My Gay Toronto - 416 Scene

Ric Brown finds that dance + theatre + vocalography = Peggy Baker's locus plot

By Drew Rowsome

Renowned dancer Peggy Baker's newest creation locus plot, is an ensemble piece involving projections, vocals, dance and theatre. And mathematics. Dancer Ric Brown explains, "Peggy had spoken about how she's always watching science programs and she particularly enjoys ones on mathematics. She started to research it and when you start to look at mathematical equations, they're quite beautiful. The drawings are not just x + y = z, when you are looking at graphs and drawings, those reminded her very much of the fluidity of dance. That was her jumping off point. She used half a dozen to a dozen different formulas to interpret and guide us into creation. She partnered with John Mighton who is a brilliant, brilliant mathematician but also an award-winning playwright. He's got the left and right brain going himself."

There is also a credit for a vocalographer. "I'm not sure if that's a made-up word," laughs Brown. "Fides Krucker is this incredibly gifted singer/teacher here in the city. She's done a whole score on top of the choreography. It's unbelievable. It's beautiful. Peggy would create the choreography and then show it to John Kameel Farah the composer and Fides, and allow them their opportunity to bring their gifts to it, a real collaboration.  Fides would watch and add her interpretation of what should be layered in. We don't vocalize throughout the entire hour but there is quite a bit. It has stretched us in our artistic ability, it's quite exciting. She draws out very different components that might not quite be in our comfort area."

Brown has never been one to back away from a challenge. "I didn't start my dance career until quite late," he says. "I was doing an amateur show where I was singing and acting when I saw the dancers...  The non-dancers were choreographed in the back waving hands and I thought, 'I don't like this.' It was totally my ego. And the dancers looked like they were having so much fun, their rehearsals were more enjoyable. And that's really how I started, even though I wasn't much of an athlete. I curled... I took my first class at 26 and my body just took to it. I loved it."
And Brown is still enjoying dance, "I'm very fortunate. I love what I do, the people I work with. Peggy is an incredibly generous artist and allows me to explore my artistic side in ways I have never had."

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locus plot runs until Sun, May 3 at the Betty Oliphant Theatre, 404 Jarvis St.