Hancock Dance Theatre presents ‘The Casket Girls’

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Cory Gabel and Gregory Hancock collaborated on “The Casket Girls” for the first time in 2009, creating a one-act play.

“From the get-go we knew we would expand it to a full-length play,” Gabel said. “After it ran we were definitely happy with it and the audience was, too. We wanted to expand it to a full play, but life and other projects got in the way.”

Now, Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre’s full-length production of “The Casket Girls,” a modern gothic vampire ballet, is ready for its debut at 7 p.m. Sept. 21-22 at The Tarkington at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel.

“I worked with Gregory to craft the story and characters, but my bigger role is the music,” said Gabel, a composer/musician from Simsbury, Conn.

Gabel composed the mostly instrumental music.

“There is a little bit of vocals here and there,” Gabel said. “There is an alternative rock style and some orchestral parts, but it’s more rock and roll. With the vampire element, it’s meant to be an edgier, darker show.”

Gabel begin working on the new music in the spring.

Gabel said apart from a few small tweaks, Act I is presented as it was in 2009.

“Having a vampire as your main character, they don’t die,” Gabel said. “Act II we are leaping forward to the future. Act I roughly was in the 1750s, and Act II is now closer to modern times.”

The legend has “The Casket Girls” arriving in New Orleans in 1729. Hancock described the play as a fascinating tale of the origins of vampires in New Orleans.

“I thought it was perfect to create a theatrical dance production around this legend,” Hancock stated. “Audiences will find this little-known story interesting and engaging.”

Gabel said the dancers are enjoying it as well.

“Vampires are fun,” said Gabel, who said he gravitates toward composing music for darker material.

For more, visit gregoryhancockdancetheatre.org.

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