“I was appointed NBS Artist-in-Residence in 1992, at the age of 40. At the outset, I think I viewed teaching as engaging and constructive work that supported my ambitions as a dancer and choreographer. I had no idea that my learning curve as a teacher of massively talented and highly skilled teenage ballet students would revolutionize my own physical and creative practice. But that radical shift came into play very quickly, and has deepened and expanded with every year. NBS is my creative home, and my exploration and exchange with NBS students lies at the very heart of my dance life.”

 - Peggy Baker, Artist-in-Residence at Canada’s National Ballet School

The Artist-in-Residence program at Canada’s National Ballet School is generously supported by the Hal Jackman Foundation and an anonymous donor.

To honour Peggy Baker’s 25 years as NBS’ Artist-in-Residence, we called on Alumni to send us testimonials, messages and memories of Peggy.
Dearest Peggy,
I celebrate the positive impact on every student who has experienced your shining spirit and masterful teaching over the past 25 years at NBS. You give them tools for life! 
With love, admiration and gratitude for all you do,
Claudia, class of 1971
Artistic Director, Moonhorse Dance Theatre
Happy Anniversary Peggy!!!
Thank you! Your teaching has had to this day a profound impact on my beliefs and knowledge about what good teaching is, your savoir-vivre inspirational.
Thank you for your generosity of spirit, your kind and joyful nature (who can resist that wonderful laugh of yours?) and your grace in movement and mind!
With much love,
Liza Kovacs
For Peggy Baker, Thank you!
 
Your smiling eyes, infectious laugh, deliberate language, and unwavering energy echo through me today. Thank you for gracing our lives by weaving your magic throughout countless studios and the stage. Much love, gratitude and admiration always,
Naomi Stikeman, Class of 1988
I was lucky enough to be at NBS for Peggy's early days, in the late 1980's. She was so positive and kind, and had such nice things to say, we almost laughed it off, because we thought she was being dramatic and "artsy." She gave everyone in the room equal attention and encouragement.  It quickly became obvious that she was serious. We responded well to her positive comments and criticisms and encouragement and learned to thrive.  It was certainly a division from the traditional strict ballet critique. When I became a teacher, I tried to use her approach as often as possible, and it was wonderful to see the more serious, shy, or less physically proficient students learn to shine and improve.  Thanks Peggy.
I have had the pleasure of doing class with Peggy, dancing her pieces, watching her perform and amazingly I have had solos created for me by her. 
I love her spirit, work ethic, understanding and teaching methods. She was so inspirational to me as a young dancer. Thank you Peggy for everything you did for me in those influential years. You may or may not even realise the positive impact that you have on people. May you have many more years dancing ahead. Thanks again!
The one and only Peggy Baker!
Peggy’s generosity of spirit is unique and vast. I have fond memories of the chats that we would have in between classes and learned so much from just being in her presence. A beautiful, inspiring human being, and certainly a Canadian Treasure!
Happy Anniversary Peggy! Thank you for being my inspiration since the first day we met for class. You made me realize my passion and you showed me the way to embody it. I'm grateful and still in awe of your knowledge, kindness, beauty, strength and support every single day. Here's to many more years of you sharing your beauty with us all! Much love and cheers!
Dear Peggy,
 
25 years!! Any words I may write will always seem too small compared to this gigantic achievement.
 
You have not only introduced entire generations of dancers into the world of contemporary dance and contributed that way into a better understanding of their classical technique but you have also filled our hearts with warmth, generosity and have given us the courage to grow.
 
Please never change!!
With much love,
Demis
I worked with Peggy Baker when I was at NBS from 2000-2003. I am forever grateful for the gifts she brings as an artist, mentor and choreographer.
 
I had a time at NBS where I was overcoming injuries and had a close bond with Peggy when she set a solo that is typically created for a female and standing. This excerpt became a solo on a chair and helped me still keep the fire burning in me with her openness and beautiful movement that spoke so well to my soul.
 
Peggy healed me, and allowed me to explore further to the artist I am today. I am forever grateful for her!
 
Congratulations on a beautiful anniversary.
Dearest Peggy,
The immaculate understanding of movement and your love for exploration within the art world is only a morsel of exceptionalism that exists within your being. You exude a passion, support and love for everyone who crosses your path. The respect and joy I feel when I think back on you as a teacher and an artist, is an honour I hold close to this day.
Congratulations on all your beautiful years of discovery and may the years ahead be overflowing with fulfillment.
All My Love,
Lily Marrable- Field, Class of 2007
To dance is to speak with the body, and learning to speak is one of the first great milestones of life. In our lives as artists, it is our teachers who guide us in using the movement of our bodies to convey a message--from the literal translation in classical mime to other, entirely abstract ways. There could hardly be anyone who conveys more skillfully to students the latter than Peggy Baker, a great performer whose fluency in body language and eloquence in speech can hardly be matched. Every word that escapes Peggy's lips reveals a brilliantly creative mind, and every gesture, both on stage and off, is the expression of a passionate soul. Not just anyone can bridge the gaps between thought, feeling, word and movement, and Peggy's power to do just that so naturally, authentically and originally has been an incredible gift to NBS students. That 25 years of subsequent classes have had the good fortune to learn from Peggy is truly something to celebrate!
Peggy has a wonderful energy about her. She looks at you, she really looks at you, and always says something wonderful, genuine and inspiring. We'd always have modern with Peggy at the end of our days, and though we'd be exhausted after hours in the studio, on top of hours in the classroom, our classes with Peggy were a perfect finish to the day - a rejuvenation of sorts.
Peggy is one of the most unique people I’ve ever met. She has a very amazing and impressive story, yet carries herself with such grace and humility. Instead of judging, she often laughs at herself, and always encouraged us to do so. She makes your body strong from the inside out. I remember Peggy always wanting to help during my time at NBS and she’s a true inspiration to me.
Peggy Baker is a wonder, a whim, and a woman who continues to inspire students after 25 years at Canada’s National Ballet School. She leads by example, with a high spirit and generosity in her own witty way. I learned valuable lessons in working with her in both a class setting and later in a creative setting.  In the class setting, she shared her expansive knowledge of the language of dance. In the creative setting, it was her artistic depth that we were exploring and sharing together. It was only a short time ago that I had the privilege of working with her for a piece in the Assemblée Internationale 2017. Being in this creative space with her exposed another, much deeper side to her mind and to her heart. I am humbled and forever grateful for the moments and experiences we shared. Congratulations on 25 years at Canada’s National Ballet School, and on a lifetime of beautiful art. Thank you, Peggy!
To work with Peggy Baker, whatever the context, is one of the most profound, and rewarding experiences one can have and I have no doubt that long into the future I will continue to be thankful for her teaching and presence at NBS during my time here. Peggy's immense respect for the individual and what they bring to dancing is inspiring. In her classes you just have to look around to see the level of focus and burning passion for the movement she evokes from her students. Her approach to teaching dance and her respect and knowledge of the art form gives you constant discoveries of how to approach and cherish every second of music and movement. I think I can speak for everyone who has learned from her when I say that some of the deepest, most impactful realizations about dance and our place in it, has been in Peggy's class.

Outside the classroom setting I had the privilege of being mentored by Peggy for the Stephen Godfrey Choreographic Workshop. Even though it was the first piece I had created, the amount of respect she had for my creative voice was encouraging and exciting. After watching very closely, she expressed eloquently as she does, the most intelligent thoughts about the arch of the piece and the dancer's roles. Peggy is an extremely thoughtful person and this was a great example. Every single thing she said, each piece of information was so valuable and spoke to the heart of what I was creating. Being mentored by Peggy made it even more clear to me why she is such a priceless part of NBS. Peggy touches the minds and souls of everyone she works with and continues to inspire all of us everyday. Congratulations, we are so thankful! 
A visionary artist, and an incredible nurturer for everyone at NBS. In my four years at the school, Ms. Baker has not only taught me how to explore a contemporary dance vocabulary, but how to build and question my movement. I was lucky enough to work with Ms. Baker when she became the artist in residence for the new Tett Centre in my Hometown Kingston. Those summer sessions leading up to a show allowed me to spend more time with Ms. Baker, and see her teach a wider variety of ages and talent. I will always cherish the moments I got to spend on stage dancing beside Ms. Baker at the Grand Theatre in Kingston. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for all you have done to contribute to not only my life, but all those at Canada’s National Ballet School.
I have had the privilege of learning from Peggy Baker for 3 years. She is always so energetic in the class, and pushes us to evolve and create a deeper understanding with ourselves and our own personal movement style. With Peggy's help, I feel that I have found my own movement; she feeds us new ideas and inspires growth. Her works are incredibly mindful and awe inspiring. She is an inspiration to me, and I cannot wait to finish my year with her.
I have felt so privileged to have the opportunity to train with Peggy Baker these past 2 years. Within these years I have learnt that dance is not just an emotional or physical thing that we do, it's deeper than that. In fact, it's the connection between the mind and body. Peggy teaches her classes with so much integrity, and she has truly been an inspiration to me everyday. 
Congratulations on your 25th anniversary, 
With Much Affection, 
Houston Toews, Class of 2018
I was in the Teacher Training program in 1992 when Peggy Baker came to the NBS as Artist-in-Residence. On occasion she gave class to the Teachers in Training, and I recall it being so different in terms of movement and rhythm. I was intimidated and unable to keep up after the barre. She also taught us some Irene Dowd work on the floor which allowed me to drop into my body and warm up and balance muscles from the inside. I marvelled at the complexity and completeness of the sequences taught for different parts or functions of the body, and believed Peggy when she said they had extended her life as a dancer.

Returning to NBS for the Teacher’s summer school I recall watching Peggy give a class to the NBS students. I saw how she was able to meet them at their highly skilled level, and then co-create something amazing from there. It seemed to be a special relationship of teacher/mentor to student.

What still inspires me to this day, when I think of Peggy teaching, is how majestic, human and enthralling she is, willing to be open and available to  whatever lies within. She is at once engaging and very deep. There is also a sacredness about her whenever she talks or moves. I have felt it in her presence still, when we meet on occasion after many years. She is a treasure and a guiding force in the dance world. I’m so glad to add my heartfelt wishes in honouring Peggy Baker!
Warmly,
Jo-Ann Gordon
 
Ms. Peggy Baker has been one of my highlights and inspirations while attending Canada’s National Ballet School. Her positive energy and enthusiasm in class makes everything she teaches a pleasure to learn. She always finds new and interesting ways to inspire her students to strive for something bigger not just physically but emotionally. She has a way of encouraging her students that makes you as an individual feel so special and honored to be working with such a talented passionate woman. I know I am always excited to work with her in all aspects of her teaching. I always enjoy her modern class but am also honored to have worked with her in her stunning piece, Flower; A Poem For Body and Breath twice. I am also so grateful for the opportunity to have been able to work with her as a mentor during the Steven Godfrey Choreographic Workshop. She was able to find ways of encouraging and supporting the process that made me so confident, joyous and positive of the work I had created, but most of all appreciative that I had such an inspiring, motivating, enthusiastic woman by my side! So I would like to personally thank Ms. Baker for all she has done at the school and say to never stop inspiring future generations of dancers like you have deeply inspired me!
 
As a student, and also as a teenager, there are only so many creative outlets that allow for personal expression and individuality; people are changing, we’re changing, the world around us is changing, and all at such an unbelievably fast rate... sometimes it can be hard to find yourself in a moment. However, every time I take a class with Peggy, or do her exercises, or have a conversation with her, I find myself being completely in my own body. I can feel myself in time and in the volumes of the space around me. I find that this inception can only be found for me while in the midst of a Peggy Baker-ian experience.
 
The first time I saw her work was when I came across a YouTube video called “Spacial View of Pond”, and what an incredible force of human power that was. Her ability to tap into different volumes, emotions, connective senses, and internal regions of the inner space, were completely astonishing; the overall thoughtfulness and integrity of her work inspire me as an artist and also as a person. Her work, her devotion to teaching, her interest in development, and her sheer brilliance, is a gift to anyone and everyone who are able to experience it. Thank you for everything you do Peggy.
Congratulations Peggy!