PHOTOS OF SEAN LING, SAHARA MORIMOTO,
BENJAMIN KAMINO & ANDREA NANN
by Joël Bénard
PEGGY BAKER DANCE PROJECTS presents 3 world premiers and two landmark solos from Peggy Baker - through March 3rd at the Betty Oliphant Theatre (404 Jarvis Street). A collection of stunning costumes, original choreography by Baker, set to evocative music and text, with piano by the brilliant John Kameel Farah, creates an evening of diverse dance that features duets, solos, and a final punctuating piece of elegant movement and gestural form that frames the overall program with a gorgeous sense of utilitarian rhythm and form.
Encoded Revision opens the evening with Benjamin Kamino in loose yet infrequently revealing trousers, white shirt and vest as he overhwlems the stage with bursts of spoken text, aided by pianist John Kameels Farah's verbal ministrations and piano virtuosity. The meta-textual nature of the piece, with pages on stage for the dancer to respond to, to crumple and to play with, give the overall sequence a simultaneously raucous and sombre tone as a train accident on the Canadian prairies in 1898 is revisited in vital, exhilarating ways. As he jumps, contorts, and raises the folds of his elegantly designed cotume by Caroline O’Brien, revealing a lithe powerful ltorso, the choreography speaks subtly, coporeally, and perhaps unintentionally of the physicality of tragic demise and the locomotive power of the body in chaos - caught up within the motion of accidental occurrence,
In a Landscape with music from John Cage (In a Landscape, 1989). Nann’s subtle prowess dominates the stage and is magnificently framed by a heavily textured costume by Jane Townsend.
Aleatoric Solo No. 1
features Sahara Morimoto - with music by John Kameel Farah - in a deeply personal performance that “captures movements and moments from the choreographic history” she has shared with Peggy Baker for the past fifteen years, chronicling a movement from age 13 to 28 in the life of Morimoto’s dance career.
Split Screen Stereophonic opens the second half of the evening with Sarah Fregeau, Benjamin Kamino, Sean Ling, and Sarah Morimoto in duets performed seamlessly in front of beautifuil screens executed by Larry Hahn. This premier dance sequence features a kind of call and response tone as the two ‘couples’ divide and conquer within their separate spheres - with evocative music selected form Nuukoono (2010 - Knuckleduster/Debashis Sinha & Robert Lippok).
Epilogue - The highlight of the evening occurs at the end with Baker taking the stage in gorgeous slimly tailored goucho like trousers, with evocative slits, a long sleeve form-fitted top, and elegantly designed bountiful shoes that allow her tall lithe frame to relate with impeccably sharp gesturing and powerful poses. Baker skillfully relates to and artfully denies the presence of two earnest chairs that become a kind of minimal existential set for the seated figure who rarely sits, yet embraces the sense of these spare supporting props with choreography that speaks beautifully of form following function, yet straying form it at every beautiful extension and each breathtaking turn.