Peggy Baker will cap a storied dance career by making room for other dancers’ stories

Peggy Baker, an iconic figure in Canadian dance, has announced that she’s closing her company. Peggy Baker Dance Projects will give its final public performances in the fall of next year and will wind up operations by June 2023.

In an exclusive interview, Baker, 68, tells the Star that she believes the moment has come for her to free up the core public funding that supports her artistic endeavours so it can benefit a new generation of dance artists, especially those who have historically been underserved and marginalized. Peggy Baker Dance Projects currently receives more than $200,000 in annual funding from all levels of government. In the cash-strapped contemporary dance community that’s a sizable sum.

“Toronto is one of the world’s most culturally diverse cities, but we haven’t had the equity,” says Baker. “It’s really around the issue of social justice that I’ve made my decision.”

Baker says the pandemic has unscored deep societal injustices that must be resolved. “This is a time of reckoning. There’s a chance now for big changes to happen because they must happen.”

More broadly, Baker also views closing her company as part of a necessary generational shift. “My generation has taken up a lot of space and resources for a long time.”

“I’ve always known there would be a lifespan to this company,” says Baker, noting that there are plenty of examples of artists whose companies have effectively been forced to close because of funding cuts. “They didn’t have any agency in how that happened. I want to be in charge of how my work finishes up. I feel I can bring it to a very beautiful conclusion.”

Read the full article Source: The Toronto Star

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