Entering Brigid Baker’s dance studio is to journey into a magical world of possibilities. With every visit, there are new eye-catching wonders that offer adventurous imagery. Huge organic structures are perched overhead having flown over stages in her previous performances, costumes hang strategically throughout the room, plants and flowers thrive offering hints of color in various spots. Against the wall, there are comfy couches, while an animal or two sleep in the corners while dance happens on the rehearsal floor.
Baker is director of the 6th Street Dance Studio and Brigid Baker Wholeproject, her dance company.
Her latest choreographic creation, “Cloud9” will on stage at the Miami-Dade Auditorium Black Box Theater beginning on Thursday, Nov. 16 through Sunday, Nov. 19.
With “Cloud9,” the audience will be taken on a journey into the potential of life using imagery, projections, spoken word, music and dance. Baker has created numerous works about the environment and is organic in making her performance structures.
“My creative nature is called in that direction,” she says. “My concern is for the ecology, inclusive of our cultural ecology, social ecology, our interior ecology, how to love basically. That just comes up inside of me.”
She creates from inspiration. She empties her mind, and allows the process to take her where it will.
“For ‘Clouds’ it’s a rather curious thing,” says Baker. “I was watching a video of Patsy Cline, whom I love, and she was wearing a sort of shirt dress of the time, a normal outfit for that time. She had put this gold headband on and drawn in big eyebrows. It made me laugh. That was as close to normal as she could probably get.”
Baker went on to say how this inspired her journey of how people bring things into their life, maybe to feel normal. And to take it further, maybe even to feel human.
She referenced light workers; people who continually bring light into the world.
“There are people in the world who just keep moving, and bring us light. So what does it mean to be human? We’ve limited ourselves so much. To be human is to be love, to be divine, the possibilities are endless. Can we just explore the vast endless evolution of what it means to be human.”
Describing this most recent work, Baker describes clouds as a form. They can be water or ice.
“They move from a vapor into a density,” says Baker. “We move through the clouds and take on a denser ice, if you will. But what can we DO about it? How can that be transcended? Again, what does it mean to be human? Is it just that definition or can we move through it?”
Baker’s thoughts are deep, intense and reflective of the dance creations that she makes.
Using the music of Dutch composer, Simeon ten Holt’s "Canto Ostinato," Baker describes him as a minimalist with a twist.
“Holt is in the genre of Philip Glass, but there is a melody in his music, a really beautiful composer,” she says. “He did something really amazing. At about 15 minutes into the music, you’re in the groove of it and…..he just stops. I thought ‘What is that, what is that?’ It really takes you somewhere into space and time. It’s like, that’s where I should be.”
Baker allows the movement and the music to take her where she needs to go with the choreography. It is not a set science, nor artistically preconceived.
Using three dancers, Meredith Barton, Isaiah Gonzalez, and Amy Trieger, the dancers understand what the piece is about, as Baker does, through the movement itself and through the discovery of the piece as it develops.
The open rehearsal gave me a glimpse of “Cloud9.” While the piece had yet to be completed, there was already an emotional, almost, cerebral quality to it.
The dancers enter the space as if they’ve been traveling. Then they take off a layer of clothing as if coming to incarnation.
As the music begins, there is an energy to the dancers, even as they stand completely still. The three are absolutely present and in the moment. That energy continues as they start to move. Whether the dancers are sitting, moving or off the stage, their presence is felt. It made the studio rehearsal just as thrilling as a performance.
“It has to do with using your mind, body, spirit, this other higher level on earth. They (the dancers) get denser and denser as the piece progresses. And then the music just stops. It just stops.”
“We put a lot of labor into the piece and because of that, it gives back to you. Life becomes this adventure when you’re fully engaged,” she mused.
“I’m fortunate to work with these dancers. We’ve worked together often,” says Baker. “We do have a class prior to rehearsal. Each season, we do different studies. I do a bootcamp. Sometimes we do breath work or a ballet class. I give them everything I know that a dancer should have. Anything I’ve ever had, they have.”
At the end of the work, there is narration from Irish playwright, Marina Carr.
Carr talks about what it’s like to feel and what it means to be feeling. She says ‘looking for you, looking for you.’ Baker gets very emotional as she speaks.
What brings us into this world in the first place? Do we see it before we’re here?
“So there could be this loving magnificence and simplicity in life. Almost divine. It’s about deciding.”
Baker concludes with, “We need each other now more than ever.”
“Cloud9” by brigid baker wholeproject at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16, Friday, Nov. 17, Saturday, Nov. 18 and Sunday, Nov. 19 at Miami Dade County Auditorium On.Stage Black Box Theatre, 2901 West Flagler St., Miami. Tickets, $25. Information, 305-547-5414 or ticketmaster.com.