Dark Circles Dances Into Bigger Space for Its Annual Winter Series

Critics of the Morning Song; Dancers featured Joshua Peugh and Alex Karigan Farrior
Critics of the Morning Song; Dancers featured Joshua Peugh and Alex Karigan Farrior
Stephanie Crousillat

Dark Circles Contemporary Dance is back with their annual Winter Series, but don't go to their usual performance location, because they've moved. Get your phones out and type this in to Google Maps: Erma Lowe Hall, 3000 S University Drive, Fort Worth. Dark Circles will be premiering two new pieces -- one from Artistic Director Joshua Peugh, and one from guest choreographer James Gregg -- and restaging a duet that first premiered in October, at this newly renovated black box theater on the campus of Texas Christian University, January 29-31.

This move also reflects the growth of Peugh as a choreographer whose reach has extended beyond Texas to New York and even to Germany in 2014. He has gained quite the following, which is helped locally by his position at Southern Methodist University and many guest teaching positions -- he will also be teaching master classes for the dance students at TCU in this coming week along with guest choreographer Gregg. In 2015, he was named one of Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch". With all of this press following him, they might need the space that this new location provides.

"We had outgrown our old venue...[and] we now have ten dancers in the company and the stage was starting to look too full; our movement reflected the lack of space. But what I love about the Sanders Theatre is the intimacy of being so close to the performers/audience. In the Erma Lowe Hall Studio Theatre we have that intimacy, but also more dance space and seating," says Peugh.

It will be interesting to see how their movement looks in this new space, and what it has inspired Peugh to create with his premiere of his latest piece, "You and Me."

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"The piece is constantly developing, but it is inspired by video games like Super Mario and Donkey Kong. I'm using 8-bit era sounds to create the atmosphere. It is meant to be a sci-fi world where we can explore human connections. The movement vocabulary is a mixture of classical dance and b-boying," says Peugh.

He will also be restaging a duet entitled "Critics of the Morning Song," which first premiered in New York in October 2014. Created for himself and dancer Alex Karigan Farrior, it was originally commissioned for The Dance Gallery Festival's Level UP program. The centerpiece is the old song, "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows," performed by three different artists, which explores the idea of missed connections and expectations.

The third piece to be presented comes from guest choreographer James Gregg (who has danced with Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal and RUBBERBANDance). Peugh first met Gregg last year when they were both in residency creating new works for Philadelphia's BalletX.

"We spent a lot of time together after rehearsals and really enjoyed the other's perspective on dance and moving. I enjoyed watching his creation process and thought his work would suit Dark Circles well ... So far, so good!" says Peugh.

The work, "Boonflood, U.S.A.," is set in an American Gothic landscape and features original music that has been commissioned from Austin-based musician Jordan Moser. Gregg met Moser when he was working with Ballet Austin in the spring of 2014 -- Moser is always a dancer with the company -- and developed a plan to create a folksy atmospheric soundtrack for this dance.

While the music will not be played live, Moser will be in attendance for the opening performance and for a Q&A moderated by Dallas Theater Center's Joel Ferrell.

8 p.m. January 29-31 at the Erma Lowe Hall, Studio Theatre, at Texas Christian University, 3000 S. University Drive, Fort Worth, $12-20.


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