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Waiting for Dancer

Waiting for Dancer

Price: $75.00

In 2008, photographer Andrew Bazeley traveled from San Diego, California, to Churchill, Manitoba, to document polar bears as they gathered for their yearly trek towards the winder ice on Hudson Bay. Seeking to photograph candid moments and see the region beyond the confines of a tour group, Bazeley was introduced to legendary polar bear guide Dennis Compayre, known to locals as "Dennis the Bear Man". A friendship was born.

Waiting for Dancer is an ode to the Canadian wild in both words and images --- a photographic collection of expeditions into the subarctic caught behind Bazeley's lens. The photographs vividly enhance Compayre's memoirs of a life lived in Churchill, from the bears that plagued his childhood nightmares to those that would later open his eyes and his heart and define his career. 

Offering two distinct points of view on life in the "Polar Bear Capital of the World," Waiting for Dancer interweaves stories about life in Churchill with photographs celebrating the life in Churchill, capturing the spirit of this last frontier and the majestic mammals that have put it on the map.

 

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Twelve years ago, I read an article on global warming. Among other things the article stated that polar bears were going extinct… and quickly. Deciding that I should see them first, I booked a trip to Churchill, Manitoba. A week on the tundra in a tundra buggy hotel, which is six tundra buggies all strung together with sleeping cars and a dining car and a lounge car. It sounds incredible...but it wasn't . So, at the end of the week when we came off the tundra, I headed to a nearby bar in search of a local who could help me get closer to the bears. And that is how I met Dennis Compayre, a local who had grown up among polar bears and who was affectionately referred to around Churchill as "Dennis the bear man".

Well Dennis and I hit if off right from the start, and the following year on our first trip out on the tundra we had a great time and I got some great shots. So great in fact, that I started thinking that maybe if I were to come back for a couple more years I would get enough good stuff to publish a book about bears. In discussing this with Dennis, I learned that he had a lot of short stories that he had written over the years about his life growing up in Churchill with the ever present specter of the bear limiting outside activities and invading his dreams. And about his later life as the first tundra buggy driver actually meeting a yearling bear cub, naming him Dancer, and continuing a friendship with Dancer for the next 15 years.

For me, hearing this was too good to be true. Not only did we have some really good polar bear photographs to put into a book, but we had some truly epic stories to round it out. And so began what came to be an eight year odyssey. Each year at bear season, Dennis and me going out onto the tundra searching for the perfect shot. And the culmination of all this effort was our publishing our book, "Waiting for Dancer".

I know that you will enjoy "Waiting for Dancer" and that it will earn its rightful place on your coffee table.

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