Thomas Baird

Baroque Dancer, Choreographer, and Reconstructor

Thomas Baird has been active as a performer, reconstructor, choreographer and teacher of baroque dance for over fifteen years. He is founder and co-director of Apollo's Banquet, an ensemble of dancers and musicians that specializes in presenting outstanding choreographies of the early 18th century in concert.

Mr. Baird tours nationally and internationally, appearing at Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival, the Boston Early Music Festival, the Nakamichi Baroque Music Festival, Internationale Frankfurter Tage für Alte Music Feste, the Carmel, California and Eugene, Oregon Bach Festivals, and the Smithsonian Institute. He has appeared as a guest artist with La Belle Danse of Toronto, Les Idées Heureuses of Montréal, the American Classical Orchestra, Musica Viva of New York, the Pacific Baroque Orchestra of Vancouver, the Berkshire Bach Society, the New York Consort of Viols, The Little Orchestra Society (NYC), Atlanta Baroque Orchestra and Chatham Baroque. For six years he was associated with the New York Baroque Dance Company as a soloist, ballet master, choreographer and dance reconstructor.

Classically trained, Mr. Baird has appeared as a guest soloist with many regional ballet companies including the Berkshire Ballet, Pioneer Valley Ballet, The Cecchetti Students' Ballet Company and Rochester City Ballet. He was a member of Ernesta Corvino's Dance Circle Company in New York City for several years. As a modern dancer, he has performed with Senta Driver, Laura Dean, and Gus Solomons, Jr. He has also performed renaissance dance and dances of the 19th and early 20th centuries with the Court Dance Company of New York.

He teaches master classes in baroque dance at The Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, and the Mannes College of Music, as well as many Universities throughout the US, Canada and Japan. Thomas is the first baroque dancer to have taught in Alaska, under the auspices of the Anchorage Opera Guild and Alaska Dance Theatre. Mr. Baird has taught renaissance and baroque dance at the Actor's Movement Studio in New York, Mason Gross School of the Arts (Rutgers University), SUNY Albany, the Mannes Bach Institute and was on the faculty of the Summer Intensive Workshop at the New York School of Classical dance for two years. For five years he taught advanced male theatrical dance technique and dance reconstruction at the Stanford Baroque Dance Workshop directed by Wendy Hilton. He has taught ballet at Sarah Lawrence College, Dance Circle Studio (NYC), the Lawrence A. Wien Center in New York, the Martha Graham Center for Contemporary Dance, and is a regular substitute teacher for Ernesta Corvino in New York.

Mr. Baird has presented his lecture - demonstrations "The Art of Dance Explain'd: Dance Treatises from the 15th to the 18th Centuries" at Princeton University, "The Characters of the Dance" at Bruno Walter Auditorium (Lincoln Center), and "The Dancing Master" at Assumption College (Worcester, MA), Sarah Lawrence College, and Baylor University School of Music (Waco, TX).

Mr. Baird's videography includes Julia Sutton's Il Ballarino, Isa Partsch - Bergsohn's Early Dance Part 2: The Baroque Era, Paige Whitley-Bauguess's Introduction to Baroque Dance: Dance Types, and Yasuko Hamanaka's Fetes de Versailles in Japanese. He can also be seen demonstrating baroque dance steps and phrases as well as 19th century ball dances on the Library of Congress web page. Mr. Baird has also served as a period movement consultant for 17th and 18th century plays such as Moliere's "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme" and "Le Malade Imaginaire." He most recently served in this capacity for a production of Sheridan's "School for Scandal" directed by Mark Lamos at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ.

In 1999, Mr. Baird choreographed an original baroque entertainment, "Images of Versailles," which was the first collaboration between students from the Joffrey Ballet School/New School BFA Program in Dance and the Mannes College of Music. In 2001, Thomas served as the Baker artist-in-residence at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, where he taught baroque dance and choreographed the College's production of Purcell's "Dido and Aeneas." Also, in 2001, Mr. Baird co-directed, along with baroque dancer Paige Whitley-Bauguess, the professional premiere of the 17th century courtly entertainment, "Le Mariage de la Gross Cathos" in Tokyo. As part of the Dunbar Early Music Festival in 2002, he and Ms. Whitley-Bauguess co-choreographed Northwestern Universiy's productions of Purcell's "Dido and Aeneas" and "The Fairy Queen." This year, through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Thomas and Paige co-choreographed a production of Blow's "Venus and Adonis", as well as an evening of 17th century Spanish dances for exclusive performance with Chatham Baroque.

For the past five years he has directed the East Coast Baroque Dance Workshop at Rutgers University, which draws students from all over the US, Canada, Belgium, England and Japan. Recently, he was the Period Movement Coach for the Broadway productions of O’Neill’s “A Touch of the Poet,” and, at Lincoln Center Theater, Sheridan’s “The Rivals.” In 2005, he made his Metropolitan Opera debut as a choreographer, providing period dances for the US premiere of Franco Alfano’s “Cyrano de Bergerac.” This season he has choreographed and performed period dances from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern eras, for the New York Philharmonic’s Young People’s Concerts at Avery Fisher Hall.