Peggy Baker talks about move:
In the fall of 2009 I premiered a dance called move for Nuit Blanche in a quietly lit studio at Canada’s National Ballet School in Toronto. The audience response to the piece was ecstatic, and I was immediately inspired to imagine other situations in which the work could be presented. A powerful community engagement project for a residency, move can be situated beautifully in a wide variety of alternative spaces, performed by members of the local community.
move is as an event for 16 performers, working in pairs, that explores basic dualities of caregiving and also of dance practice: touching and being touched, watching and being witnessed, movement through the body and that same body’s movement through space. It is performed in a cycle of four repetitions, with each episode rotated to use a new front, and with the partners alternating roles. The complete cycle of the work takes 70 minutes.
The sonic environment for move is an electro-acoustic score by Toronto musician and composer, Debashis Sinha. move can be staged in just 17 hours of rehearsal, broken up into five 3-hour sessions and a final 2 hour rehearsal prior to the presentation. It may be performed by dancers, actors, or even martial arts or yoga practitioners. I think of move as a dance installation, which does not require the audience to watch it from beginning to end, but which may draw in observers who choose to stay for part or all of the complete cycle. The presentation requires a performing area of 30′ x 30′ set in a space that allows audience members to circulate and watch from all four sides. move calls up a multitude of ancient and timeless images; earth being plowed, the molding of clay, the kneading of bread, a midwife at work, a storm gathering, the swell of an ocean, the movement of a glacier, the heaving of a continent, the passing of time…
Responses to move:
I want to personally thank both you and Sahara for the wonderful experience at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. Being a non-dancer, I now have a better understanding of the impact and connection with the audience. I am a retired RCMP officer who grew up playing sports. This experience has been exceptional. It was a pleasure to be part of such a diverse, multi generational group. You are gracious for sharing your time and expertise. – Elaine Meldrum (performer in the cast of move for Fredricton)
I just wanted to write to say that I had a chance to see move the other night and found it really breathtaking: a sort of softly spoken, carefully paced argument for the notion that meditative and sensual (almost sentimental) states are not necessarily mutually exclusive – if that makes any sense. I would have loved to have stayed to see it a second time through. – Howie Shia (audience member)
So privileged to have witnessed this Saturday evening’s glorious performance of Peggy Baker’s move, at the Tett Centre for Creativity & Learning. For those who could not attend, it was a deeply poignant, generous, meditative and touching experience. Deepest thanks to the incredible Peggy Baker and Sahara Morimoto of Peggy Baker Dance Projects for sharing their artistry, experience, wisdom and humour with our entire community this past week. We have been transformed by your presence, and we are so very excited that you will be continuing your residence work in Kingston for years to come. To all of the dancers who risked and grew and moved the more than 150 people who came to bear witness, your elegant dignity, openness and kindness make me truly thankful to know you all. – Melissa Mahady, (Presenting Partner at the Tett Centre for Creativity & Learning in Kingston)
Community presentations of move have been hosted by Brock Centre for the Arts in downtown St. Catharines in their Market Square building (2011), at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in association with the Fredericton Playhouse (2014), and at the Tett Centre for Creativity & Learning in Kingston (2015)
Presenters with a password may view the full length video here.
For bookings and information on staging move in your community, contact Meredith Potter.