By Anna Skinner
For the third year, Gregory Hancock’s “SUPERHERO: the story of a man called Jesus” will be returning to the Tarkington in Carmel.
“It’s becoming this annual tradition, audiences have asked for that, they like this production and want it to be an annual Easter holiday tradition,” said Hancock, the director of the show. “We are doing that, this is the sixth time we’ve presented it.”
The first three times the dance performance took place was at Pike Performing Arts Center, until Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre moved to 329 Gradle Dr., Carmel.
The dancers tell the story of the last week of Jesus’s life without any vocals.
“It is a contemporary retelling of that using modern music and contemporary music and I focus on the women in Jesus’s life, his mother and Mary Magdalen and the woman he meets at the well and the woman who wipes his face while carrying the cross,” Hancock said. “I think it is an interesting aspect that hasn’t been looked at as much and women were really important to him.”
Jesus’s relationship with Judas Iscariot is also portrayed. Hancock said the concert starts off with a rock feel and then arcs into more classical music throughout the performance.
“It focuses on Jesus as man more than as a god or savior, just more of a human and focuses on his struggles and having to come to terms with his fate and his destiny as a human being,” Hancock said. “These performances are starting to get a really big audience, church groups are becoming more interested in it. I don’t think you have to be of any particular faith to enjoy the show, it’s an interesting story and it’s a human struggle story.”
The dancers have to tell the story with just their bodies and their motion, and Hancock said they have to be actors as well as dancers to pull of the performance. James Gilmer of Cincinnati, Ohio will play the character of Jesus for his second year.
“James’s interpretation of Jesus is very different, his look is very different than how Jesus was perceived, but that’s the beauty of doing a repertoire piece year after year is seeing different dancers or actors in those roles,” Hancock said. “I like the difference that James brings and the uniqueness that he brings to his interpretation of Jesus, that’s a pretty daunting role to tackle. He’s a beautiful dance.”
Hancock said the audience often times gets very emotional, and experiences a large range of emotions.
“There’s a big arc, the performance is incredibly sad at one point and then incredibly uplifting a few moments later. We go through the resurrection and the crucifixion,” Hancock said. “Some scenes are very sad, very emotional but then it’s very uplifting and it’s light and beautiful at the end.”
Hancock said that the modern, rock feel of music at the beginning of the performance takes people aback at first, but that the feeling gets lost the longer the performance goes on.
“It’s not just about Christianity,” he said, although the two performances do take place over Easter weekend. “People of all faiths can enjoy the beautiful dancing and music.”
SEE THE SHOW
What: “SUPERHERO: the story of a man called Jesus”
Where: The Tarkington at the Center for the Performing Arts, 3 Center Green, Carmel.
When: March 25 and March 26 at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $38.50 for adults, $33.50 for students and seniors. Purchase tickets at www.thecenterfortheperformingarts.org or call 843-3800.