Homer (not Simpson) warned us to beware of such offerings. But last weekend the Gregory Hancock Dance Theater bore gifts that no one could refuse. It’s All Greek to Me started with — what else? — “The Big Fat Greek Wedding Piece.” It featured romance, infectious comedy, even audience participation.
Immediately my eyes darted to the groom, guest artist Ivan Kozlov. Wow! Perfect placement, line, leg extensions, a poignant upper back, plus the star’s certainty of movement. Kozlov’s later solo as Hermes in “Greek Mythology 2003” displayed especially his rhythmic charisma. In this piece Monique Alhaddad also shone as an exciting Pandora, whose shopping bag released all the evils of vanity. Alyona Yakovleva’s “Pygmalion” presented two couples as dreamed pairs of sculptor and lover. But only his own statue, Galatea, finally satisfied him. The choreography, while often indebted to Broadway musical style, showed some inventive partnering. “The Trojan Women” expressed the slaves’ agony in writhing ensemble and solo movement. The dancers maintained balance throughout such demanding material despite handcuffs. For me the intermittent spoken text marred the piece, as I think dance should communicate by movement alone. “The Birth of the Gods” evoked creation through the broadest range of modern choreography. I especially liked the lyrical duet of Alhaddad and Heather King. The star of this and other pieces was the immaculate classical form of Yakovleva. However, the piece was too long to avoid repetition. Perhaps the hammering intensity of the Philip Glass score was simply too trying for un-postmodern me. Hancock mirrored well Glass’ mesmerizing style in two rows of women doing endless bourrees (slightly, constantly moving steps) across the back curtain. Since April the company has reinvented itself. We saw new dancers, a new choreographer, even a new venue: the Indiana Repertory Theatre. The dance community looks forward to more such signs of rebirth!