6 weeks with Peggy Baker

We’re fortunate to welcome a new dancer to the company this year: Mateo Galindo Torres will join the company for the premiere of Peggy’s latest – stone leaf shell skin – in March, and will perform coalesce in British Columbia in January. A busy first year! Here’s Mateo on what his first few weeks with Peggy have been like: 

Working with Peggy Baker Dance Projects is for sure one of the best things that could ever happen for my career. Peggy is not only an incredible choreographer, performer, and admirable dance artist in general, but one of the most welcoming and generous people I’ve ever met.

Mateo rehearsing stone leaf shell skin. Photo: Makoto Hirata.

Mateo rehearsing stone leaf shell skin. Photo: Makoto Hirata.

I remember my first day: nervous to death, I arrived to rehearsal about 40 min early. I needed to make sure I was warm and ready to do anything that was asked of me. 10 min before rehearsal started, I was still by myself in the studio.

Did I read the schedule wrong? Was I in the wrong place? I rapidly went to my phone and checked my email.

All good. 5 min before rehearsal started, Ric Brown arrived, and shortly after Sean Ling appeared. “They must be warm already,” I thought to myself. Right on time, Peggy arrived. She welcomed us and calmly told us to warm up and do anything we needed to do to be ready for rehearsal…I figured 40 min is probably way too much.

Mateo with dancers Ric Brown and Sean Ling, and Peggy Baker. Photo: Makoto Hirata.

Mateo with dancers Sean Ling and Ric Brown, and Peggy Baker. Photo: Makoto Hirata.

While I knew Peggy from my time at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, I’d never had a rehearsal with her before that day. It was very surprising seeing how open she is to all of the dancers’ needs and thoughts. It was like arriving to heaven on earth.

Don’t get me wrong: we worked hard, really hard. Once rehearsal actually started, I don’t think we stopped moving at all until our break. I can say I’ve done about 10 different variations on the same sequence in about an hour of rehearsal in order to find the right idea that portrays whatever is in Peggy’s mind. It is very challenging work, but it is made easier knowing I can rely on my fellow dancers. As with Peggy, they are super open, welcoming, and supportive. It is like a river of good energy flows around the whole troupe.

Working with Peggy is a dream job, and I consider myself very lucky to have landed in such an amazing place. I cannot be more grateful for the opportunity.

Sean, Ric, and Mateo in rehearsal. Photo: Makoto Hirata.

Sean, Ric, and Mateo in rehearsal. Photo: Makoto Hirata.

stone leaf shell skin premieres March 2014. Tickets will be on sale later this year. Stay tuned!

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2 responses to “6 weeks with Peggy Baker

  1. I had the incredible opportunity to take Peggy Baker’s workshop at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre this past weekend – what an inspiring artist. It was lovely watching her perform and learning from her. Great to hear you are having this opportunity Mateo 🙂

  2. Reblogged this on Fashion. Fit. Food. and commented:
    My cousin Mateo Galindo Torres. He and his sister Juana Maria Galindo Torres followed their dream of becoming professional dancers and their passion has taken them to great places. Make life your passion by doing what you love 🙂

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