Four fabulous dancers were selected to participate in our RBC Emerging Artists program and all agreed it was an amazing learning experience. You read about them here at the beginning of the program last summer. We wanted to check in with them to see how they’re doing and to ask them what they’ve learned.
Dance and Teacher Training
The learning has been monumental! For the past six months, Kathleen Legassick, Jessica Germano, Sierra Chin-Sawdy and Micha Baltman shadowed the company dancers; participated in the August Intensive and Dance Educators Seminar; took regular dance classes with Christine Wright; assisted Peggy to teach classes at Canada’s National Ballet School; and participated in a residency at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre.
who we are in the dark
The most exciting part of the program, however, was the opportunity to learn some of Peggy’s repertoire, including her new creation who we are in the dark. “It has been incredible witnessing the piece come to life”, said Kathleen. “I was shadowing Mari Greig’s role for the most part. The combination of the movement creation, vocal work, quality of choreography and music is ingenious. The work of the musicians, Jeremy Gara and Sarah Neufeld, is poetic and inventive. I love the choreographic recipe that Peggy uses to create authentic, rich movement.”
Split Screen Stereophonic
The dancers also learned the high intensity double duet Split Screen Stereophonic, including a rehearsal at Union Station sponsored by Fall for Dance North, and performances at four high schools across Toronto. When asked what was the highlight of the past year, Jessica wrote “Getting to learn Split Screen from David (Norsworthy), Sarah (Fregeau), Kate (Holden), and Jarrett (Siddall) under Peggy's direction. It was a wonderfully intimate process in which each of us were able to dive deep in the authenticity of the piece and essence of the movement qualities asked of us.”
One of the goals of the RBC Emerging Artist program is to contribute to the dancers’ transition into a professional career. “Being a part of the program definitely solidified my future goals and desire of developing a career as a dance artist,” Micha confirmed. “I learned how to work with both a lot of information while doing simple tasks. I learned how to take a few steps as a more authentic version of myself. And I learned where to find the best deal on electrical tape!”
The best learning programs are full of unexpected lessons. Sierra was asked what surprised her most about being so close to Peggy and the dancers. She said it was the amount of trust and freedom that Peggy allows within a process. “In her work, Peggy generates ideas that the dancers then use to create movement. Within those concepts, there is a lot of freedom for individuality and creativity.”
“Peggy is still at the forefront of what it means to create and practice art through dance; she and her company are a great example of how dance can operate efficiently and with care for everyone.”- Micha
“Every minute spent with Peggy is a life lesson. The amount of knowledge she has is incredible. I was constantly learning something new about dance, teaching and myself.” – Sierra
“Peggy taught me to ‘dance a different dance’. Peggy isn't looking for everyone to move the same. She wanted us to dance from the inside out and present our personal inner movement.” – Kathleen
“It is so compelling to see all of the ways Peggy gives back to the dance community with things like this RBC program-providing opportunity to emerging artists who often struggle to find a platform for themselves.” - Jessica
We are grateful to RBC for providing funding to support the Emerging Artists Program these past two years. Together we are changing the lives of emerging dancers and helping them to transition from training into professional performance careers. Sierra, Micha, Jessica and Kathleen all highly recommend the program to future emerging artists!