As a masterful dance educator, Peggy Baker invests deeply in the on-going practice of dance pedagogy and in artists honing their craft. With her upcoming annual Dance Educators' Seminar (August 7 - 10, 2018), and August Intensive (August 13 - 17, 2018), we asked her a few questions about what participants can expect.
A Q&A with Peggy on the Dance Educators' Seminar and August Intensive 2018
Can you tell us a little about what you enjoy about the Dance Educators’ Seminar? And the August Intensive?
I love the wide open exchange with colleagues during the Dance Educators’ Seminar – the refreshing stimulation of new materials, approaches, and points of view around working with students at different stages of training. It is also exceptional to have technique classes designed for practitioners who are primarily teachers rather than active dancers – classes that work with a high level of nuanced and sophisticated information, and well-considered physical demands. The August Intensive attracts a wide range of dancers concerned with expanding their physical and expressive capabilities. The mix of backgrounds and objectives creates an exciting context for coming together.
What sort of needs are you addressing when you develop the curriculum with the invited faculty?
Dance is in a constant state of evolution but fundamentally the underlying concerns are: how to develop capability and expertise; how to prepare for and recover from the extraordinary demands of class, rehearsal, performance; how to expand and deepen our artistry as teachers, performers, creators.
What kind of personal development do you see happen with participants in these programs?
Whenever we apply ourselves with awareness, intensity and a sense of purpose we make good progress. That’s why intensive workshops are so powerful – we all set aside the time and invest the energy.
What are you looking forward to about this year’s programs and your classes?
I am especially excited to have Sylvain Lafortune teaching partnering at both workshops this summer. A great dance artist, a masterful teacher, his approach is singular, and highly refined through many years of exploration and development, including a doctoral thesis on partnering. I look forward to Jennifer Bolt’s presentations on student transitions into and throughout high demand / high intensity pre-professional training as part of the Dance Educators’ Seminar. It is always a huge pleasure to welcome participants to the gorgeous studios of Canada’s National Ballet School, and to be able to offer classes by Christine Wright, and to work alongside dancers from my company.
Are there any tips or advice you would share with anyone who is interested in either program?
Don’t be afraid to jump in! There is a huge diversity in age and training among the participants, and the breadth of approaches is what makes these workshops so exciting and powerful.