FYI | Sweating With the Alpacas

What’s up in the dance community

What’s an alpaca’s favorite style of dance? “Hip-hop,” said Ann Patman of 313 Farms in Anola, Manitoba, Canada, which this summer began offering AlpacaZone Dance & Fitness classes. Patman told Dance Studio Life that two of her nine alpacas keep curiously close to the instructor leading the Poppin’ Pacas class: “It’s almost as if there are three people teaching. It’s funny.”

Dance and fitness students and alpacas share the same grassy “studio” at 313 Farms in Canada.
Photo courtesy 313 Farms

Patman, a former dance studio front-desk manager, and her husband, Dave, purchased their farm five years ago. When Patman heard of movement classes with animals, such as goat yoga, she figured her pet alpacas—who she described as “interactive, but not intrusive”—would make great dance classmates.

Students from Winnipeg and elsewhere drive up to an hour to take classes including Barn Barre, Paca Pilates, and Camelid Cardio in the alpaca’s pen, where the fence doubles as a barre and the fresh air keeps everyone frisky. “The alpacas like the little kids the best,” Patman said of the 6-month- to 6-year-old dancers in the Mommy, the Alpacas, & Me class. “They like putting their heads on the little dancers’ heads.”

At each lesson’s end, dancers pet the alpacas or hose them off with a cool spray. The classes proved so popular that Patman extended some through mid-October. “You can be in the cardio boot-camp class, sweating and feeling miserable, and then you look up and see an alpaca staring at you—and you’ll feel better,” she said. “I will absolutely do this again next year. It’s been so wonderful; I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before.”