Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre will look to past with 25th Season Celebration Concert


Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre’s opening performance will set the tone for the season.

The GHDT 25th Season Celebration Concert is set for 7 p.m. Aug. 26-27 at The Tarkington at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel.

“The entire season, except for ‘There’s No Place Like Home’ and ‘The Nutcracker,’ will be selections from the company’s vast and eclectic repertoire,” said Hancock, GHDT executive artistic director. “The company is known for many of its full-length pieces. However, there are numerous smaller pieces that have not been seen for quite a while. The 25th season is a perfect time to showcase the diverse repertoire of the company, highlighting a broad scope of powerful, moving, intimate and epic stories told through the art of dance.”

In the opening concert excerpts or entire pieces represent six distinctly different pieces from the GHDT repertoire.

Hancock said numerous factors are involved in the selection of pieces to include in repertoire programs, such as length and style, how the program can be structured, how the costumes complement each other and what pieces showcase the current dancers well.

“All of this can make for a challenging selection process,” Hancock said. “With such a large repertoire it is impossible to tell the complete history of the company in one season, but the 2022-23 season will offer some insight on how the company has survived and flourished over the years.

The company rehearses six to eight weeks for each production. Programming is set a minimum of one to two years in advance. For all the productions planned this season, we have the pieces and/or excerpts that will be in each production determined.

“However, with repertoire productions, there can be some freedom to make changes, if needed. The beauty of repertoire concerts is that audiences are entertained with a variety of shorter works and can experience the varied textures of dance and storytelling.”

Abigail Lessaris has been a Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre company dancer since 2015. She became a student of The Academy of GHDT in 2009.

“I feel the perfect way to celebrate 25 years of Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre is to honor the history of the company while diving into the exciting future,” Lessaris said. “This entire season is full of Gregory Hancock’s repertoire, which is a beautiful look into the foundation of GHDT. At the same time, we are in the process of transforming our own space into a gorgeous black box theater, which is a great glimpse into the future.”

Lessaris said she looks forward to performing every piece in the concert.

“But the one that sticks out to me the most is ‘The Rapture,’” she said. “It is a whimsical piece that is inspired by a Latvian fairytale. I’ve never had the pleasure of performing this piece in the past. It’s an exciting new adventure for all of the dancers.”

Following the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and some health issues, Hancock said it is special to celebrate this season.

“The arts are constantly challenging, but the past few years have given the company, as well as me, personally, so many new and unique challenges,” he said. “Everything that happens in life, both triumphs and tragedies, are part of life and continue to add to the fabric of my character and my story. I have also made a conscious choice over the past few years to make my work even more personal. Creating art that is extremely personal is frightening and liberating at the same time.

“When art becomes personal, we become vulnerable, but we also learn so much about ourselves.”

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