Vampire and 'Twilight' Craze Extends to the World of Ballet: 'The Casket Girls' Premieres Halloween Weekend

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The Gregory Hancock Dance Theater of Indianapolis, Indiana will present the world premiere of the original ballet 'The Casket Girls' this Halloween weekend, October 29-30. The modern, gothic, vampire ballet is a creative collaboration between Artistic Director Gregory Hancock, and alternative composer and music producer Cory Gabel. The plot of The Casket Girls focuses on the legendary ghost/vampire story surrounding the 'real' Casket Girls, and its origins in New Orleans circa 1750. The story is surrounded in myth and actual fact, and the creators have enlisted the help of vampire and dance enthusiasts via the Internet to help shape the back story of their characters.

The Casket Girls

Through social network sites, Twitter and our own blog, fans have actually helped shaped the back story, develop and name characters, and contributed their own research to The Casket Girls.

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The Gregory Hancock Dance Theater of Indianapolis, Indiana will present the world premiere of the original ballet 'The Casket Girls' this Halloween weekend, October 29-30.

The modern, gothic, vampire ballet is a creative collaboration between Artistic Director Gregory Hancock, and alternative composer and music producer Cory Gabel.

The plot of the Casket Girls focuses on the legendary vampire story surrounding the 'real' Casket Girls, and its origins in New Orleans circa 1750. The story is surrounded in both myth and actual fact, and the creators have enlisted the help of vampire and dance enthusiasts via the Internet to help shape the back story of their characters.

Hancock and Gabel began the collaboration 8 months ago, inspired by a trip Hancock had recently taken to New Orleans. The Casket Girls legend is familiar to many who frequent the ghost and vampire tours of the city. To aid in the research and development of the project, the pair created a blog and website - which quickly opened an active dialogue with fans. "Our online efforts began as a way to let dance and music fans see the creative process between the collaborators. It quickly became evident that both dance and vampire/Twilight/True Blood fans wanted to be included in the creative process, an idea we both embraced," says Gabel. "Through social network sites, Twitter and our own blog, fans have actually helped shaped the back story, develop and name characters, and contributed their own research to The Casket Girls."

With the recent explosion of interest in all things vampire, fueled by shows like True Blood and the book and film series Twilight, vampire and Halloween fans have spread the word on The Casket Girls, and have been closely following the development of the ballet ever since.

The story will center around the known actual events of the Casket Girls, a group of young women sent by the French court to New Orleans in the 1700's to make suitable wives for landowners and bachelors in New Orleans. The tale tells of the girls' interception by the Ursuline convent, and the subsequent strange happenings of murder, death, and empty coffins found within the convent. Actual documents about the happenings of that era are sealed by the Vatican, and supposed ties to the first vampire activity in New Orleans are often linked with the arrival of the women.

The production will feature an original orchestral/alternative/electronica score by Gabel, Hancock's progressive choreography, and gothic costuming and lighting. Dancing vampires and nuns will abound. "This will not be your grandmother's ballet", says Gabel. "We were aiming more for The Nutcracker meets Nine Inch Nails".

The Casket Girls will premiere in Indianapolis this Halloween weekend, and will coincide with free podcasts, music downloads and online video. The music score will also be released, and will be available via iTunes and other online services soon.

For more information, visit the Casket Girls Website.

About Gregory Hancock Dance Theater
GHDT is a contemporary dance company that combine modern dance, ballet, pointe, ethnic dance forms and theatre to create a unique style of movement and sense of drama. GHDT has created a large repertoire of over 100 pieces, rich in contrasts, which appeals to a broad-based and eclectic audience. The company also presents full-length contemporary ballets and other dramatic works.

About Cory Gabel
Cory Gabel is an award-winning composer and music producer. He has written original music for film, dance, theater and live entertainment events. He has also released several recordings, both as an instrumental soloist and as a singer/guitarist. He is known for his unique blending of multiple styles, including orchestral, dance, industrial, and alternative rock music. He currently lives and works in the greater Hartford area of Connecticut.

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