Review: The Sound and Feel of It (Peggy Baker Dance Projects)

 

As one of Canada’s most exceptional and inspiring dancers and choreographers, Peggy Baker once again provides audiences with a remarkable and mesmerizing contemporary dance show in The Sound and Feel of It.

Debuting at the lovely Betty Oliphant Theatre to a full house, The Sound and Feel of It will certainly engage your senses to the fullest. Featuring three diverse movement pieces, Peggy Baker Dance Projects combines powerful musical scores, enthralling lighting designs, and moving poetry to present stunning choreography.

In the first number entitled, In the Fire of Conflict, created by Baker and performed by Benjamin Kamino, Kamino moves sporadically yet controlled to the percussion accompaniment of Beverley Johnson and words by songwriter-rapper Steve Harvey. I saw this opening piece as an intimate dialogue between the dancer and the music, with Kamino relentlessly and intricately responding to the complexity of the sound. It was raw, bold and the perfect start to a spectacular evening.

Portal, Peggy Baker’s solo, which earned the legendary dance artist the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Choreography and Performance in 2008, was a brilliant contrast to the first act. As Baker silently moves from one part of the stage to the next, with splits of light descending from above, Baker reveals her undying commitment as a talented and powerful soloist. Once again, I also saw this as a dialogue between the dancer and the lighting.

At this point of the show my guest and I were blown away at the lighting effects. Dramatic and highly contrasted, self-taught lighting designer Marc Parent, brings an almost architectural approach to the three distinct pieces making it by far one of the most memorable lighting experiences I have ever had.

Baker’s solo performance was the perfect segue into the final act with the world premiere of Piano/Quartet, a new work in celebration of the centenary of John Cage’s birth. As a captivating soloist for much of her career, it is in this final number that Baker introduces to us her ensemble of dancers-Ric Brown, Sean Ling, Sahara Morimoto, and Andrea Nann. Set to John Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes for prepared piano played by composer and pianist John Kameel Farah, the four dancers bring their indefatigable strength and endurance to a timeless piece.

This show is not only a celebration of avant-garde musical composer John Cage but of a brilliant dancer and choreographer who even in her late fifties, still embodies passion and energy, clearly evident in her own performance and those of her dancers. Both visually and audibly dynamic, The Sound and Feel of It leaves you simply spellbound.

Details

Peggy Baker Dance Projects presents The Sound and Feel of It at the Betty Oliphant Theatre (404 Jarvis Street) till January 29th, 2012.

-Performances run Wednesday-Saturday at 8:30pm, with Sunday matinees at 4pm at the Betty Oliphant Theatre.

-Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office at 1-888-222-6608 or online at www.peggybakerdance.com.

-Tickets cost $28 for adults ($22 Students/Seniors/CADA members) plus applicable taxes and service charges.

Photograph of dancers Andrea Nann, Sean Ling, Peggy Baker and Sahara Morimoto by Omer Yukseker