRance, will hold the Nakotah LaRance Memorial Youth Hoop Dance Competition August 6 and 7, 2022 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Museum of Indian Arts & Culture in Santa Fe. 

“We gather for this event to celebrate the life and legacy of Nakotah LaRance and to carry on the wish of his first student, Valentino Tzigiwhaeno Rivera, that all Native youth learn this dance as part of their cultural heritage,” says Steve LaRance, co-founder of the Lightning Boy Foundation. “Join us on the grounds of The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture for this special event to celebrate the passion of Nakotah and the mission of the Lightning Boy Foundation to nurture and empower our youth through cultural programming.”  

The weekend will feature demonstrations and a panel discussion with Native community elders discussing the history, background, and cultural interpretations of the Native American Hoop Dance, culminating in two days of youth dance competition events. 

For more information, visit 

About the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture 

The Museum of Indian Arts & Culture is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, under the leadership of the Board of Regents for the Museum of New Mexico. Programs and exhibits are generously supported by the Museum of New Mexico Foundation and our donors. The mission of the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture/Laboratory of Anthropology is to serve as a center of stewardship, knowledge, and understanding of the artistic, cultural, and intellectual achievements of the diverse peoples of the Native Southwest.   

About Lightening Boy Foundation 

The Lightning Boy Foundation was established in 2017 in honor of Valentino ‘Tzigiwhaeno’ Rivera, who at age four, watched Nakotah LaRance perform the traditional Native American hoop dance routine and fell in love with the art form, spending the rest of his life participating in traditional Pueblo dances, traditional hoop dancing, hip hop and breakdancing. Valentino passed away at age eight, following a serious auto accident and 14 subsequent surgeries, and four years later his master instructor Nakotah LaRance also passed in an accident.  His family and the Foundation organized the Memorial Hoop Dance Competition as a way of honoring Nakotah’s legacy.