Dark Circles Celebrates Queer Voices with Winter Series

Dark Circles Celebrates Queer Voices with Winter SeriesFollowing four sold-out performances of Joshua L. Peugh's Aladdin, Habibi in the Elevator Project at AT&T Performing Arts Center in October, Dark Circles Contemporary Dance (which is being featured as WaterTower Theatre's Guest Company in Residence) moves to Addison Theatre Centre-the company's new home theatre for 2019-for a Winter Series featuring three world premieres centering on gay identity in America. The new works will explore gay narratives, themes, and ideas and will be performed by a mostly queer company of dancers. Dark Circles has commissioned budding gay choreographers Mark Caserta, Eoghan Dillon, and Mikey Morado for the program. A new creation by Peugh-in collaboration with queer multimedia artist Brian Kenny-closes the evening. Performances will run January 24 - 27, 2019 at Addison Theatre Centre.

Although many dancers and choreographers identify as gay, they are often asked to overlook their sexual identity within choreography and to dance and create roles involving heterosexual partnering in works that highlight heteronormative situations and themes. Dark Circles' Winter Series will provide a chance for its four choreographers to explore more authentic personal narratives, and in the process give the LGBTQ community of Dallas a chance to see themselves truthfully and authentically represented on stage.

The program opens with a new creation driven by the whimsy of childhood and the complexities of gender identity by Mark Caserta and Mikey Morado. "We have both had issues with most straight male figures in our lives, which creates self-imprisonment and a lack of true identity," says Caserta. "Sexuality, physicality, and spirituality all play roles in building the generic lives we've created around our true, organic selves." "With this work we want to create a space and moment to heal ourselves and possibly others from this sort of trauma," says Morado.

Next on the program is a commissioned expansion of Eoghan Dillon's short dance film Boys Are. "Let's all take a second to remember what happens to men and women when we say stuff like 'That's the way boys are,'" says Dillon. "With this opportunity from Dark Circles, I plan to highlight the struggles of our LGBTQ youth, a group of people who feel these pressures the hardest and with whom I connect to strongly."

As part of the Winter Series programming, Dark Circles has paired with Youth First, a program of Resource Center and one of the only youth centers in the DFW area aimed at meeting the needs of LGBTQ youth ages 12-18. The company will be teaching four masterclasses for the teens, which will explore identity and self-expression through movement. "Many queer youths do not feel comfortable in a dance studio, as many dance studios teach a very gender-specific curriculum," says Dark Circles dancer and Community Outreach Coordinator Lena Oren. "Often, queer youth do not associate with these heteronormative gender identities and find they feel 'othered' in the classic dance class setting. Dark Circles hopes to provide an experience where these teens can see people similar to them moving their bodies with confidence and sensitivity."

The Winter Series closes with a new creation by Peugh, who recently received the Natalie Skelton Award for Artistic Excellence from the Dance Council of North Texas. "I'm collaborating on this new work with Brian Kenny, one of my best friends from high school who is now a brilliant multimedia artist exploring themes of changing genders and sexualities," says Peugh. Brandon Carson (composer of Aladdin, Habibi and several other Dark Circles works) will create a new score featuring an extended and deconstructed drum-line cadence. "We're still in the very early stages of devising this new work, but the idea is to transform the dance space into a sports arena where we will explore rituals of masculinity."

"I want to represent my tribe, our needs and desires, acknowledge and push past some of the queer archetypes represented in mainstream media and give them more depth so LGBTQ audience members can see their lives reflected onstage in an honest, genuine way and straight audience members can see their lives reflected in the humanity of another person."

For more information, visit DarkCirclesContemporaryDance.com.

Dark Circles Contemporary Dance was founded in 2010 in Seoul, South Korea. The Company's Dallas-based branch-led by internationally award-winning choreographer and Dance Magazine "25 to Watch," Joshua L. Peugh-has been hailed as "the area's most exciting dance company" (Star-Telegram) and as the "Best Dance Company" by D Magazine and Dallas Observer. The young company has been praised as "frequently stunning, and always fascinating" (DFW.com) and commended for innovative combinations of classical technique and modern movement styles. Since its inception, the company has performed nationally and internationally at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Theater am Aegi (Germany), Seoul Arts Center (South Korea), and at the Ailey Citigroup Theater (New York), among others. Repertory includes works by Joshua L. Peugh, Sidra Bell, Mark Caserta & Mikey Morado, Eoghan Dillon, Gregory Dolbashian, Mike Esperanza, James Gregg, Gabrielle Lamb, Fabio Liberti, and MADBOOTS. DCCD is dedicated to bringing the progressive work of international choreographers and dancers to a worldwide audience.

ABOUT JOSHUA L. PEUGH

Joshua L. Peugh is the Founder and Artistic Director of Dark Circles Contemporary Dance. After graduating from Southern Methodist University, Joshua moved to South Korea to join Universal Ballet Company. Since then, he has created work for festivals in Asia, Europe, and North America, winning awards for his choreography in South Korea, Japan, Canada, and the USA. He was the recipient of the Grand Prize at the McCallum Theatre's 18th Annual Choreography Festival. He was chosen as one of Dance Magazine's 2015 "25 to Watch," and was named "an important discovery" by The New York Times. Joshua recently served as choreographer for legendary soprano Kathleen Battle's concert Underground Railroad - A Spiritual Journey. He has been commissioned to create for BalletX, Ballet Memphis, BODYTRAFFIC, Bruce Wood Dance Project, Company E, Dallas Theater Center, Eisenhower Dance, Korea National Contemporary Dance Company, METdance, Tulsa Ballet, WaterTower Theatre, and Whim W'Him, among others.

ABOUT MARK CASERTA

Mark Caserta, from Philadelphia, trained in many styles at the Creative and Performing Arts HS and the Ailey School. In 2010, he graduated from the University of the Arts with a B.F.A. in Ballet Performance. Mark was a member of Eleone Dance Theater from 2006 - 2010. He was a member of International touring companies Complexions Contemporary Ballet from 2010 - 2014 and Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal from 2014 - 2016 and Camille A. Brown + Dancers in 2017. He has set work on PA Ballet II, the University of the Arts Dance Department, Pace University, Agora Dance and Grace Dance Theater. He has presented work at Steps Lab NYC, the Banff Centre Choreographic Lab, the Brooklyn Dance Festival and is an Emerging Choreographer at Springboard Danse Montreal 2018. Mark is co/founder + co/Director of a NYC dance and film company. He currently resides in Dallas, Texas co/directing the Pre-Professional company at Dance Industry Performing Arts Center.

ABOUT EOGHAN DILLON

Eoghan Dillon was born in County Tyrone, Ireland. At the age of four, he moved to Canada, where he began dancing at the age of 12. In 2012, Mr. Dillon received a full scholarship to study at the Ailey School in New York City, where he studied under many prestigious professionals. Eoghan is currently a company member and assistant rehearsal director with Parsons Dance in NYC, an internationally renowned touring contemporary dance company. Under the direction of David Parsons, he has worked one on one with choreographers Robert Battle, Kate Skarpetowska, Trey McIntyre, and Omar Roman De Jesus and has toured, taught, and choreographed all over the United States and Europe. Eoghan has been featured in international marketing publications, most notably the GAP's "Dress Normal" Campaign. Most recently Eoghan has been asked to join the Flow40 touring dance convention under the direction of Nicholas Drago.

ABOUT BRIAN KENNY

Brian Kenny is a NY based multimedia artist exhibited in galleries, museums and alternative venues in the US, Canada, Russia, Israel and across Europe. In 2004 Brian began an ongoing collaboration with artist Slava Mogutin as SUPERM. Brian's work in fashion includes commissions and print design collaborations for Christian Lacroix (Paris), Walter Van Beirendonck (Belgium), Yacine Aouadi (Paris) , Bruno Magli (Italy), Please Do Not Enter (Los Angeles), Print All Over Me (NYC) and Adam's Nest (Provincetown, MA).

ABOUT MIKEY MORADO

Mikey Morado is a native of Colorado and trained at Artistic Fusion Dance Academy. He received a B.F.A. in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College in New York. Mikey joined Sidra Bell Dance NY where he was a company member from 2011-2015. He has performed works by Sidra Bell, Saar Harari, Mark Morris, Cherice Barton, and Benoit-Swan Pouffer. He currently co-directs the Pre-Professional company at Dance Industry in Plano, TX.

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