Writer / Janelle Morrison
Photographers / Karl Zemlin, David Chan, Robert Gogh and Michael Jack
The Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre (GHDT) will portray the monumental events that marked the last week of Jesus Christ’s life in the return of their production, “SUPERHERO: The story of a man called Jesus.”
Back for the third consecutive year by popular demand, this critically acclaimed, full length modern ballet brings to life the struggles of Jesus Christ and the women surrounding him as well as his complicated relationship with Judas Iscariot.
Featuring world class dancers, award-winning choreography, vivid costuming and contemporary music, artistic director
Gregory Hancock skillfully draws audiences into the poignant emotion of Jesus’ story while evoking the universality of Jesus’ message and teachings.
Hancock said that his inspiration for this particular production came from a trip to San Antonio, Texas.
“The production was inspired when I went on a trip to San Antonio that occurred over Easter several years ago,” Hancock explained. “The locals were doing a ‘Passion’ play on the streets of San Antonio which was very interesting. It was particularly interesting to see people dressed in robes, carrying a cross and Roman soldiers mixed with tourists carrying cameras along the streets and cars just passing by. It motivated me to make a contemporary version of the greatest story ever told.
“It is still such a relevant story. It is a universal story of love, compassion and sacrifice. I focused on the relationships between Jesus and his mother and with Mary Magdalene, in addition to the series of events leading up to his crucifixion. In regards to the costumes and music, the costume designs reflect my affiliation and deep connection to India. The production begins with a sort of ‘rock concert’ feel, then the piece evolves into more classical scores that allow the audience to connect with the performances.”
Hancock has been pleased with the growing momentum that his company has experienced, especially in the wake and recent success of his incredible debut of “ La Casa Azul.”
“We were pleased with the attendance with both runs of that production,” he enthused. “People who were not familiar with our productions were able to discover us. ‘SUPERHERO’ has been doing well for us over the last couple of years, and that is why we have decided to make it an annual production in hopes that it will become an Easter tradition for our patrons. This is another very personal piece for me, even more so now after the events of the past couple of years.
“There are certain scenes within the show that are more difficult for me to work on now, and it has become a deeper part of me now. It holds a different meaning for me now than when I first created the piece. It is nice when art evolves like that and changes with the creator. I have new perspectives and emotions that I bring to the performance and that I share with the cast. It is a personal journey that I can share with them, and that gives them a different approach to the piece.”
The GHDT’s board president, Ivy Heazeltine, spoke about their goals for 2016.
“The work is brilliant, enjoyable and entertaining for our audiences,” Heazeltine expressed. “‘SUPERHERO’ is a remarkable production that will have an everlasting effect, and we hope that our patrons will return year after year. We continue to focus on building connections and strengthening our relations throughout our community and central Indiana. We hope to continue to see the growth in our audiences and their continued enjoyment of our productions.”
“SUPERHERO” features talented guest artists James Gilmer as Jesus and Liang Fu as Judas Iscariot as well as GHDT company dancers Sarah Sigman as Mother Mary and Hannah Brown as Mary Magdalene.
Considered one of GHDT’s signature works, “SUPERHERO” has been described as a “whirl of energy through color, light, movement and sound” and is a timeless retelling of the story of a man who changed history and the world around him forever.