stone leaf shell skin: at a loss for words…

A post from dancer Mateo Galindo Torres, who danced his first piece for Peggy Baker Dance Projects – stone leaf shell skin – as part of he:she.

After finishing my first run of performances with the company and attempting to answer questions from my friends in the audience, I am left with an interesting realization. I have discovered that it is easier for me to share my impressions about the three wonderful pieces in which I was not involved than attempting to express thoughts on stone leaf shell skin.


Photo: Makoto Hirata

I found that, by watching the other works, I could see their compositional elements fall into place. It is a strange sensation because it feels like the less involvement I have, the more I understand the work. I can describe spatial relationships, imagery, precision, and choices made. I can express my thoughts about the music, lighting design, and set. My own interpretation – or the impression left in my mind after watching – is immediately accessible in words.

Yet I could not find any of this information when I attempted to share my thoughts on stone leaf shell skin. My own experience seemed impossible to express through words…it therefore seemed important for me to make this attempt.

Photo: Makoto Hirata

Photo: Makoto Hirata

When I discussed my experience right after performing, the most accurate description I achieved was by comparing it to a meditative place. Now that the run is over and I have had time to reflect, I think I can more accurately express this experience. While I was on stage I felt both outside my body and very present. I was able to see and feel myself and at the same time reflect upon what I was experiencing. I felt vulnerable, open, naked, but very empowered. The space seemed to become a universe I could explore and I had to avoid becoming lost in its vastness. I could acknowledge myself as part of something bigger than my own understanding; I could do nothing but trust…something that I know to be a personal challenge. Having such a wonderful company on stage meant I could rely on my fellow performers and together we held this world alive for as long as the lights were on. It was magical.

I feel very honoured to have been part of this…what a wonderful experience…

Mateo Galindo Torres


Photo: Makoto Hirata


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