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[Dance preview]

A century of Hawkins

UNLV dancers pay tribute to an icon

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Geri Jeter

“The daring and innovative visions of Erick Hawkins rewrite the rules of what dance can tell us.” –Mikhail Baryshnikov

Erick Hawkins (1909–1994) is considered by many to be one of the most influential classic modern dance choreographers of the 20th century. A classics major at Harvard, he became interested in dance while a student. This led him in 1934 to begin his studies with George Balanchine at the School of American Ballet. While there, and with Balanchine’s encouragement, he began composing dances.

After four years with Balanchine, Hawkins decided to branch out, becoming the first man to dance with celebrated modern dancer and choreographer Martha Graham. He danced with her company for 13 years, and performed the male lead in many of Graham’s works, including as the original Husband in Appalachian Spring.

While at the Graham company, Hawkins began exploring the new science of kinesiology—the study of mechanics and anatomy in relation to human movement. Hawkins used these principles, along with his studies in Zen philosophy and haiku poetry, to develop a new method of movement. With his innovative “free-flow” technique, he sought to bring beauty in movement through an effortless flow of energy and a release of bodily tension.

The Details

From the Calendar
Hawkins 100th Project
April 23-24, 8 p.m.
$18 ($10 seniors, students, disabled and military)
UNLV Alta Ham Fine Arts, Dance Studio 1, 895-2787.

This weekend, the UNLV dance department celebrates what would have been Hawkins’ 100th year of life by reconstructing “Here and Now With Watchers,” the first of Hawkins’ major dances that put aside the Graham aesthetic and incorporated his choreographic vision. Katherine Duke, artistic director for the Erick Hawkins Dance Company, will reconstruct the 50-minute “Here and Now,” with Chris Nappi re-creating Lucia Dlugszewski’s original score for the timbre piano, which, in keeping with Hawkins’ distaste for recorded music, will be played live.

Works by UNLV student choreographers and acclaimed guest artist Eddy Ocampo will fill out the rest of the program.

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