Gregory Hancock’s latest original production is a bit different than most of his work.
Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre will present “The Wild Wild West” at Carmel-based The Academy of GHDT, 329 Gradle Dr., Saturdays and Sundays from Feb. 9 to 24. Hancock pays homage to the old Westerns, including music.
“It’s has its serious moments, it has its beautiful moments,” dancer Abbie Lessaris said. “It’s funny and it’s entertaining, in contrast to something like ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ or ‘Casket Girls.’ Those (productions) tell a big, long, beautiful story that has its dark moments and tragic moments. This is light-hearted, funny and a show for everyone.”
Lessaris said the dancers play a variety of roles, including saloon girls, bandits, cowboys, farmers, Native Americans, church ladies and horses.
“Anything you see in the wild West, we’ve got it,” Lessaris said. “That makes it comical. You see someone in a Native American costume, and two minutes later we come out with mustaches and cowboy hats. Sometimes we’re girls, sometimes we’re men.”
Lessaris’ main role is a damsel in distress, falling in love with Tobias, played by Tyler McCants.
Fellow dancer Chloe Holzman portrays a bandit, a saloon girl and a character in a dream sequence.
“I love being able to act and include my dancing with my story,” Holzman said. “There is a lot of emotion that goes into it. There is a really great community. I love that environment.”
Holzman said the costume changes are always hectic.
“When you’re changing your costume, you also have to change your mindset so you can play the next character correctly,” Holzman said. “Getting used to that has been a challenge, but a good one.”
Taylar Green plays a variety of roles, but her primary character is an Indian princess who falls in love with the main character.
“She has to make a choice of family or love,” Green said. “I enjoyed watching Westerns growing up with my grandparents and my parents. This has been fun for me. I wore my Pocahontas indian costume every single day when I was growing up, so it’s fun to wear that again and dance in.”
The event is an annual fundraiser for GHDT. For more, visit gregoryhancockdancetheatre.org