Peggy Baker talks Dance Weekend '17

2017 will mark the first year that PBDP takes part in Dance Ontario’s DanceWeekend. Artistic Director Peggy Baker talks about the two arresting solos that we will be presented.

1- You describe solo from locus plot as a piece that “muses on the notion of gravity as an aspect of the curvaceous geometry of spacetime.” What drew you to mathematical equations as a subject to explore through choreography?

I find mathematics and physics extremely poetic; an incredible synthesis of abstract thinking and precise language. Our bodies are in a constant state of navigation in relation to gravity, and dance easily stretches and compresses time, so the subject matter arose from the art for me. 

Photo by Citrus Photography

Photo by Citrus Photography

2-on earth is an episode of Piano/ Quartet which translates the poems of John Cage into choreography. Can you tell us about the process of turning poetry into dance?

I have used text as source material for dance for many years but Piano/Quartet took the adherence to the text to a real extreme. I worked word by word – and sometimes letter by letter –  to craft individual movements as a response to the sound, shape, dynamic, rhythm or meaning of each tiny bit of text. It’s meticulous work.

3-You are both a choreographer and performer, but these two works choreographed by yourself will be interpreted by other artists. Tell us little bit about what that experience is like.

When I am choreographing for myself, all of my choices are made in relation to sensation – the way movements feel and how they work on me in the context of the subject matter and the music. Choreographing a solo for another dancer places me completely outside the experience of the dancing. I’m using my eyes. I’m empathizing with my body, imagining my own kinetic response, but the choreography is mainly an exercise in seeing: capturing an image in my mind’s eye, observing the dancers’ responses to my instructions,  imagining the possibilities offered by the movement, and anticipating what is emerging – what I want to see next.

Photo by John Lauener

Photo by John Lauener