Gregory Hancock had plenty of time to create during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
Hancock, executive artistic director of the Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre, will feature that work in “New World Dances” Feb. 11-26 at The Florence at the Academy of Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre in Carmel. There are six weekend performances.
“The collection of dances in this program were all created during the pandemic and were presented in nonconventional ways in the theater, virtually, and on film, so most have never been performed live for audiences,” Hancock said. “During the pandemic, I created a large amount of new work and experienced a great deal of creativity. When we returned to work with masks and social distancing for some time, I talked to the dancers about what they were feeling and experiencing during this unusual time. I wanted the dances to have personal connections and reflect our collective fears and hopes.”
Hancock said dancers expressed a range of emotions.
“Our feelings and emotions were across the board with much diversity,” he said. “At times, we were scared, confused, nervous, depressed and withdrawn. And at other times, we were encouraged, empowered and hopeful. I feel the variety of dances, and the personal emotions imbued into them in ’New World Dances,’ represent all of this.”
Hancock said there were full-length programs: “Dances for a New World: Part One,” “Dances for a New World: Part Two,” and “Dances for a New World: Part Three.”
“All the dances in this program are drawn from those three full-length works,” Hancock said. “It was difficult to choose what should be in this concert, but I tried to select excerpts that would convey the spectrum of emotions we experienced throughout the pandemic.”
Company dancer Abigail Lessaris said she is excited to share the pieces with an in-person audience.
“As we celebrate 25 years of Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre, it is important that we celebrate the challenges we have faced as well as the victories,” Lessaris said. “Being able to bring dance to Carmel as COVID-19 consumed our world is an incredible part of our history now. ‘New World Dances’ provides our patrons with a look into that time. I love that we can share these creations with our audience and celebrate that triumph.”
The production is the first full program at The Florence, which is named for Hancock’s late mother, Florence Marie Hancock. The 56 permanent seats are tiered. A row of 25 folding chairs can be added.
“The intimate setting creates a powerful connection between audience members and performances, which enhances the experience for both,” Hancock said.
For more, visit gregoryhancockdancetheatre.org.