News Releases - 2010
Canadian dance icon Peggy Baker wins $50,000 Walter Carsen Prize
Ottawa, October 6, 2010 – Internationally-known dancer, choreographer and teacher Peggy Baker is the winner of the 2010 Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts. Artistic director and founding member of two successful dance companies, Ms. Baker has toured abroad with exceptional dancers such as Lar Lubovitch,
Mikhail Baryshnikov and Mark Morris.
The $50,000 prize, administered and presented by the Canada Council for the Arts, recognizes the highest level of artistic excellence and distinguished career achievement by Canadian artists who have spent the major part of their career in Canada in dance, theatre or music.
Download images of Ms. Baker.
In awarding the prize to Ms. Baker, the peer assessment committee said, “Peggy Baker is excellence and generosity incarnate. She understands dance from the inside out. She has a huge presence and exquisite physicality in performance. A brilliant creator, a generous teacher and a profoundly honest artist, her passion and commitment have inspired and influenced generations of dancers at home and abroad. Through her teaching, Peggy has imbued ballet students with a modern dance sensibility and aesthetic; she has introduced new dance techniques and new ways of perceiving movement. Her artistry has been applauded by audiences in Canada and overseas. By continually reinventing herself, Peggy Baker sets a new standard for the art of dance.”
The peer assessment committee consisted of Miriam Adams (Toronto), José Navas (Montreal) and Serge Bennathan (Vancouver).
Born in Edmonton in 1952, Peggy Baker was a founding member of Dancemakers (Toronto, 1974), toured internationally with
Lar Lubovitch’s celebrated New York company throughout the 1980s, and joined Mikhail Baryshnikov and Mark Morris for the inaugural season of their White Oak Dance Project. She established Peggy Baker Dance Projects in 1990, her repertoire distinguished from the outset by collaborations with extraordinary creators and performers, including choreographers Paul-André Fortier, James Kudelka, and
Doug Varone, and lighting designer Marc Parent. Her commitment to live music has led to artistic alliances with some of Canada’s finest composers, musicians and ensembles, including a 20-year creative relationship with pianist Andrew Burashko. Her company has been presented at major dance venues and festivals across North America, Asia, and Europe.
Ms. Baker was director of dance for the Summer Arts Institute of
Simon Fraser University from 1991-1994, is a frequent guest at the Juilliard School in New York, and is Artist-in-Residence at Canada’s National Ballet School (appointed in 1992). She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario, an honorary doctorate from the University of Calgary, and five Dora Mavor Moore Awards.
Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts
Presented for the first time in 2001, the Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts was created as a result of a generous donation of $1.1 million to the Canada Council by Toronto businessman and philanthropist Walter Carsen, O.C. The prize is normally awarded annually on a four‑year cycle: dance, theatre, dance, music. Previous prize winners include flutist/composer/conductor Robert Aitken, dancer/choreographer Margie Gillis, playwright Judith Thomson, choreographer David Earle, composer R. Murray Schafer and principal dancer/producer-director Veronica Tennant.
In addition to its principal role of promoting and fostering the arts, the Canada Council for the Arts administers and awards many prizes and fellowships in the arts, humanities, social sciences, natural and health sciences, engineering, and arts management. These prizes and fellowships recognize the achievements of outstanding Canadian artists, scholars, and administrators. The Canada Council for the Arts is committed to raising public awareness and celebration of these exceptional people and organizations on both a national and international level.
Find a complete listing of these awards.
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