Peggy Baker is acclaimed as one of the most outstanding and influential dancers of her generation. Born in Edmonton in 1952, her unique abilities are the result of an education in both dance and theatre, pursued initially through the drama department at the University of Alberta, with The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, and in New York at the Martha Graham School and the Herbert Berghof Studio. A vivid presence in contemporary dance since 1973, she has performed internationally with Lar Lubovitch, Mark Morris and Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project, Doug Varone, Tere O’Connor, Molissa Fenley, Charles Moulton (NYC), Fortier Danse-Creation (Montreal), James Kudelka, and Dancemakers and Toronto Dance Theatre (Toronto).
She established Peggy Baker Dance Projects in Toronto in 1990, and for the first 20 years she dedicated herself to solo performance, winning rapturous praise for the eloquence and depth of her dancing, and accolades for her collaborative partnerships with extraordinary choreographers, directors, musicians, and designers. Over its 32-year history, Peggy Baker Dance Projects has been presented at major festivals and dance centres worldwide, including Danspace, The Kitchen, Symphony Space, and the Harkness Festival in New York; the Luckman Center in Los Angeles; Jacob’s Pillow; the Copenhagen International Dance Festival; the Time Festival in Ghent, Belgium; The Holland Dance Festival; Tanzmesse in Dusseldorf, Germany; MoDaFe in Seoul, Korea; Landmark Tower in Yokohama, Japan; The Cervantino Festival in Guanajuato, Mexico; Festival Internacional de Buenos Aires; the Canada Dance Festival in Ottawa, The High-Performance Rodeo in Calgary; The Banff Centre; Tangente, L’Agora de la danse, Cinquieme Salle, and Danse Danse in Montreal; and Fall for Dance North at Toronto’s SONY Centre. Beyond the concert stage, Baker has premiered five all-night choreographic events for Toronto’s Nuit Blanche, and situated three hour-long choreographic installations – move, interior with moving figures and land | body | breath – in public spaces and galleries across Canada. Works for film include her body as words with Jeremy Mimnagh, which premiered on media screens at Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square before being streamed worldwide by Baryshnikov Arts Centre, and Choreographic Gems – 9 short films capturing distillations of avant-garde dance works created in Toronto in the 1970s – made with William Yong. The Choreographer’s Trust has published a series of booklet/DVD sets that document six of her landmark solos, and she is the subject of a book by Carol Anderson, Unfold – a Portrait of Peggy Baker, published by Dance Collection Danse.
Among her many honours are the Governor General’s Award, the Premier’s Award, the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario, six Doras, the Toronto Arts Council’s Margo Bindhardt Award, Honorary Doctorates from the University of Calgary and York, the 2010 Walter Carsen Prize, a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, the George Luscombe Award for Mentorship, and TAPA’s 2019 Silver Ticket Award. Baker is a fellow of the Bogliasco Foundation in Italy and an Artist-in-Residence at Canada’s National Ballet School.