Category Archives: Company News

Kate Holden’s trip down memory lane…

We’re taking a trip down memory lane with each of the extraordinary artists from Phase Space. Catch up by scrolling down to the beginning with Sahara Morimoto, Sean Ling, and Sarah Fregeau.

Kate Holden

Which dance production/performance will you always remember?

Oh there are so many, and for different reasons. There are some that just get into your bones for whatever reason. Some dances the music could come on and I would remember almost every step.  There’s a work that the magnificent Kate Alton made for Kate Franklin and myself that stands out in particular, called Double Life. It was the first piece that Franklin and I had ever commissioned and was the beginning of a period of rapid learning, destabilization and actualization for me as an artist. The work itself has a complex interlocking pattern and a relentless beat that stuck with me.

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locus plot (2015). Photo by Makoto Hirata

Who is your dream duet with?

I set out to dance my dream duet a couple of years ago with Marc Boivin and it resulted in the commission of WOULD by Mélanie Demers, which premiered in 2013 in Toronto. We are still performing the work. It’s still dreamy.

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locus plot (2015). Sahara Morimoto, Sarah Fregeau, Sean Ling, Kate Holden, Ric Brown. Photo by Makoto Hirata

Which choreographer, from any era would you like to work with?

I would love to work with Crystal Pite. I know so many dancers today would also say that – and perhaps it’s an easy answer to choose a current choreographer. But I would love to get inside of her creative process.

Do you remember the first time you discovered Peggy Baker?

When I was in high school I was performing in a work of Gabby Kamino’s at fFIDA and we were on the same program as Peggy.  It could have been In a Landscape that Peggy was performing but I’m not positive as I can’t find a programme – but I do recall standing in the wings, mesmerized by her movements.

Do you have a signature dance move?

I feel like someone else could call me out on my current habits better than I can- but I do always seem to end up on the floor.

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land | body | breath at the AGO (2014). Photo by Makoto Hirata

What’s your earliest dance related memory?

My first performance memory would be spinning in circles with streamers tied to my wrists – I think I was a planet…..

For Peggy Baker Dance Projects:

Kate’s repertoire with Peggy Baker Dance Projects includes Brahms Waltzes, coalesce, Night Garden, land | body | breath, and locus plot. 

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Night Garden rehearsal (2012). Kate Holden, Benjamin Kamino, Sarah Fregeau. Photo by Makoto Hirata

To watch Kate in motion, join us for Phase Space, January 22-30. For tickets and info visit here

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Sarah Fregeau’s trip down memory lane…

We’re taking a trip down memory lane with each of the extraordinary artists from Phase Space. Catch up by scrolling down to the beginning with Sahara Morimoto and Sean Ling.

Sarah Fregeau

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elegant equations – free lunchtime concert series with the COC (2015). Sarah Fregeau and John Kameel Farah. Photo by Dragonfly Imagery

What dance production/performance will you always remember?

Dancing in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Iphigenie en Tauride in 2011. The set was incredibly dramatic – it was a black box with a steeply raked stage, and the show opened with water running down the walls, the dancers frantically scrawling the names of characters on the walls in white chalk, then turning to run full speed towards the edge of the stage… I loved the raw emotion and high drama of it.

Which choreographer, from any era would you like to work with?

I’ve only seen two short works of his, but Idan Sharabi. I loved both of those pieces, the way every molecule seemed to be involved in the movement.. I saw a million joints where I know there are none. It gives the impression that many points all over the dancers’ body have minds of their own, and work in harmony or discordance, agreeing with or opposing each others’ objectives. I love the complexity that.

Do you remember the first time you discovered Peggy Baker?

The first memory I have of encountering Peggy’s work was seeing her perform Non coupable by Paul-André Fortier at the Betty Oliphant. It was so deeply personal and intimate, and I connected very strongly with how the movement seemed entirely motivated by an inner experience. That piece has stayed with me.

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Spilt Screen Stereophonic (2013). Sarah Fregeau and Benjamin Kamino. Photo: John Lauener

What song are you itching do dance to?

Ohhh some sexy oldies song would be fun! I’d love to do a fun, sorta playful something to a really groovy pop song.

Do you have a signature dance move?

Yes. Signature motown dance night move: It is something like a slow hip swing with wrists tossing down repeatedly. Can also be done to the twist. Very specific.

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Photo by Sean Howard (2013)

What’s your earliest dance related memory?

The first dance studio I went to was a Cecchetti ballet school inside an old one room school house outside of Owen Sound, where I grew up. We lived in a farm house 15 minutes outside of town in the other direction, so it was about a 30 minute drive to class. I remember sitting on our kitchen table before class, eating a scottish bap (a type of bun) with butter and cheese before getting in the car to make the drive there. I think that was a regular thing.

I remember the feeling of doing a temps levé for the first time.. I loved how it felt.

For Peggy Baker Dance Projects:

Sarah joined Peggy Baker Dance Projects in 2012 and has performed in Split Screen Stereophonic (Dora Mavor Moore nomination for outstanding performance by an ensemble), locus plot, land | body | breath at the AGO, and Aleatoria, Night Garden, and The Perfect Word for Nuit Blanche.

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The Perfect Word (2014). Photo by Makoto Hirata

To watch Sarah in motion, join us for Phase Space, January 22-30. For tickets and info visit here

Rosedale students assist Peggy with FluxDelux

Our next instillation of FluxDelux is coming up at Nuit Blanche Toronto, October 3-4. FluxDelux was developed with the help of the grade 12 class at Rosedale School of the Arts. Here we chat with Jade Giacomello about her experience working with Peggy and on FluxDelux.

What was your first rehearsal for FluxDelux with Peggy like? What did you do?
In our first rehearsal we got an introduction to the FluxDelux concept, then experimented and played with movements to help us brainstorm descriptive words for the app scores we were going to make.  Some were very simple words/instructions that everyone/anyone can follow. For example we came up with instructions like: Jump– so you would jump when you wanted; Stay Low– so you can bend, crawl, squat etc; Melt– slowly sink to the ground, be very loose like you have no bones; and Clap– so you can clap whenever and however you want. As some of these movements happen, there are other participants that would be following another score with different instructions, so you see more than one action happening.

Rosedale Students at FluxDelux PANAMANIA, August 2015.

Rosedale students at FluxDelux PANAMANIA, August 2015.

What kind of feedback or input were you able to contribute during rehearsals?
We contributed by identifying the interesting patterns we noticed, new ways of describing actions, what we enjoyed about participating, and different “pedestrian” ways we liked to move.

What do you mean by “interesting patterns”?
We would notice someone running around while others were walking. It was interesting because there was a balance and it also gave a a slow motion effect. Other times there were people jumping and some standing still or touching the ground. What was the most interesting to see was when they followed each other. Some would lead and do their own moves for people to follow. Then some would stop following and be on their own. Then eventually they would lead others with multiple other leaders and followers and the few by themselves. Along with the basic Flux instructions: walk on a curving path; walk at various tempos; stop when you want; and follow someone, it created a lot of contrast, levels, and patterns. When the time came to give input on what we noticed we wanted to keep – that effect of having multiple movements happening to balance out the other really kept it exciting.

FluxDelux at PANAMANIA participants form a line, August 2015.

FluxDelux at PANAMANIA participants form a line, August 2015.

What’s your favourite part about FluxDelux?
My favourite part about FluxDelux were the patterns, simple instructions that had amazing results, and that anyone can participate.

Rosedale student copies the action of a younger FluxDelux participant at PANAMANIA, August 2015.

Rosedale student copies the action of a younger FluxDelux participant at PANAMANIA, August 2015.

What do you hope the general public who take part in FluxDelux will take from participating?
I hope they will see a new perspective of what art and dance can be, and also have fun from the performer and audience role.

Who should come out to Nuit Blanche Toronto?
Anyone and everyone!

How would you describe FluxDelux?
A new way to find creativity within yourself.

Rosedale grade 12 class along with a few of our company dancers and FluxDelux production team at PANAMANIA, August 2015.

Rosedale grade 12 class along with a few of our company dancers and FluxDelux production team at PANAMANIA, August 2015.

move in Kingston

In August, Peggy spent a week in Kingston at the Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning, working with 16 local performers on move – a dance installation that distills and illuminates fundamental dualities of caregiving and also of dance practice.

Cast: Fenella Baptista, Betsy Collin, Sam Crosby, Meredith Dault, Mary Farrar, Tracey Guptill, Jane Kirby, Julia Krolik, Sue Livesey, Asia Matthews, Jennifer Rees, Mark Reinhart, Kim Renders, Greg Tilson, Tammy Wang.

Following their final performance of move, we asked a few of the participants some questions about their experience.

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Kingston cast of move. Photo by Paul Webster.

What motivated you to participate in this project?
Mark Reinhart: Getting the opportunity to work with Peggy.  Her reputation precedes her, and I wanted to take advantage of a chance to work with her.  Also, after researching the project and its intentions, I wanted to suture myself to the community that was to be created, and experience the meditative activity of being cared for, and caring for others.

What was the rehearsal process like for move?
Mary Farrar: The rehearsal process was incredible.  I loved the warm-ups and the moves that were completely new for me – the crescent roll for example. Muscles I had never really used before were awakened.  At first, I couldn’t sleep at night because my body was so excited by the experience.  Working with a partner also opened a new world for me.  Peggy is so conscious of each dancer’s strengths, weaknesses and style and she pairs people expertly.  The slow gentle style of movement that she revels in is one that I found personally exhilarating. Also the theme of caring and being cared for is deeply moving.  The emphasis on different spatial orientations was a bit scary as I have difficulties finding my way on the street.  I truly needed the guidance of my partner to help me know which directions to move – especially as the dance itself is re-performed facing all four directions.  Meredith was a perfect partner for me.  Watching each dancer develop and integrate with their partners over the course of the week was deeply meaningful.

What was the rehearsal process like for move?
Sam Crosby: It was JUST the right amount of time to hone our skills as a collaborative “vehicle”

Photo by Paul Webster

Asia Matthews & Sue Livesey. Photo by Paul Webster.

 

How do you think this experience changed your outlook on dance? Or has it?
Mary Farrar: I have come to appreciate the essence of Contemporary Dance and also the contemporary performance focus on personal growth and expression.

Were there any unexpected outcomes as a result of your participation in move?  
Mary Farrar: Actually, as a result of concentrating so much on sharing space lovingly with others, I am driving my car differently!  I now see driving as a form of dance where cars share space and accommodate one another.  Perhaps experiences like this could help those who suffer from Road Rage? HaHa.

Photo by Paul Webster

Jane Kirby & Sam Crosby. Photo by Paul Webster.

What’s your favourite moment from move, and can you describe it? Mark Reinhart: My dance partner in this piece came to the work with a loaded suitcase.  He almost did not participate.  Knowing this, I encouraged him to stay, and after we were paired, I realised that perhaps it was my role in this piece to look out for him, in many ways.  The moment before the performance, he expressed his appreciation for the space we created together, particularly in terms of his personal trajectory to the work.  Then, he asked me to tell him something vulnerable about myself, something that not many people know, so that he could have further insight as to how he could care for me.

Describe your overall experience working on move and with Peggy.
Sam Crosby: Inspiring, spiritually moving, body-intensive, full of “a-ha moments”
Mary Farrar: Peggy is amazing.  She gets each dancer to awaken the shared theme within themselves in a unique and personal way.

Kingston cast of move. Photo by Paul Webster.

Kingston cast of move. Photo by Paul Webster.

2015 was the first year of a three year residency in Kingston. Peggy will return to the Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning in 2016.

More photos from move by Paul Webster can be found here.

Peggy Baker honoured with the George Luscombe Award for Mentorship

We are thrilled to announce Peggy has been awarded the George Luscombe Award for Mentorship. The award was presented at TAPA’s Dora Award Press Conference on Monday, June 1 at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts. The award was accepted by Peggy’s dear friend and nominator, Nova Bhattacharya as Peggy was unable to attend.

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Here is Peggy’s acceptance speech:

Greetings to all of you performance world folk who are up and out and gathered in a theatre lobby first thing Monday morning. I am so sorry not to be with you – truly, as I am currently waiting in pre-op for a knee surgery – but I will share a few words through the grace of my friend and colleague.

The dance milieu is a highly complex and unstable world. Within it, each artist must establish and constantly expand and deepen their expertise in a multitude of roles. In class, in rehearsal, in performance; under the gaze of teachers, directors, critics and the public; in meetings with administrators, managers, board members, presenters and grant officers dancers do battle with their vulnerabilities and fears in order to pursue their physical and creative practice, and to accomplish and share their art. At almost any point in the arc of a career, any one of us of could flounder, become overwhelmed, lose our bearings or our confidence, or realize we lack the tools for growth. If we are persistent enough, or desperate enough, we will turn to someone for a crucial exchange that lasts a few hours, a few weeks or months, or is sustained over many years. I am forever grateful to Patricia Beatty, Lar Lubovitch, Doug Varone, James Kudelka, Irene Dowd, and Christine Wright for their extraordinary mentorship, and for the immeasurable impact each of them has had on my work. Their generosity and honesty set the standard for my own interactions with those who have likewise sought me out. I am deeply moved by the courage of each artist who has entrusted me with entry into the highly personal sphere of their creative life. I thank each of them for the significance of our exchange. I know that by addressing our deepest concerns together we have strengthened our community and contributed to the vitality of our art form. I am honoured to accept the George Luscombe Award for mentorship in recognition of the value of our work together. Kudos to TAPA for establishing and sustaining this important award.

Thank you.

Peggy Baker

Meredith Potter celebrated for leadership in arts administration!

mpheadshot2010We are THRILLED to announce that our incredible manager, Meredith Potter, is the 2014 recipient of the Leonard McHardy and John Harvey Award for Outstanding Leadership in Arts Administration.

Meredith has been a vital force for PBDP since 1999, and is an astounding administrator, mentor, and volunteer. In Peggy’s words, “I consider Meredith to be a primary collaborator. We dream, brainstorm, plan, organize, and work together on every facet of the company’s activity as true professional partners. Meredith’s commitment, imagination, and expertise has been crucial to the success of Peggy Baker Dance Projects.

THANK YOU, Meredith, for everything you do – and congratulations!

You can read the full press release about our fabulous manager at tapa.ca.

On the Road Again!

Peggy Baker Dance Projects will be all over Canada this year! Sahara is currently travelling with the company for the Audio Action Tour of coalesce and armour in British Columbia. What’s it like to be on the road? Sahara gives us the run-down of what her days are like…

coalesce is the first choreography I got to go on tour with, so it’s always special to come back to this piece and to have opportunities to dance the work in different cities such as New York, Calgary, and now in Vancouver. Each city brings different vibes to the dance and it’s been really nice to experience that.

Days in rainy Vancouver flew by. Most of my daily routines included taking Peggy’s technique class, stretching, and going back to our hotel for a nap (taking a 10am morning class after performing the night before became very early!), have an early dinner, go to theatre and warm up, make up, hair, little more dancing, and then perform! Sean and Andrea had rehearsals during afternoons towards our Toronto season, so we all had different schedules. But we always connect before the show to go over a few sections of the dance together, and to also reconnect with ourselves and to the piece.

Dance studio at the Firehall Arts Centre in Vancouver where Peggy teaches her morning classes.

Dance studio at the Firehall Arts Centre in Vancouver where Peggy teaches her morning classes. Photo: Sahara Morimoto

Sean Ling warming up on the stage at the Firehall Arts Centre.

Sean Ling warming up on the stage at the Firehall Arts Centre. Photo: Sahara Morimoto

We’re now in Nanaimo, and have many outreach programs to teach. I’m looking forward to connecting with the community and to performing here!

Catch Sahara, Andrea, and Sean when they return to Toronto performing in he:she from March 28 – April 6 at the Betty Oliphant Theatre. Click here to buy your tickets today!