Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre goes ‘Under the Big Top’


Gregory Hancock regards “Under the Big Top” as one of his underrated pieces.

Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre company dancer Chloe Holzman will perform in “Under the Big Top” Aug. 26-28. (Photo by Lydia Moody)

“It’s a nice piece, and sometimes it gets overshadowed by some of our bigger pieces,” Hancock said. “‘Under the Big Top’ is a lot of fun but it’s also poignant, touching and funny and light and sweet. Being a repertoire company, it’s nice to bring pieces back and see them performed by older cast members.

“Our company is strong now with good acting skills. It’s nice to see character development during this process.”

Hancock said the show debuted in 2010 and returned in 2013.

“Under the Big Top” will be presented at 7 p.m. Aug. 26-28 at The Tarkington at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel.

The show is about an Eastern European circus and the circus characters, such as lion tamer, clowns, fortune teller, high-wire walkers, knife throwers and sideshow performers.

The show includes folk, theater and Eastern European music.

Company dancer Abigail Lessaris was a student performer in the 2010 presentation. She was a student and company dance intern when it was staged in 2013.

“This time I’m a member of the traveling circus, and all of the dancers portray different parts throughout the whole show,” Lessaris said. “One of my more featured parts is as the veiled lady. I am enjoying the ensemble dancing. We work well together as a team.”

Lessaris said all the costumes are colorful.

“A lot of moments are fun and comical,” Lessaris said. “But there are some moments that pull you in emotionally. It’s a good show for adults and children alike. It’s a good show to bring families to.”

The student dancers will perform as the animals: two tigers and a leopard.

There are nine company dancers and eight G2 dancers and four smaller students.

“It’s nice to have a little bigger cast,” Hancock said.

The numbers on stage had been limited since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020.

“We like the students to have the opportunity to perform with the company. It’s a special experience for them,” Hancock said. “They have had a long time not being able to perform, so it’s nice to get them back on the stage.”

Hancock said this month’s performance was added because of a shorter performance schedule in 2020 and early 2021.

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