Aimless Young Girl, Aimless Young World

Dancer and recent SMU alum Kelsey Rohr writes about the creation of Joshua L. Peugh’s Aimless Young Man


As we get ready to present our first free, interactive, behind-the-scenes program this Saturday called DCCD Undressed, I have never felt so naked—emotionally, of course. Besides the typical feelings of aimlessness associated with my recent alumnae status, I am also involved in the creation of Josh’s new work titled Aimless Young Man.

We are in the studio six days a week working. But, this work feels different from any other of Josh’s creation processes. This one has a very specific story where I am required to play more than just the role of dancer. Especially in Josh’s work, sharing a story through dance comes naturally, but when the story is about martyrdom in the 21st century I must dig a little bit deeper. So, from five to ten o'clock, I am not just a dancer but also a researcher, an investigator. On our breaks, and as a group, we excavate information, uncovering images and articles that might help us communicate this story.

We work with a heightened level of sensitivity because the material that we collect requires it. We record our emotional reactions to images of torn and battered bodies and try to rely those reactions through movement. Just last rehearsal, we watched a video of a mourning ritual where the mourners repeatedly beat on their chests. As we tried to copy their movement, we questioned: how does this make me feel? How can I communicate this feeling to the audience? And in most instances, the movement material that Josh creates for this piece makes me feel naked, undressed, and vulnerable.

And, as I take on this new journey in my life post-graduation, I remain open to these vulnerable experiences. I look forward to the Undressed performance where I can wonder around aimlessly some more exposing myself, the creation process, and the world around me but this time, in front of an audience.

DCCD Undressed | Saturday, May 23 | Preston Center Dance | 2PM

Aimless Young Man | World Premiere | October 9-11 | Erma Lowe Hall, Studio Theatre 

Backstory: Dancer Emily Bernet writes about the creation of Mike Esperanza's 'NUCLEUS'

As we approach the start of our second season in the US, the last couple of months have been both busy and exciting for Dark Circles Contemporary Dance. We are currently in the middle of a two-week residency with Mike Esperanza, New York based choreographer and artistic director of BARE dance company, and it has been a whirlwind of creation and exploration. 
Mike began the process with clear ideas and images that continue to develop as the piece progresses. Along with Mike’s unique movement, the piece will incorporate lighting and projections that reflect images of sunlight, the heart, and the cosmos. He moves quickly, following a constant stream of inspiration. As he creates he keeps us involved, following his every weight shift and direction change. The piece incorporates a range of dynamics, and Mike is helping us discover how to make the energy of the work build and fall like a wave, bringing the images together into one idea.
Mike encourages us to personalize the movement and keep it alive so that no two runs are exactly alike. Though we focus on clarity in both the movement and the message, he doesn’t want the work to become routine or robotic. I appreciate the trust Mike has for us as dancers, and I feel fresh and fully engaged in the work with every rehearsal.  
The images Mike has created are complex in organization and phrasing, creating dynamic relationships between each of us and exploring the motion of action and reaction. Like Chadi El-Koury’s work Words in Motion, which will be also be presented in our Fall Concert, Mike Esperanza’s choreography requires us to listen to each other as we dance. The piece relies on our connections, both physical and mental. While working with Mike, I feel that our trust in each other is growing. The height of the piece includes complex series of lifts and moments in which we are launched across the stage into another dancer’s arms. I see that we are slowly starting to take more risks, and Mike encourages us to keep taking these risks further every day. 
Mike’s residency has provided us with an opportunity to continue our artistic growth, and as always, has been a lot of fun. Mike’s creativity has challenged me to move in new ways and brought us closer as a company. I am extremely excited to premiere this new work in our Fall Series in September.

Fall Series will take place September 4-6 at the Hardy and Betty Sanders Theatre at 8:00 PM. Tickets are $12-20.