Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre
Pike Performing Arts Center, Oct. 29-30
"The Casket Girls" premiered as the centerpiece of this program in three parts. Described as "a modern gothic alternative vampire ballet centered on actual New Orleans legends," "The Casket Girls" is partnered with an original score by Cory Gabel. Set in 1729 New Orleans, there is a darkish, teaming, roguish feel that fits the clanging and grinding of the music. The storyline is clearly depicted from the arrival of three women dragging their casket-shaped luggage from ship dock to a town square, with an unpleasant, unsettling succession of events whooshing to an ending that felt rushed and inconclusive - which seemed to be the intent. The program opened with "The Visit," "inspired by the misunderstood religion of Wicca." Candlelight was the focus of corps work that moved into connecting with the "spirits of Earth, Air, Fire and Water." Based on Voodoo, "Papa Legba" shows the transformative qualities of this loas ["a Voodoo saint"]. Of particular note was the lithe and graceful partnering by Sara Little and Martin Casanova. As always, the costumes and lighting were noteworthy. The sameness of the opening moment of each of the dances neatly tied the program into a whole aesthetically, while the presentation of misunderstood beliefs linked the dances philosophically.