Andrea Nann’s walk 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, Sarah Fregeau, Kate Holden, and Ric Brown.

Andrea Nann

Which dance production/performance will you always remember?

Danny Grossman Dance Company at the Vancouver Children’s Festival in Vanier Park.  It was the late 70s or early 80s and my mom was taking me to see a lot of shows.  But all I remember is seeing DGDC’s performance of Higher with Pamela Grundy and Randy Glynn.  The dance literally blew my mind, I had never seen anything like it.  It felt exciting and dangerous, I didn’t even want to blink.  As it turns out there was quite a scandal that followed and I think the company may have been asked to cut the piece from their programme because some parents thought it was explicitly and inappropriately sexy!  I don’t know the details, perhaps I’m spreading fantastic rumours.  I do know that I saw Higher performed again by Danny and Judy Miller at the Premiere Dance Theatre in 1987 and I never looked back.  I joined the company in 1988 and danced with the Grossman clan for 15 years. Higher has been a highlight in my performance career ever since, I have probably danced this work more times than any other piece and every time I do I still don’t want to blink!

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In a Landscape (2013) Andrea Nann. Photo by Makoto Hirata

Who is your dream duet with?

The duet is my favourite compositional form, a configuration for 2 individuals to meet and to transcend their solo realities.  How could I possibly identify one dream partner?!  In Phase Space, Peggy has given me the honour of dancing a duet with Sean Ling, and later in the new year I will dance again with Brendan Wyatt in a Dreamwalker Dance Company show. This past August I danced Higher (yes ALSO a duet) with Eddie Kastrau at Randy Glynn’s Festival of Dance Annapolis Royal.  Quite honestly, I feel that every day I’m profoundly entangled in duets with family members and friends and with colleagues who are willing to meet me equally and with abundance.

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coalesce (2010) Sean Ling, Andrea Nann. Photo: Makoto Hirata

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

I’d love to work with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.  I was introduced to his work by Guy Cools who collaborated with Cherkaoui and Akram Khan during the creation of Zero Degrees, a dance that encapsulates everything that I love about Cherkaoui’s work: emotions producing movement and movement producing emotions, “everything engaging with everything naturally”, where genres and forms and aesthetics seamlessly merge and one is constantly surprised, and where movement is full, virtuosic, unbounded and where stillness has weight and gravitas.  There is a profound humanism at the core of Cherkaoui’s actions.  His work is exhilarating and boundless and it embodies artistic, social and cultural values that are meaningful to me –  borderless-ness, confluence, transcendence.

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COC Free Concert (2013) Andrea Nann. Photo by Chris Hutcheson

Do you remember the first time you discovered Peggy Baker?

I first learned about Peggy Baker when I was a student at York University.  Peggy was living in New York at the time, dancing with Lar Lubovitch.  So I didn’t truly discover Peggy until she was back in Toronto performing a programme of solo works.  During that show time expanded as Peggy filled every moment with piercing intention and sublime presence.  I felt her as she was dancing, as if I could trace her experience inside of every movement.  It was early 90s.

What song are you itching to dance to? 

Life on Mars – David Bowie

Do you have a signature dance move?

Sure.  It likely has something to do with a spinning hairdo…

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Piano/Quartet (2012) Ric Brown, Andrea Nann, Sean Ling. Photo by John Lauener

What’s your earliest dance related memory?

Age 4?  Putting on my rubber boots and ‘mucking around’.

For Peggy Baker Dance Projects:

Andrea’s repertoire with Peggy Baker Dance Projects includes Unfold, moveAleatoriaPiano/QuartetIn a Landscape, and coalesce

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Aleatoria (2010) Andrea Nann. Photo by Omer Yukseker

To watch Andrea in motion, join us for Phase Space, January 22-30. For tickets and info visit here. Use code EARLY20 for $20 tickets for performances between January 22-24. (Offer expires December 24) 

Ric Brown’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, Sarah Fregeau, and Kate Holden.

Ric Brown

Which dance production/performance will you always remember?

When I was in school I saw Holy Body Tattoo perform, Our Brief Eternity at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, and at that moment I wanted to dance for them. I loved the strength and beauty and rawness of the piece. Years later I was very fortunate to perform Monumental for them. Also, appearing as “the walrus” for Piña Bausch and taking a bow with the company is a performance I will always treasure.

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

Who is your dream duet with?

Yvonne Coutts. We worked together at Le Groupe Dance Lab, but never had a duet together. She is an incredible artist. I would love to dance with her.

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elegant equations (2015) Sean Ling and Ric Brown. Photo by Dragonfly Imagery.

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

Martha Graham! When I studied Graham technique in school, I fell in love with the beauty of it.

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stone leaf shell skin (2014). Ric Brown, Mateo Galindo Torres. Cellist: Shauna Rolston. Photo by Makoto Hirata.

Do you remember the first time you discovered Peggy Baker?

I met Peggy when I was in school at Toronto Dance Theatre. She was a guest teacher and so incredibly generous and inspiring. The first time I saw her perform was the duet, In Thine Eyes, with Doug Varone. It was one of the most beautiful performances I have ever seen. I’ll never forget a specific moment when Peggy hit a light cue with the utmost perfection. I was mesmerized.

What song are you itching to dance to? 

I want to dance to a country music song!! Lol. I love country music and would love to do an amazing duet to a song.

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Piano / Quartet (2012) Ric Brown and Sean Ling. Photo by Makoto Hirata.

Do you have a signature dance move?

You need to see MY rendition of Sia’s Chandelier!! Ask Darryl Tracy. THAT is my signature move!

What’s your earliest dance related memory?

In university I was in a musical where I was acting and singing, and at the time, as a non dancer would be choreographed to the back, ” waving my arms “. The dancers were doing all these fantastic tap numbers and having so much fun. I wanted to be part of that! So, when the choreographer opened “Studio 4 Dance”, in the basement of an old abandoned Biway Store, I quickly joined. Soon I was doing kicks and pirouettes to Rhythm is a Dancer! And loving every moment!

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stone leaf shell skin rehearsal (2014). Ric Brown. Photo by Makoto Hirata.

For Peggy Baker Dance Projects:

Ric’s repertoire with Peggy Baker Dance Projects includes moveNight Garden, Piano/Quartet, Split Screen Stereophonic, stone leaf shell skin, land | body | breath and locus plot.

To watch Ric in motion, join us for Phase Space, January 22-30. For tickets and info visit here. Use code EARLY20 for $20 tickets for performances between January 22-24. (Offer expires December 24) 

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

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

Sean Ling’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

Which dance production/performance will you always remember?

When I was with Alberta Ballet, Choreographer Jean Paul Comelin reset his Requiem by Mozart.  We danced for almost the entire 45 min work, with a full chorus at the top of the stage on 10 foot risers and the orchestra in the pit.  It was amazing to be surrounded by this incredible music. The intensity of the musicians as they performed added to the physical and emotional experience of the entire cast and the audience. It was an exhausting piece, with a passion and exertion that felt transformative.

Who is your dream duet with?

Duets, are my thing. I love them and have had the good fortunate to be partnered with many talented and generous artists.  There isn’t anyone missing off my ‘Duet list”.  That said, if Peggy invited me to do a duet with her it would be another performance I would never forget.

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Split Screen Stereophonic (2013). Sahara Morimoto and Sean Ling. Photo by Makoto Hirata

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

Nijinsky

Do you remember the first time you discovered Peggy Baker?

Yes.  I was young and in my ballet phase when a fellow dancer took me to a drop-in class being taught by Danny Grossman, already a very cool and unusual thing in my experience up to that point. There was an incredible dancer standing beside me at the bar.  It was inspiring to be beside her and I tried to emulate the awareness she had in her movements.  Afterward, my friend told me it was Peggy Baker and I stopped short with my mouth hanging open.  If I had known at the time, I would have been far too freaked out and most likely would have tripped myself at the bar rather than actually dancing the class and enjoying the experience of moving. Hum… I guess we have done a duet together, but neither of us knew it.

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locus plot (2015). Ric Brown and Sean Ling. Photo by Makoto Hirata

What song are you itching do dance to?

Life in a Northern Town by Dream Academy.  It’s been remixed a couple of times and I would dance to any of them.

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Photo by Sean Howard (2013)

Do you have a signature dance move?

Undoubtedly, but ask another dancer, like Sahara, what it is.  After all, we’re usually unconscious of what we do most.

What’s your earliest dance related memory?

In Grade 3 I took tap lessons.  For the final show we were toy soldiers, with hats like the guards around Buckingham Palace. I wasn’t a very good tapper, but loved the hat.

For Peggy Baker Dance Projects:

Sean’s repertoire with Peggy Baker Dance Projects includes move, Aleatoria, and Night Garden (all for Nuit Blanche); interior with moving figures and land | body | breath at the AGO; performances of the trio coalesce in Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver, Nanaimo, New York, and Ottawa; Piano/Quartet in Toronto and Ottawa; and the premieres of Split Screen Stereophonic (2013); stone leaf shell skin and Aleatoric Duet No. 2 (2014); and locus plot (2015).

From October 2015 to December 2017, Sean is the Alision Gordon Visiting Artist supported by The Bennett Family Foundation.

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coalesce (2010). Sean Ling and Andrea Nann. Photo by Makoto Hirata

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

Sahara Morimoto’s trip down memory lane…

Playing with time, memory and transformation, Phase Space features six extraordinary dancers, Ric Brown, Sarah Fregeau, Kate Holden, Sean Ling, Sahara Morimoto, and Andrea Nann. Peggy asked each dancer to select their favourite movements from previous works of hers in which they performed. She then worked with these fragments, manipulating, layering and/or folding them in on one another, to transform these episodes into rich new possibilities. 

In the spirit of memory, we asked each dancers a few questions which bring them down memory lane…..

Sahara Morimoto

Which dance production/performance will you always remember?

I love seeing performances, so there are many…

One of them was last season, a performance of Doug Varone and Dancers at Joyce Theatre. It was the final production in New York for my dear friend Julia Burrer, and also for long time company member Eddie Taketa before they left the company.  So on top of master choreographies and dancing, I felt extra special that I got to be in the audience.

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

I have long lists of artists who I dream to be in their choreography, and to dance with…!

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Piano/Quartet 2012. Photo by John Lauener

Do you remember the first time you discovered Peggy Baker?

In her grade nine Modern class at Canada’s National Ballet School.

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Sahara and Peggy in Thunder Bay 2015. Photo by Keegan Richard.

What song are you itching do dance to?

To all the good ones!

I’ve been meaning to get Joshua Van Tassel’s album, Dance Music: Songs for Slow Motion, so once I do, I look forward warming up to new music.

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Sahara Morimoto at the August Intensive 2015. Photo by Makoto Hirata

Do you have a signature dance move?

I can’t think of any, but my dance colleagues may able to point out some Sahara-moves!

What’s your earliest dance related memory?

Bon festival in Niigata Japan.

It’s a festival in the summer to celebrate the visiting of the spirits of ancestors. Each region has a different song and dance to go with it. I remember that I wore a Yukata (summer kimono) that my grandmother made for me, which always made the experience of the festival very special.

For Peggy Baker Dance Projects:

Sahara was the Artistic Associate for Peggy Baker Dance Projects from January 2008 – June 2015. She has assisted with rehearsals, participated in The Choreographer’s Trust year three (Unfold and Brute ), and performs in Aleatoria, Aleatoric Solo No. 1, coalesce, Encoded Revision, Geometry of the Circle, In a Landscape, land | body | breath, locus plot, move, Night Garden, on earth, The Perfect Word, Piano/Quartet, Split Screen Stereophonic, Sylvan Quartet, and Yang.

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Sahara in The Perfect Word (2015). Photo by Makoto Hirata

To watch Sahara 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.