The Perfect Word

I have a deep and abiding interest in the solo dance form, and value most especially the highly specific distillation of physicality it demands and reveals. I often develop my work in relation to systems of information (mathematics, science) and from creation in other mediums (visual art, literature), and I had been pouring over The Book of Symbols – a compendium of hundreds of key words that describe the natural world, our bodies, and the objects we make and use – when the idea for this work emerged. More languages are spoken in Toronto than in any other city in the world, and inspired by this multiplicity I thought of capturing individual voices to develop a multi-lingual soundscape, unfolding in real time, as the score for a choreographic event. The Perfect Word involves solos by 10 dancers, each of whom speak a different language, and who describe in movement and text, the symbolic meaning of an individual word. Audience members are invited to step up to a microphone and to speak a word, in any language, in response to the dancer’s performance. Each voice is instantly embedded into a soundscape that layers and loops throughout the multi-cycle duration of The Perfect Word. The audience is free to enter, exit or return at any point while the performance continues to cycle and evolve.

The Perfect Word premiered in 2014 as a 12-hour cycle for Toronto’s Nuit blanche; was presented for four 3-hour cycles in a derelict building on the abandoned west island of Ontario Place as part of in/Future (2016); and in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre of the Four Season’s Centre for the Canadian Opera Company’s free noon hour concert series in 2017.


choreography: Peggy Baker

sound design: Debashis Sinha


Meryem Alaoui / Arabic
Nova Bhattacharya / Bengali
Zhenya Cerneacov / Russian
Jesse Dell / Plains Cree
Sarah Fregeau / English
Ana Groppler / German
Louis Laberge-Cote / French
Sahara Morimoto / Japanese
Mateo Galindo Torres / Spanish
William Yong / Cantonese


The Perfect Word is available as an alternative space booking. For booking information please contact: Meredith Potter


The Perfect Word, 2014 as a 12-hour cycle for Toronto’s Nuit Blanche. Photography by Makoto Hirata

action/words a condensed version of The Perfect Word, Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, Canadian Opera Company’s 2017. Photography by Kevin Lloyd