Alpacas in Alberta

I quivered slightly as I dipped forward before gaining my balance again. The sun warmed my back and brightened the stark wooden enclosure. Cloud shadows flitted across the dust, deepening the grooves and highlighting the ridges of the uneven ground. Twenty hairy faces gawked back at me. There was an uncertain energy to the group. Standing with my face angled over the fence wasn’t easy but I really wanted that kiss.

But the alpaca wouldn’t have it.

Must have been my personality. Yep, you read right. I was hoping for a kiss from an alpaca. Because I mean, how could anyone resist this face?

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Tiny Tot Powwow: Women

My camera bag lay beside my feet with its cover loosely closed. Though entranced by the display of vibrancy and energy before me I was still conscious enough of my immediate surroundings to tuck me bag under my legs as an elder woman was helped to her seat beside me. I was at ground floor and had witnessed a number of people troubled by the first giant step of the bleachers. Women had to lift their dresses and children had to practically climb up. It was no surprise that this elder woman had decided to sit at the bottom. As she settled in I was struck by the contrast of her quiet character with the boisterous strength of voices and drums ringing through the gym. The sight of her stillness compared to the flashing, twirling, ducking and leaping fabric and feathers on the dance circle. I felt a sense of calm within her small frame beside me. Continue reading “Tiny Tot Powwow: Women”

Soran Bushi: A Japanese Tradition

“Hi!” The commanding opening to the Japanese sea shanty, Soran Bushi, would have startled me out of my seat had I not already witnessed it last year. In the unglamorous classroom the powerful dance was out of place. It was a force of nature in a delicate artificial shell. The beginning sequence of hands dipping and rising to imitate waves was such a stark contrast to the surroundings– like an oasis in the desert. Even without their happi, or Japanese festival jackets, the dancers exuded the spirit of the traditional dance. It was great to be allowed to watch the dance grow and come together as the group continued to practice.

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