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Neglia Conservatory of Ballet’s “Llama Mask Project”

Neglia Ballet is getting creative with their social distancing strategies for their in-person classes. The directors of Buffalo’s premier ballet company figured that the best way to teach its younger students about the importance of staying 6 feet apart, while dancing, was to properly demonstrate the exact distance. But what would be the best way to do this?

It turns out that a full-grown llama is 6 feet long. But who the heck is going to bring a live llama to class? Therefore, an idea was hatched to create a giant cardboard cutout, to stand in the waiting room, where youngsters could get a better sense of the creature’s 6′ dimensions.

The llama was such a hit, that there was a contest to name the critter. At the end of the contest two names surfaced – Lulu (lead image) and Lorenzo.

All of this llama doting doesn’t end there. Since Neglia Ballet has not been able to collaborate with any of its usual community partners, the organization decided that it was time to team up with Stitch Buffalo. After all, llama wool is also ideal for… you guessed it… making yarn! And Stitch Buffalo empowers refugee women to create and sell textiles. It turned out to be the perfect fit.

In this case, the decision was made to create hand-embroidered llama face masks that would help to tell the story of Lulu and Lorenzo which would help the kids to remember to stay 6 feet apart.

All of these fun-filled, creative social distancing elements have now solidified as The Llama Mask Project, with mask sales benefitting both Neglia Ballet and Stitch Buffalo.

Did you know…

Western NY is home to Llamafest?

You can attend llama birthday parties or take a hike with llamas at Hemstreet Farm in East Aurora?

There is a Llama Lounge Arcade at The Quarter in Allentown?

Llamas are not alpacas, but they are very similar. If you’re more into alpacas, you can visit Thistle Creek Alpaca Farm in Elma.

There is a Niagara Alpaca Shop in Lockport?

You can invest in alpacas at Diamond Alpacas of Clarence?

Yes, Western NY is chock full of all sorts of llama and alpaca goodness. So the next time you don your Neglia/Stitch llama mask and someone asks you, “Why a llama?” you will have plenty to expound upon.

If you’re interested in learning more about the project, or purchasing your very own llama mask, click here.

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

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