An Exquisite Bird

Recently, on a rare perfect spring day in Seattle, I visited Washington Park Arboretum.  The camellias, cherry trees, and magnolias were all in peak bloom, so there was a profusion of pink and white blossoms everywhere.  As an intrepid bird photographer, I was hoping that one of the Townsend’s Warblers I spied in the conifers would oblige and pose among these beautiful blooms.  It was not to be.

From a vista above the lower gardens, however, I looked down to Azalea Way and saw a beautiful dancer being photographed among the cherry trees.  I quickly made my way down the hill.

Dressed in sapphire blue with long, thick braids and swirling against a backdrop of pink trees, she looked like something out of a fairy tale.  I couldn’t help myself – I had to photograph her.

I’m not as comfortable photographing people, but I managed to get some nice shots – especially since the sky was hazy and created a natural softbox effect – perfect for people and flowers.

I found out afterwards that she is an Armenian professional dancer with her own studio in Kirkland.  Karina Melikyan is the founder and director of Karin Kirkland School of Dance.  She was being photographed in honor of receiving the gift of a dance from a respected choreographer. 

Karina asked me to send her some of my photos.  I told her I’m really just a bird photographer, but that she is “an exquisite bird.”

It is Easter, and there is an interesting connection.  I learned that Armenia was the first country to officially recognize Christianity back in 301 AD.  Karina was raised by a Muslim mother in Christian Armenia, so she said in an email that it “made her grow tolerant and respectful of other religions and cultures.”  She has taught Armenian dance in Syria, and she danced Russian-style ballet professionally back in Armenia.

There is so much beauty in the world.  One never knows when they will happen upon it.

Armenian dancer Karina Melikyan in Seattle's Washington Park Arboretum.

Armenian dancer Karina Melikyan in Seattle's Washington Park Arboretum.