‘Superhero’ blends ballet with essence of Holy Week

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Although set in an unspecified place, costumes and set design of “Superhero”are inspired by the culture and clothing of India. (Submitted photo)

This weekend, the Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre begins their production of “Superhero: The Story of a Man Called Jesus,” a modern full-length ballet chronicling the finals days of Jesus’ life through the eyes of the women around him. With two performances near the end of Holy Week and just prior to Easter, “Superhero” is hoping to blend the classic Easter story with dance, musicand a new atmosphere that promises to be a very spiritual experience.

Hancock

Gregory Hancock, director of “Superhero” and the dance theater’s artistic director, has been with the production since it was first conceived.

“‘Superhero’ is set in any time andany place, although with costuming, I have chosen to have an India feel. This is partly a personal choice, as much of my work is inspired by the culture and themes of India,” said Hancock.“The set consists of several scrolls of writings from the Gospels written in Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic. Dancers also wear head coverings that have text written on them as well. This was chosen to surround the dancers with inspiration and add more spirituality into the piece.”

By focusing on the story from the perspective of Jesus and the women around him during his most difficult times, “Superhero” is hoping to portray a unique version of the spiritual tale.

“I chose to portray Jesus as a common man who ultimately became divine and the son of God.  The piece shows his human battles of accepting his destiny and the pain this causes to the people surrounding him. The women surrounding him give more humanity to his struggles,” said Hancock.

The unique aspects of ballet allow for entirely new aspects of the story to come to life. In this case, the cross Jesus is forced to carry and later crucified upon has been personified.

“The cross is also portrayed through a dancer. There is an absolutely beautiful duet between the cross and Jesus. It is difficult to describe, simply something that has to be experienced.”

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