Fresh Moves: Dark Circles Presents New Work in a New Space for the New Year


FORT WORTH, TX — For its Winter Series, Dark Circles Contemporary Dance (DCCD) will unveil YOU AND ME, a world premiere by Founder and Artistic Director Joshua L. Peugh, as well as Critics of the Morning Song, whichrecently premiered in New York at The Ailey Citigroup Theater. The company has also commissioned a new work by internationally renowned choreographer James Gregg with original music by Austin-based musician Jordan Moser. Winter Series will take place January 29-31, 2015 at the Erma Lowe Hall, Studio Theatre on the TCU campus at 8:00 PM. Tickets are $12-20.

Recently selected as one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” for 2015, Dark Circles’ Founder and Artistic Director Joshua L. Peugh has had a remarkable year. He has created four new works for his own company as well as world premieres for Philadelphia’s BalletX, L.A.’s BODYTRAFFIC, and Washington D.C.’s Company E.Despite the constant traveling, Peugh has continued to drive his young company forward. For their Winter Series, they have moved to a larger performance space on the campus of Texas Christian University. “I’m very excited to start building a relationship with the TCU community and the students in the School for Classical & Contemporary Dance,” says Peugh.

The recently renovated Erma Lowe Hall, Studio Theatre seats 141, so it is still an intimate venue. “It’s important to me that the audience be physically close to the dancers,” Peugh explains. “The intimate nature of smaller spaces allows for a more electric shared experience between the viewers and the performers; it also makes it easier to get lost in the fantasies we are trying to create.” 

Aside from the new venue, the program itself provides exciting new things. The company has commissioned Montreal-based choreographer James Gregg to create a new work. Quickly emerging as a choreographer in high demand, Gregg has danced with Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, RUBBERBANDance, and Azure Barton and Artists. His work, described as “hard-hitting” and “compelling” (Portland Montly), has been set on BalletX, Northwest Dance Project, and Springboard Danse Project, among others. His new work for DCCD features original music by Austin-based musician Jordan Moser (it is worth noting, Moser is a company dancer with Ballet Austin).

Peugh’s new creation for the Winter Series, YOU AND ME, includes a minimal techno soundtrack, vintage arcade sounds, and features DCCD’s newest dancer and recent graduate of University of Missouri, Kansas City, Conservatory of Music and Dance, David Cross. Cross, who began his training as a b-boy, complements the company’s imaginative movement quality and adds a fresh voice to the mix. 

The icing on the cake is Peugh’s Critics of the Morning Song, whichpremiered in October in New York City at The Ailey Citigroup Theater. The piece—commissioned for The Dance Gallery Festival’s esteemed Level UP program—is a duet between Peugh and dancer Alex Karigan Farrior who joined the company last spring. The piece showcases Peugh’s sense of humor and delicacy, which has become the company’s signature.

“We have to keep growing and pushing our boundaries,” Peugh says. “I want to keep things light-hearted but a bit uncomfortable too; that’s the way I’ve been able to keep creating what I hope is thought-provoking material that speaks truthfully to real human beings.”  

Performance Dates:

Winter Series: January 29-31, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Venue Information:

Erma Lowe Hall, Studio Theatre

Texas Christian University

3000 S. University Dr.

Fort Worth, TX 76129

In the Studio with DCCD Dancer Julie Kaye

The past week has been both an exciting and intense one for Dark Circles Contemporary Dance. We are just over two weeks away from the premiere of White Day at the Hardy and Betty Sanders Theatre in Ft. Worth, and since Tuesday, we have been working with guest choreographer Louis Acquisto on his new work, Nemesis Variations. Though currently based in San Francisco, Louis is a St. Louis native and Southern Methodist University alum ’09. I met him for the first time at our first rehearsal last week, but already it feels as if I’ve known Louis much longer. Perhaps that feeling stems from the fact that we both graduated from Division of Dance at SMU - even though our time there did not overlap, the common experiences we encountered during our years as undergrads make me feel like we are a part of the same SMU family.

Nemesis Variations is extremely different in both style and concept from Marshmallow and White Day, the other two works that will be performed in the spring program. This has made the past week challenging and even more exciting because we are getting the chance to explore a different style of movement as a company. Although this is my first season with DCCD, I’ve already become accustomed to the dynamics between all of the dancers and Josh as artistic director, choreographer, and fellow dancer – all roles that he typically rotates between multiple times within the course of one rehearsal. This week, the dynamics have shifted as Louis has taken over the role of choreographer, giving Josh more time to observe, manage, and direct. As a choreographer, Louis is fun, energetic, and also demanding. The process has been a constant adventure of learning choreography, work-shopping movement as a group, and even doing some individual choreographic assignments. From the first rehearsal, Louis expressed that the movement should feel good and asked that we share with him when something didn’t feel right so he could change it. I have great respect for the amount of trust he has bestowed on us as dancers by being open to our opinions throughout the creative process.

Louis has a very clear vision for this piece, and each section works to reiterate his choreographic statement in a new setting. Dancing the piece requires a transformation – while the concept is unchanging, the characters do change. There is no beginning, middle, and end - rather, the piece is comprised of snapshots from various landscapes that seem to be worlds apart. The structure is fascinating and complex – I feel as though I am an actor in six different plays that, despite the different scripts, costumes, and character names, all have the same ending. This structure speaks to the universality of Louis’s message, which I think will come across very clearly in the performance. While Louis shared with us the background of the piece during the second rehearsal, he again has given us a generous amount of freedom, asking that we form our own personal interpretation for the piece.

As a 2013 graduate, it is encouraging for me to see how just four years of experience in the real world can foster such an enormous amount of growth and artistic maturity while still calling on the fundamentals acquired through the dance program at SMU. One of the most special things about DCCD is how connected we all are despite the wide range in experience. Each day in rehearsal, I have the privilege of learning from multiple generations of SMU graduates who came before me, current SMU and Booker T. Washington students and alumni, and other Dallas-based dancers. It is exciting to see how each of our experiences have overlapped throughout the years, how we have crossed paths, and how each individual’s path has been shaped by other influences along the way. I see role models in those both older and younger than me. To me, this sense of community and the shared love for movement that has brought us together is what dance is all about.

Julie Kaye, Dancer, Dark Circles Contemporary Dance