This month, Peggy Baker Dance Projects is embarking on what we in the office affectionately call “The Gordon Lightfoot Tour of Ontario.” Through the Ontario Dances program, Peggy and dancer Larry Hahn set off on the company’s first tour through Northern Ontario to perform and host workshops with members of the community.
Peggy and Larry made their first stop in Sioux Lookout on March 8. Here’s presenter Alyson Martin’s account of their visit in an email to her colleagues:
Good morning everyone! Well, all I can say is you will enjoy every moment Peggy and her partner, Larry Hahn, are in your community. Two of the most engaging people around. Their experiences, over the years with dance, the creative process and just, being with and meeting people, clearly, has allowed them to come into any environment and take it all in – and at the same time, give so much back, to the whomever they are speaking with, teaching, and of course, performing in front of.
We were able to have an “intimate” lunch meeting with a couple of community members who were eager to meet her at a local coffee shop, Roy Lane. We then went to the dance workshop at a local school where people from the community had been invited. We had 21½ people (if you include the 3 month old in the car seat…who was busting moves of their own!!). 16 were youth (ages 5 to 11) and 5 adults (with a few last minute phone calls from parents, asking if their children could attend). One mother came to register her twins, saw other adults in the room and decided to stay.
The performance later on was beautiful. I know that we are all going to have our own experience with each of the pieces, but for me, Peggy is a master at subtle movements in and amongst everything else she does. Between her dance, dialogue, and sheer presence, I felt that the audience was engaged, reflective, challenged and moved.
At the workshop, Peggy had taught the participants a small portion of one of the pieces she was presenting and she let the younger ones know that she would be inviting them to come on stage and perform what they had learned, with her. 6 children joined her, when invited, and 3 of them specifically wore fancy dance skirts for the show. It was magic! They knew what they were supposed to do, and with earnest faces, danced with joy. There was one boy, the brother of the 3 girls with their dance skirts…and he blew everyone away (he was wearing a lumber jacket). He nailed the moves with commitment and precision. Peggy was in front and he was dancing in unison with her.
Afterwards, we had numerous people stay to speak to Peggy and Larry and I think it’s fair to say that people didn’t want to leave!
What an honour it was to be able to present such a strong woman on International Woman’s Day! …….in Sioux Lookout!!
Thanks and I really hope each of you enjoys what is to come.
Peggy Baker Dance Projects will be in Dryden on March 23, Kirkland Lake on March 25, and Deep River on March 27. Let us know if we’ll see you there!