Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre celebrates 20 years

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CELEBRATION! will feature highlights from past shows. (Submitted image)

By Heather Collins

Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre will celebrate the beginning of its 20th anniversary season at The Tarkington at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel Sept. 22 and 23.

The company was established as a professional dance company in 1997. In the past 20 years, GHDT has presented more than 150 works by artistic director and primary choreographer Gregory Hancock. GHDT is the resident professional dance company at The Tarkington at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel.

Hancock

For the anniversary, GHDT will present “CELEBRATION!” It will feature memorable performance highlights from the past 20 years, including archived favorites, excerpts from previous performances and Hancock’s newest work, “Every Day…Every Moment.”

Hancock said, on a personal level, the past 3 1/2 years have changed him in several ways. In recent years, Hancock dealt with the loss of his mother and was diagnosed with cancer. As a result, he said he has chosen to create even more personal pieces than ever before. He is also celebrating his 3 1/2-year mark of being cancer-free.

In 2014, Hancock created “Until There is No More,” a personal piece about cancer and fear. Last year, he debuted “The Violin Under the Bed,” a piece about the love and legacy of his mother, Florence Marie Hancock.

In the past 20 years, the company has performed at the American Teluga Association National Convention at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., for an audience of more than 14,000; appeared at the 11th International Baltic Ballet Festival in Riga,Latvia; won a Regional Emmy for Best Arts Programming for the musical “La Casa Azul”; and earned critical acclaim locally and internationally.

Hancock’s newest work, “Every Day… Every Moment,” explores the human emotions of loss, grief and love.

“’Every Day…Every Moment’ is about loss, grief and love and how there is no finite period of time when things stop or change. For me, loss, grief and love have simply become a bigger part of who I am,” Hancock said. “I have taken challenges, loss, grief and love and turned them into creativity and beauty. It is a way for me, through my art, to show how I feel and,  hopefully, help others understand loss better and connect to my work in a different way. I believe at some point in our lives we will all carry something difficult with us. What we carry every moment and every day can sometimes be seen but is often invisible.”

Hancock has captivated audiences with his poignant, thought-provoking and heartfelt productions. His works often portray social, cultural, historical and spiritual issues and address the issues of human rights and dignity.

GHDT board member Michael Davison said Hancock is at the top of his game. Davidson noted that 20 seasons is extraordinary for a nonprofit dance company.

“The spectacle of dance is second to none,” Davidson said.

For information, visit gregoryhancockdancetheatre.org.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: CELEBRATION! The show will include a trip down memory lane featuring some of GHDT’s favorite highlights and classic performance pieces, including excerpts from “Bolero,” “1968,” and Hancock’s newest piece, “Every Day… Every Moment.”

WHEN: 7 p.m. Sept. 22 and 23

WHERE: The Tarkington at the Center for the Performing Arts

TICKETS: Contact The Tarkington box office at 317-843-3800

Looking ahead 

Hancock said his plan for the future is to stay in Carmel and continue to enhance the lives of people in the community through art.

“I’m really grateful for our loyal audiences that have supported us over the past 20 years,” he said.

Although the company has had great success, Hancock said as a grass-roots company, it still heavily relies on the support of the community.

“I’ve learned how to make something spectacular on a shoe-string budget,” Hancock said.

Hancock said attendance is vital for the future of GHDT. He encourages the community to discover how dance can move people.

“People always find our company surprising. There’s always something that really connects people with our work,” Hancock said.

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