Dark Circles Celebrates Queer Voices with Winter Series
Following 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 LGBTQIA+ 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 LGBTQIA+ 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. Multidisciplinary performance duo and Dance Magazine 2018 "25 to Watch" slowdanger will provide a new score for the creation.
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 LGBTQIA+ 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 Dark Circles Contemporary Dance.
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 LGBTQIA+ 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.