… and the future of modern dance

Now that Peggy Baker's winding down her dance performing career, who's going to fill her enormous shoes when she's gone?.


Now that Peggy Baker’s winding down her dance performing career, who’s going to fill her enormous shoes when she’s gone? I figured I’d ask Baker herself.

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“It takes so long to become a good dancer that you can’t really tell until a dancer’s 30s,” she reflects. “You can basically do anything in your 20s. But it’s only later that we can see what you’ve been able to achieve.”

So?

“In Toronto, there’s a whole generation that includes Susanna Hood and Andrea Nann, Jessica Runge, Yvonne Ng, along with Sarah Chase and Kate Alton, who are incredibly strong. Laurence Lemieux’s a bit older than them. Sasha Ivanochko and Susie Burpee. Johanna Bergfelt’s a little younger. But these are all people who make you go, ‘Oh my god, look what happens when you stick with this!'”

Each one of these dancers, I point out, has been part of a major dance company – then left.

“That means you’re getting consistent training, you’re probably in a company class and you’re having to fulfill a person’s vision,” she says. “But in the process you’re already seeing where you agree and where you would begin to question. And those questions are what will catapult you out. Usually you leave a company when you’ve got some more clarity about a direct route to your own voice.”

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