Matt Baker was already a seasoned veteran of concert dance and musical theater when he was first exposed to the circus arts. In 1999 he took over the role of “La Cible” (the Target) in Cirque du Soleil’s Quidam and toured Europe with the show for two years, followed by Central and North America. This included 800 performances for over 1.5 million people. Although he didn’t create the role, he appears as La Cible on the Emmy Award-nominated video release and subsequent DVD of Quidam.
While his first professional experience was in the ballet world his diverse early training included jazz, tap, and modern but emphasized acrobatics. This combination and versatility served him well as he gradually crossed over into musical theater. After arriving in New York in the early 80s and finding his first work in the Joffrey Ballet’s farm system, his New York debut was in the Off B’way production of American Ballet Comedy’s “Funny Feet” at the Lamb’s Theatre in 1987. Soon after that he got his Equity card tumbling in a dress in a production of La Cage Aux Folles. This foreshadowed his being seen tumbling in a dress by over two and a half million people during a span of seven years in Madison Square Garden’s 10-year (annual) run of “A Christmas Carol.” Aside from that, he can say he has performed the choreography of Bob Fosse (original pre-B’way workshop of “Fosse”), Jerome Robbins, Agnes Demille, Jillian Lynn and Susan Stroman.
Under the tutlege of fellow Cirque du Soleil alum, Ivo Geourgiev (Drallion), and during a run of “Children Of Eden” at the Ford’s Theater in Washington D.C., he first began training on straps. As Dance Captain and Assistant Choreographer he also found himself to be the only cover for Ivo’s flying in the show. He learned it and actually had to go on a couple of times. After the contract was over he continued training on the straps and fabric, thinking it a “good upper body workout.” This led to him developing and performing an act on the straps, and over the years and in various productions of “Barnum” and “Carnival!”(Kennnedy Center) he has performed on straps, fabric, static and swinging trapeze, hand to hand, and tight wire.