LSM Newswire

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Peggy Baker Dance Projects presents confluence, a fascinating collision of science and art

Toronto, December 16, 2009 - Peggy Baker is one of Canada's most outstanding, influential and celebrated dance artists. For her company's first-ever season at Harbourfront Centre's Enwave Theatre, she unveils a fascinating collision of science and art in confluence, February 24-28, 2010.

A triptych of richly detailed contemporary dance works inspired by the subtle movement and communication patterns of insects, confluence is a bracingly original evening of dance that features two choreographies from Peggy Baker (a world premiere trio and Toronto premiere of a new solo) and the Canadian premiere of an intimate new duet by the masterful New York choreographer Doug Varone.

The centrepiece of the evening is the world premiere of coalesce, a trio by Baker created for superb dancers Kate Holden, Sean Ling and Sahara Morimoto. This complex and unpredictable piece inquires into the nature of communication received through vibration, heat, light, scent, and touch, musing on alternate sensory and movement pathways for eliciting interconnected action.

Baker's new solo earthling, first on the program, receives its Toronto premiere (it premiered at Vancouver's Dances for a Small Stage in January of 2009). The dancer is confined to a small tipped and tilted platform that provides the audience with a skewed, almost overhead view of her movements as she rocks and reaches, like a beetle caught on its back. The richly painted platform appears to repel or absorb her, creating images of stark contrast and muted harmony. earthling reflects on the irony of how solitary one can feel despite the utter impossibly of not being a part of something larger.

Both coalesce and earthling were inspired by the work of Montreal visual artist Sylvia Safdie and the scientific essays of Lewis Thomas in his 1974 classic Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher.

The latter also inspired Doug Varone's duet armour that is danced by Baker with Varone company veteran Larry Hahn. It is a direct choreographic response to a Thomas essay concerning the communicative necessity among social insects regarding being touched: "It is the being touched that counts, rather than the act of touching." Originally created as part of the full evening work Dense Terrain, Varone suggested it to Baker for her own repertoire.

The evening is illuminated by Montreal lighting wizard Marc Parent, and is performed to an evocative and other-worldly electro-acoustic score, commissioned from composer Debashis Sinha.

A founding member of Dancemakers (Toronto/1974), Peggy Baker toured internationally with Lar Lubovitch's New York company throughout the 1980s and joined Mikhail Baryshnikov and Mark Morris for the inuagural season of their White Oak Dance Project, subsequently forging important creative relationships with choreographers Paul-André Fortier (Montreal), and Doug Varone (New York City). Since 1990 she has created and commissioned dances through her Toronto-based Peggy Baker Dance Projects. Appointed Artist-in-Residence at Canada's National Ballet School in 1992, Baker is the recipient of the 2006 Premier's Award for Excellence in the Arts, an honorary doctorate from the University of Calgary, three Dora Mavor Moore Awards for outstanding performance and two for outstanding choreography. She has been inducted into both the Order of Ontario and the Order of Canada, and is the recipient of the 2009 Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts.

Peggy Baker Dance Projects presents confluence
Wednesday February 24 - Sunday February 28, 2010
Wednesday-Saturday at 8pm: $25 & $30 (Discounts for students, seniors, CADA, groups);
Sunday matinee at 4pm: PAY-WHAT-YOU-CAN 
Harbourfront Centre's Enwave Theatre, 231 Queens Quay West
Box Office: 416-973-4000  and ONLINE at