In the weeks leading up to Guelph Dance Festival 2013, some of the amazing dance artists who will perform at the Festival will also share their vision with us here on the blog. These intimate, behind-the-scenes looks will bring us closer to the artistry, process, and experience of dance. We encourage you to not just read these amazing stories, but to ask questions or engage in conversation about dance in our comments section below. Welcome to our 15th anniversary year!
Joshua L. Peugh, choreographer and artistic director of Dark Circles Contemporary Dance—founded in Seoul, Korea, and now based in Dallas, Texas—bring us Jokers in the Deck. Dark Circles Contemporary Dance presents at our On the Stage A performance on Friday, May 31, 8pm, at the River Run Centre. Gala and Talkback session to follow. Book your tickets now!
Joshua: I met Cho Hyun Sang right after I left Universal Ballet Company. I had been commissioned to create a new work for the Opera House in Daegu, and through a mutual friend, Hyun Sang ended up in my cast. While rehearsing the new work we spent countless hours drinking coffee, eating pork, and discussing dance, sometimes until four in the morning. We were a perfect match. We had the same ideas about movement and the purpose of art. We saw a lack of humanity in the dance work being created and presented in Seoul.
After that first performance, we opened a small studio together where we could rehearse and create without the pressures of the Korean dance culture, which was unvaryingly controlled by university professors at that time. We sent our work out to local festivals and continued to receive performances. Eventually, we decided our little enterprise deserved a name. Because of our late night/early morning conversations, Dark Circles seemed like an appropriate choice.
DCCD had its first performance in the spring of 2010. Since then, the company has performed in festivals all over Asia and has begun to bridge the gap between East and West, forming a new branch based in Dallas, Texas. In January, DCCD made its North American debut at Tempe Center for the Arts at Breaking Ground Contemporary Dance and Film Festival with Cosmic Sword. The performance at Guelph Dance will be the second performance for this new American incarnation of the company.
Jokers in the Deck was premiered July 22, 2011 at Arko Arts Theater in Seoul, Korea. It was also my first time on stage with one of my favorite people in the world. I literally bumped into Kim Dong Hyoung in a dance class just as I was starting to panic about the new work I was to create for DCCD’s second full evening program. I couldn't find any available dancers I was interested in working with. Dong Hyoung didn’t stop moving the entire class. I could see his need to move, his pleasure, his obsession with dancing. I asked about him at the front desk and left my business card. When he contacted me a few days later, I asked him if he was available and, without any questions, he appeared at rehearsal with a smile on.
During the rehearsal process it rained almost everyday, but the work was so easy. Dong Hyoung’s willingness and curiosity were inspiring. He was gentle and quiet and our work together allowed me to answer some hard questions about fate that were spinning in my mind. I treasured every minute I spent making Jokers. It’s my personal favorite piece of work I’ve choreographed. I can’t wait to share it with you.
Joshua L. Peugh is Choreographer and Artistic Director of Dark Circles Contemporary Dance, Associate Choreographer of Bruce Wood Dance Project, and Adjunct Lecturer of Dance Composition at Southern Methodist University. In 2006, Joshua moved to South Korea to join Universal Ballet Company where he performed soloist and featured roles in the works of Ohad Naharin, Christopher Wheeldon and others. After two and a half years with the company, Joshua left UBC and founded his own company, Dark Circles Contemporary Dance, in Seoul. Since then, he has created work for festivals all over Asia and North America. His most recent works are Cosmic Sword, White Elephant, and Slump. Joshua lives in Dallas, Texas.
Kim Dong Hyoung is a native of Seoul, South Korea. He began his dance career as a back-up dancer and hip-hop trainer for some of Korea's top pop stars. He trained and coached the original Korean cast of the musical Billy Elliot. Dong Hyoung has performed works by choreographers Kiki Soh (Pas Troupe), Tovaris Wilson (choreographer for Janet Jackson), Free (choreographer for Omarion), and Bruce Wood. In 2011, Dong Hyoung joined Dark Circles Contemporary Dance and has performed internationally, winning awards in Korea and Japan for his performances in Jokers in the Deck. Dong Hyoung is also a consultant with Bruce Wood Dance Project.