Alex Wells is confident that his stolen regalia will turn up.
Wells, a professional hoop dancer for 30 years was headed to the 30th annual Heard Museum World Championship Hoop Dance Contest in Phoenix, AZ, when his traditional outfit was stolen from his truck in southwest Calgary.
“It’s something that belongs to me, and I feel that it will come back to me. There’s just a significant feeling that – I made this outfit from scratch and took me years to get it together and to fit right and to feel good in it,” Wells said.
“I can tell the story about the designs on there and everything.”
Wells approached his truck in the 500 block of 57 Avenue SW after having dinner with friends Monday night.
He said he noticed the truck’s tailgate was open and the passenger door window was shattered.
“That was my first thought, I knew my outfit was in there, except it was empty,” Wells said.
His 17-year-old daughter, Amber, also had her hoop dancing regalia stolen. Wells added that his youngest daughter’s outfit was brand new and made by her mother.
Wells said the incident left him “pretty shocked.”
“Those are our traditional belongings and stuff we usually take care of and never leave it alone,” Wells said.
Wells, who previously lived in Calgary for 20 years, but now resides in Mount Currie, B.C., said the gear is usually packed up. He didn’t expect it to be swiped while visiting his friends.
Hoop dancing a storytelling dance, Wells said
First Nations hoop dancing was formerly a ceremonial dance but is now considered a storytelling dance. The performer uses the hoops to make representations of their culture, such as pets and plants, according to Wells.
He added that the regalia is traditionally handmade and has designs that show what territory they come from. The performer will also have designs that have been passed down from generation to generation affixed to it.
“It takes up to a year to get the basics down, and over 10 years of adding and taking away,” Wells said.
After the incident, Wells took to Facebook.
The post has been shared more than 3,000 times. He said people are visiting pawn shops and even dumpster diving for the missing attire.
Wells has also received donations of regalia pieces so he can have an outfit world championship event this weekend.
Wells said was contemplating not accepting his invitation to the contest after the theft, but after talking to the friends he’s made there and receiving the donations, he changed his mind.
Calgary police couldn’t confirm the report of stolen goods as a report hadn’t yet been filed.