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Dark Circles Dance Company premieres “Ten-Gallon” this weekend in El Paso

Anthony Chacon and Chadi El-Khoury in Dark Circles Contemporary Dance "TEN-GALLON"
Heras Creatives
Anthony Chacon and Chadi El-Khoury in Dark Circles Contemporary Dance "TEN-GALLON"

After Joshua Peugh moved back to his hometown of Las Cruces two years ago with his “Dark Circles Contemporary Dance Company,” he began thinking about creating a dance that would challenge some of the stereotypes and tropes of the “Wild West.” The result is “Ten-Gallon,” a world premiere that the company will present in four performances this week and weekend.

This interview is pieced together from an hour that Intermezzo host Leora Zeitlin spent with Peugh on air during KRWG’s Fall Membership Drive in September. During that time, Peugh explained his motivation for creating “Ten-Gallon,” the collaborative process he developed with everyone involved – five dancers, the composer, the lighting and costumer designers – and how they reexamined traditional ideas of masculinity as presented in westerns and tried to transform them for this work.

“Our reality of the ‘western’ is not the same as the cultural fantasy of the west,” Peugh said. He first invited his dancers to write down everything that “cowboy” and “vaquero” meant to them, creating movements to express those ideas, and examining who has been traditionally left out or misrepresented in western narratives. “I’m more interested in the audience leaving with questions than answers,” he said.

The musical clip is original music written and performed for “Ten-Gallon” by Brandon Carson.

Performances of “Ten-Gallon” take place this week in the Black Box Theater in Pebble Hills High School in El Paso on Thursday (Oct. 12), Friday (Oct. 13), and Saturday (Oct. 14) at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday (Oct. 15 at 3 p.m.