The Choreographer's Trust

Introduction

A message from Peggy Baker:

I have lived a very full and remarkably long life as a dance artist. I entered the professional world at the age of twenty-two, and as I publish The Choreographer’s Trust almost four decades later, I am still at work. Throughout that long career, I have had the good fortune of working with extraordinarily gifted and accomplished choreographers, dancers, teachers, and coaches, and the privilege of performing superb works of choreography on some of the world’s greatest stages. My artistry has been shaped by the force of those experiences.

Between 1991 and 2009, I dedicated myself primarily to solo work. I’d go into the studio alone each day to train and to explore and develop choreographic material in order to prepare myself, and the dances that I created or had taken on, for performance. As I approached my fiftieth birthday I became increasingly aware of the impermanence of my performing life. In the summer of 2002, realizing that unless I passed my dances onto others, the hard-won lessons embedded in them risked being lost when I retired. I embarked on what would become a 10-year initiative I call The Choreographer’s Trust.

The word “trust” carries, in this instance, a double meaning. It refers both to the notion of a body of work as wealth that may be endowed, and to the faith I place in the dancers to keep the works alive and well. With funding generously provided by the George Cedric Metcalf Foundation, over the course of four years I was able to pass on six dances, teaching each one to two dancers. In making gifts of these works I was able to give life to the dances that went far beyond my own performances. The educational DVDs and accompanying booklets that I produced with further financial support from the Metcalf Foundation capture six dances that are key to my creative life. I offer these documents to educators, historians, and critics as an intimate view of my work, and to dancers, at any stage in their journey, as an invitation to explore, inhabit, and embody a solo dance of the late twentieth century.