Mini Dance Review: Peggy Baker Dance Projects/Map by Years

Peggy Baker “unmoored”

Peggy Baker’s newest dance show Map by Years is divine. The choreographer/dancer has always had the knack of handing off her work to the ideal person, and veterans Jessica Runge, Andrea Nann and Kate Holden do her proud in vintage Baker solos (Her Heart, Krishna’s Mouth and Portal respectively). Natasha Bakht and Mairi Greig alternate with Nann and Holden at different performances. Baker herself performs her haunting new work unmoored (created with Sarah Chase), a “dance story” about her marriage to the late composer/musician Ahmed Hassan and his struggle with MS. The work is one of total perfection as the heartbreaking text and Baker’s eloquent movement swing back and forth between darkness and light. Also on board the playbill are pianist Cheryl Duvall (Her Heart) and cellist Anne Bourne (Krishna’s Mouth). Baker is one of the most revered dance artists in the country and this show is a quintessential example of why she holds that place in the Canadian dance pantheon. Map by Years is brilliant programming.

I personally would like to add that one of the greatest Canadian dance scores ever composed is Hassan’s Sable/Sand for Serge Bennathan’s 1995 eponymous work for Dancemakers. I bought the CD immediately after the performance and after all these years it still gives me great joy to hear Hassan’s mystical, evocative fusion of Arabic and western musical genres.

(Peggy Baker Dance Projects/ Map by Years, The Theatre Centre, Feb. 21-25, 2018.)