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Peggy Baker Dance Projects Presents HE:SHE at Betty Oliphant Theatre, Now thru 4/6

Peggy Baker Dance Projects Presents HE:SHE at Betty Oliphant Theatre, Now thru 4/6Peggy Baker Dance Projects presents he:she, a powerful evening of multi-dimensional contemporary dance and live music celebrating a world balanced by dualities. he:she features two world premieres, both choreographed by Peggy Baker, and two landmark solos - one choreographed by Baker and performed by Sahara Morimoto, and one masterwork gifted to Baker by esteemed Montreal dance artist Paul-André Fortier. The program runs tonight, March 28 through to Sunday April 6 with performances Wednesdays through Sundays at Toronto's Betty Oliphant Theatre.

Nominated for a Dora Award for Outstanding Choreography (as well as the ensemble for Performance) for last season's Split Screen Stereophonic, legendary dance artist Peggy Baker continues to hone her skills as an ensemble choreographer, continuing her spectacular 40-year career that includes two decades dedicated to creating and performing solo works.

Featuring her company of exquisite dancers - Sean Ling, Andrea Nann, Sahara Morimoto, Ric Brown, Mateo Galindo Torres and Baker herself - as well as award-winning pianist John Kameel Farah, cellist supernova Shauna Rolston, and clarinetist Max Christie (principal clarinet National Ballet Orchestra and Esprit Orchestra) - he:she explores the dualities of light/shadow, sound/silence, electronic/acoustic, new/old, male/female, youth/age.

The centrepiece of he:she is the world premiere of Peggy Baker's stone leaf shell skin - a trio for outstanding dancers Sean Ling, Ric Brown and Mateo Galindo Torres, and featuring a commissioned score by acclaimed Canadian composer Heather Schmidt, performed live by cellist Shauna Rolston.

In creating the piece, Baker was inspired by the photographic work of Edward Weston (1886-1958), called "the most influential American photographer of the twentieth century." Baker says, "Weston's immaculate, black and white photographs of organic objects convey the same erotic charge as his portfolio of nudes. As one views his exquisite gelatin silver print images of stones, leaves, and shells they become unstable, shifting from hyper reality to pure abstraction, and then to a strenuous sexuality." And with her characteristic enthusiasm, she adds "I've been working with that same tension between abstraction and sensuality, inspired by Weston's boldness and simplicity, to explore a voluptuous and ferocious counterpoint between my three male dancers and a single female cellist."

Also premiering is Aleatoric Duet No. 2. The word 'aleatoric' means 'by chance' - and for this second duet in an ongoing series, Baker has distilled elements of the choreographic history she shares with luminous dancers Sean Ling and Andrea Nann, and superimposes their performances in a contained space. Musician John Kameel Farah, a brilliant improviser, will spontaneously create a unique electro-acoustic score for each performance.

Rounding out the program are two signature solos. Peggy Baker's virtuosic 1998 Sylvan Quartet, danced by the superb Sahara Morimoto, thrusts a solo dancer into the midst of three musicians whose fractured staging resonates as a powerful metaphor for the fracturing of the natural world. Chan Ka Nin's raging and elegiac score is performed live by cellist Shauna Rolston, pianist John Kameel Farah and clarinetist Max Christie.
Choreographer and iconoclast Paul-André Fortier graciously gifted his stunning Box, la femme au carton to Baker - a beautiful, highly theatrical piece about mortality originally made for himself; from one master creator to another.


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