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Edge of the Known World: Dancer Peggy Baker sets out for uncharted territory

“I never expected I would be dancing solo. I expected I would just be dancing with companies. I had no idea that this would grab me by the roots. One project moves me in unexpected directions, and from there the next project arises.”

Dancer, choreographer, and teacher Peggy Baker still expresses amazement at her career and where she now finds herself, despite being someone who has never settled for anything less than what she wants.

She also has never let–and is still not letting–age determine what she can do. At 51, Baker–past member of the Lar Lubovitch Company, original member of the White Oak Project, and now solo performer–is pushing the boundaries and expanding the repertoire for mature dancers. She will be performing as part of the UCSB Dance Department Faculty Concert on October 10.

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Where Have You Been?

Well, I ain't been to London to visit the queen, I tell ya that. Actually, I've been busy writing as usual, but also switching providers (then servers). At the end of September, I was furiously trying to get some writing…

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Bring Back the Enlightenment

Great essay by Neal Gabler in the L.A. Times that calls the BushJunta the first Medieval PresidencyGeorge W. Bush's Medieval Presidency Every administration spins the facts to its advantage. As the old adage goes, "Figures don't lie but liars do…

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Italian (Opera) for Beginners: At the beginning of her career, Shu-Ying Li takes on her fourth Butterfly


When asked what will make Shu-Ying Li’s portrayal of Madame Butterfly different in the upcoming production of Opera Santa Barbara (their 24th), the soprano looks down for a few seconds, lost in thought, until surfacing with a broad smile. “Because I’m Shu-Ying!” She then bursts into a laugh, which then spreads to those around her. Miss Li knows that what she has said has made herself sound somewhat of the diva, not befitting someone just beginning a professional career.

But she also knows that its her self-confidence that has gotten her this far, thousands of miles away from her native China, along with dashes of good fortune and helping hands.

The role of Madame Butterfly is one that still goes to more non-Asian sopranos than Asian, although in recent years many able singers from China, Japan, and elsewhere have made the role their own.

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