2019/20 RBC Emerging Artists

With the generous support of the RBC Foundation, Peggy Baker Dance Projects is excited to announce the participants of the 2019/20 RBC Emerging Artists Program.

This is the third year of the program, which provides opportunities for emerging dancers to train and mentor with Peggy and her fabulous dancers. You can read about the talented artists from the first two years of the program here.

RBC Shield.jpg
Photo by Omer Yukseker

Photo by Omer Yukseker

Photo by Marc J Chalifoux

Photo by Marc J Chalifoux

Kirsten Sullivan


hometown: Sylvan Lake, AB

dance studies: Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, The School of Alberta Ballet, and The School of Toronto Dance Theatre (2019).

performance history: Alex Ketley, Summer Lee Rhatigan, Kelvin Vu, and Tom Weinberger; Kaeja d’Dance, Arty Basinski.

“I am curious about different processes in contemporary dance; in methods of generating material, in developing narrative, in deepening and understanding the performer’s mind and in accessing emotions. I am specifically interested in narrative that exists between movement and how intention can transform context. I am curious about truth, transparency and what sits between one gesture and another. I am affected by small nuances in movement and by a performer’s emotional accessibility.  I want to discover where emotional and conceptual boundaries exist and how they can be challenged in performance and in creation.”


hometown: Vancouver, BC

dance studies: hip hop based groups PraiseTEAM and C2 Genesys, York University, BFA Dance and Kinesiology (2015).

performance history: Serge Bennathan, Denise Clarke, Naishi Wang, Jessie Garon, Hanna Kiel, Jasmyn Fyffe, Riley Sims, and Emily Cheung; Nostos Collective (Co-Artistic Director), adelheid, Red Sky Performance, Canadian Opera Company, Little Pear Garden Dance Company, the Parahumans, the Garage.

“As a dancer and performer, I am interested in exploring and learning a myriad of approaches to movement and choreography - I believe that my body is continuously growing as a tool and that I will never stop training and studying. I am intrigued by the transformative effects of dance, on the performer as well as the audience observing. I find pleasure in expressing emotion and intention through strong, athletic movement, rooted in influences of contemporary and street dance.” 

Katherine Semchuk

hometown: Edmonton, AB

dance studies: Victoria School for the Arts, School of Toronto Dance Theatre (2016).

performance history: Kylie Thompson, Meghann Michalsky, Newton Moraes and Sasha Ivanochko; Good Women Dance Collective, Nostos Collective.

“Dance is often described as an abstract art form, yet it is the most direct expression of who we are. My primary captivation with dance has always been its physicality and its innate ability to heighten sensation and empathy. As I continue to develop my own artistic voice, it is important to me to be able to encourage audiences to involve themselves as viewers - to invite them in as partners in the work where there is potential for anyone to conceive their own sort of inner choreography within the work’s full duration.”


hometown: Toronto, ON

dance studies: RubberbanDance Group, Springboard Danse Montreal, Ryerson School of Performance (2017).

performance history: Heidi Strauss, Elia Mrak, Robert Blumbek; Alias Dance Project, RubberbanDance Group, Kaeja d’Dance, VIM VIGOR Dance Company, Gadfly Dance Company, ACE Dance Theatre, Frog In Hand.

“I strive to discover a harmonious physical, spiritual and emotional existence that will allow for more responsive, alert, and clear critical thoughts and choices in movement and performance. I aspire to be surrounded by movers and makers that encourage and incite the possibility for change in themselves and those they work with. In my dance practice I value work environments that provide the space and time to further question what I like and why I like it, as well as the opportunity to share with and respond to new and unknown perspectives.”

These talented artists will be participating in a variety of exciting opportunities from August 2019 to March 2020, including:

  • the Dance Educators’ Seminar and August Intensive training workshops, as well as training all year with Christine Wright;

  • reconstruction of the duet from Phase Space and scenes from who we are in the dark, which will be presented in the fall at six GTA schools;

  • shadowing company dancers in the creation and production of new work;

  • mentoring with Peggy and the company dancers.

When I received the news that I would be spending time with Peggy and her beautiful company of artists, I was overwhelmed with both excitement and relief. This opportunity has been on my mind for a couple years now and I feel so lucky to be able to embark on it with three other admirable dancers.”
- Katherine Semchuk