2018/19 RBC Emerging Artists Project
Thanks to the generous support of the RBC Foundation, Micha, Sierra, Jessica and Kathleen had an amazing year as participants of the 2018/19 RBC Emerging Artists Project. Read all about their experience on our blog.
I am always questioning the value of dance - how does it fit into the world, what is it offering, how is it connecting to people, how is it opening up new perspectives? I constantly struggle with my philosophy for dance. Yet I understand there is something intrinsically important, which I value deeply. And this carries me forward- to keep wrestling and fighting for it, both in the development of myself and in the progress of how the art form sits in the world.
My practice is directly connected to my curiosity as a human being about the world. It is not just a movement practice but the sense of a return to being human. To strip away. To indulging. To a sense of “forever play”. I value using dance as a method for this self-exploration. In turn, I aspire to take my use of dance to help it have a stronger presence. Seeing the different types of infrastructure for dance that exist in different countries I am inspired to find ways to develop the infrastructure, access, and public accessibility to the art form. I want dance to become more integral with other art and experiences, and less isolated. This journey starts with my own practice, development and creation.
Sierra Chin Sawdy
Peggy is one of the most generous people and teachers I have encountered. Her genius is apparent to anyone who is graced with her presence, both inside and outside of the studio. As a teacher the amount of information she has to offer is endless. I am excited to experience the rehearsal process with the company, because I know just how fulfilling the classes can be. I look forward to learning more about Peggy as a choreographer and am eager to work alongside her and her dancers. This program is an opportunity to get a better sense of what it is like to work under her direction and to witness firsthand how the magic is made. I am excited to further develop my knowledge of movement and share the studio every day with such talented artists.
As an artist, my values and aspirations are to challenge myself, and to keep making new discoveries about myself, movement invention, and how to communicate and share my artistry. Not only do I have a sincerely deep desire to continue developing my movement vocabulary, but also my artistry - I want to keep delving further within myself in order to better articulate my artistic voice. It is important to me that I remain inquisitive about society, art, and culture in order to fuel my artistic voice. That I read, listen, watch, and absorb all forms of information, process it, and recognize how my natural, human thoughts and reactions can be expressed through dance when necessary. It is increasingly important to me that I make a genuine effort to understand what I can contribute and how I should communicate varying ideas pertaining to life through dance.
I consider myself to be a versatile mover, so I also hope to work with a wide range of artists, allowing me to exercise different qualities and fulfill a variety of facets within my practice. I am constantly seeking what is unknown to me, in an attempt to keep my curiosity alive. Ultimately, my biggest aspiration is to remain hungry for more information that will maintain the cultivation of my physical vocabulary, mental capacity, and artistic abilities. As I continue to enrich my artistic voice, I hope to express work in a way that will be appreciated by audiences who recognize some realm of value in what it is that I have to share. That it might spark a connection, a new perspective, a relation, cause for conversation, or challenge the mind - that my artistry may leave a memory and make some form of an impact.
I have been following Peggy’s work for many years and have seen how she takes a personal experience and brings it to life through movement. I attended the performance of land/body/breath at Ottawa’s National Gallery in 2017 and was inspired by the unique quality that each performer brought to the work. I appreciated her interdisciplinary approach and how the movement complimented the use of space and sound beautifully.
Anytime I take Peggy’s class I discover something about my movement as a whole. Her approach to working as an artist and as a mover shows the endless possibilities that come from opening your eyes, your mind and your body to new ways of moving. I was fortunate enough to have participated in the August Intensive two years ago where I took contemporary class with Peggy Baker, GYROKINESIS® with Andrea Nann, vocal direction from Fides Krucker, and repertoire taught by Sarah Fregeau, Kate Holden, and Ric Brown. Having the opportunity to learn from all of these amazing artists was such a pleasure and showed me that I not only enjoy observing the work but dancing it as well.
I strongly believe that I could grow as an artist under Peggy’s tutelage and leadership. This opportunity is of interest to me because I believe I have a lot to offer but more importantly I have a lot to learn. This Emerging Artist Program will be the perfect outlet for me to continue my journey as a performer and as a person.
The dancers participated from August 2018 - February 2019, in the following learning and performing opportunities:
· special involvement in our Dance Educators' Seminar / August 7 - 10, 2018;
· full participation in our week-long August Intensive / August 13 - 17, 2018;
· reconstruction of the 24-minute double duet, Split Screen Stereophonic, staged by company dancers and coached by Peggy Baker;
· performances of this work in early October, 2018 at GTA schools;
· classes with Resident Dance Trainer Christine Wright;
· shadow our company dancers in rehearsals for the exciting new work, who we are in the dark.
2017/18 RBC Emerging Artists Project
Through the generous support of RBC, Peggy Baker Dance Projects was able to offer the exceptional opportunity for three emerging dancers to deepen and expand their artistry by training and rehearsing alongside our company dancers, under the direction of Peggy Baker.
This multi-faceted program included:
our week-long August Intensive / August 14 – 19, 2017
2 weeks of rehearsal alongside one of three professional dancers preparing a solo choreographed by Peggy Baker for our Toronto season
10 hours of individual coaching with Ms. Baker
a matinee showcase performance of the solo at The Theatre Centre / Friday, February, 23, 2018
6 weeks of daily classes with Resident Dance Trainer Christine Wright, aligned with the unique schedule of each emerging artist
Our amazing 2017/18 RBC Emerging Artists were:
At this stage in my career, I am interested in focusing on multilayered tasks rather than strictly virtuosic movement. This is something I see clearly in Peggy’s work. Her ability to craft work that exudes a perfect balance between technique as well as abstract concepts and mindfulness, is something that I would love to talk about and explore with her. To work under the wing of someone as generous and knowledgeable as Peggy Baker would give me the tools to make that next step in my career of becoming a more mature and intelligent artist that I am more than ready to take.
While studying at STDT, I was given an opportunity to work with Peggy Baker and was naturally drawn to seek her advice and perspectives about the art form of dance. Based upon my diverse training and professional experiences, I have developed a certain approach to dancing. I thrive to expand my dexterity as an artist by exploring teaching dance, dramaturgy and being politically aware. I desire the chance to be able to investigate new movements, qualities, styles, and theatrics through improvisation and set repertory. With her vast professional performance experiences and dedication towards a thriving dance career, given the opportunity to be mentored by Peggy would profoundly transform my dancing.
When I had the opportunity to dance in a new work by Peggy Baker at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, I was instantly drawn by the way she derived her ideas and how she set the movements according to them. I have a passion for choreography and love learning various ways to communicate messages through dance. I created three dance works in the past year all playing with the idea of creating a series of movements that I could manipulate yet still maintain the original intention. I produced movements and pedestrian gestures; each time trying to create by feeling the intention of what I was trying to say prior to moving at all. Ultimately, I look to broaden my perspectives on dance and choreography as well as interact with like-minded individuals.