Hancock’s show plays tribute to late mother


By Mark Ambrogi

nd-1004-violin-under-the-bed-preview-ghdt-mugGregory Hancock understands a personal piece of artwork exposes vulnerability.

“When you put it out there, people can say whatever they want about it,” Hancock said. “When it’s personal, you have a different attachment to it.”

The Carmel-based Gregory Hancock Dance Theater’s season opener is a tribute to his mother.

The second act of the 2016-17 opening show is “The Violin Under the Bed.”  The performances will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 7-8 at The Tarkington at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel.

The title comes from experiences of Hancock’s mother. When his mother was young she cleaned houses to support her family. One home had a violin under the bed. His mother would take it out and look at it but not play it.

Abigail Lessaris portrays the spirit of Florence Hancock. (Submitted photo)

Abigail Lessaris portrays the spirit of Florence Hancock. (Submitted photo)

“When she was young, she wanted to learn to play the violin, play the piano and wanted to be a dancer,” Hancock said. “But she was from a poor family in Kansas and couldn’t afford to do those things, so she had to do sports because sports were free then. She excelled at sports. But she really appreciated the arts. So I got her a violin one Christmas. She never learned to play it, but it was there. Her life had moved to a point where she could have a violin under her bed.

Hancock’s mother, Florence Marie Hancock, died Sept. 21, 2014 at age 88 of a stroke.

“She worked full time at St.Vincent Hospital and wasn’t ill,” Hancock said. “She mowed the law the day before and went to a performance of ours that night. The next day she was gone.”

Hancock said she was more than just his mother.

“She was my teacher, my psychologist, my spiritual advisor, my best friend, my business partner, my travel companion,” Hancock said. “She was really involved in the company and the academy, so it was a big void, both personally and professionally.”

Hancock said the performance is comprised of vignettes about her life.

“The Scarlet Letter” is the first act of the performances, an abstract piece combining the literary classic and the life of Marilyn Monroe.

Hancock is seeking donors to fund a scholarship in his mother’s name. For more, visit gregoryhancockdancetheatre.org.

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