Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre is on the road again in Latvia, to tour nine cities from April 12-23. A year ago, the company was invited to perform at the 11th Annual International Baltic Ballet Festival and to be the festival’s primary touring group.

“We won a fan base last year, so now we have been invited by private sponsors to present concerts,” stated Gregory Hancock, GHDT founding artistic director.

In preparation for its tour, the company invited the public to free open rehearsals March 25 and April 1 at its studios at The Performers Edge in Carmel.

March 25 the company was already hitting its stride. By request, they are bringing a shortened version of “Alice and her Bizarre Adventures in Wonderland.” Condensed, this is a much better concert piece than was the original two-act version presented earlier this year. The emphasis is on the bizarre dream, and thus gives the dancers an opportunity to let loose without having to also communicate some sort of redemption message that seemed out of sorts with the ability to just have fun.

Following this 56-minute romp, the second act opens with the company’s true signature work, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” featuring Christine Colquitt and Martin Casanova in four excerpts showing the beautiful relationship between the Gypsy dancer Esmerelda and the deformed bellringer Quasimodo. Virtuoso dancing and characterization lift this work to classic quality.

“River’s Edge” is a beautifully flowing work with moments of whimsy to reflect the changing facets of water and wind. “Li Ma Weesu” celebrates authentic music from Africa. “Birth of the Gods,” voted an audience favorite, is a geometric work to mirror its Olympian concept.

The company will be sharing its trip with NUVO readers through a daily blog from April 13-24 from Liepaja, Ventspils, Jelgava, Valmiera, Ogre, Jekabpils, Rezekne, Daugavpils and Riga. They’ll visit Prague April 24-26 and return to Indianapolis on April 27. To follow the posting, log on to http://nuvo.net/travelBLOG/.

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