Erick Hawkins

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Hawkins in El Penitente, 1930s

Frederick Hawkins known as Erick Hawkins (April 23, 1909 – November 23, 1994) was a leading American modern-dance choreographer and dancer[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Born in Trinidad, Colorado on April 23, 1909, he majored in Greek civilization at Harvard University, graduating in 1930. A performance by the German dancers Harald Kreutzberg and Yvonne Georgi so impressed him that he went to Austria to study dance with the former. Later, he studied at the School of American Ballet.

Career[edit]

Soon he was dancing with George Balanchine's American Ballet. In 1937, he choreographed his first dance, Show Piece, which was performed by Ballet Caravan.

The next year, Hawkins was the first man to dance with the company of the famous modern dancer and choreographer Martha Graham. The following year, he officially joined her troupe, dancing male lead in a number of her works, including Appalachian Spring in 1944. The two were married in 1948. He left her troupe in 1951 to found his own, and they divorced in 1954.

Not long afterwards, he met and began collaborating with the experimental composer Lucia Dlugoszewski. They remained together for the rest of his life.[3]

After leaving the Graham Company, Hawkins' work developed in a unique and different direction. Hawkins moved towards an aesthetic vision detached from realistic psychology, plot, social or political agenda, or simple musical analogue. Important influences were the dances of the American Indians, Japanese aesthetics, Zen thinking, as well as the Greek classics. In some ways, he took dance in a similar direction that abstract painters were taking art, though he disliked the word "abstract." This was coupled with a redefinition of dance technique according to newly understood principles of kinesiology, creating a bridge to later somatic studies. Hawkins' famous statement was “The body is a clear place.”

Hawkins championed contemporary composers, and insisted on performing to live music. The Erick Hawkins Dance Company toured with the Hawkins Theatre Orchestra, an ensemble of seven or more instrumentalists plus conductor. In addition to Lucia Dlugoszewski, his collaborators included composers Virgil Thompson, Alan Hohvaness, Lou Harrison, Henry Cowell, Dorrance Stalvey, Toru Takemitsu; visual artists Isamu Noguchi, Ralph Dorazio, Helen Frankenthaler, and Robert Motherwell.

Works[4][edit]

Works choreographed by Erick Hawkins [5]

Showpiece (1937) premiered Bennington College, Bennington, Vermont. Dancers: Members of Ballet Caravan. Music by Robert McBride

Insubstantial Pageant (1940) premiered 92nd Street Y, New York, NY. Dancer: Erick Hawkins. Music by Lehman Engel
In Time of Armament (1941) premiered 92nd Street Y, New York, NY. Dancer: Erick Hawkins. Music by Hunter Johnson
Liberty Tree (1941), premiered 92nd Street Y, New York, NY. Dancer: Erick Hawkins. Music by Ralph Gilbert
Trickster Coyote (1941), (revived in 1965 and 1983) premiered 92nd Street Y, New York, NY. Dancer: Erick Hawkins. Music by Henry Cowell
Curtain Raiser (1942) premiered 92nd Street Y, New York, NY. Dancer: Erick Hawkins. Music by Aaron Copland
Primer for Action (1942) premiered 92nd Street Y, New York, NY. Dancer: Erick Hawkins. Music by Ralph Gilbert
Yankee Bluebritches (1942) premiered 92nd Street Y, New York, NY. Dancer: Erick Hawkins. Music by Hunter Johnson
The Parting (1943) premiered 92nd Street Y, New York, NY. Dancers: Jean Erdman, Erick Hawkins. Music by Hunter Johnson
Saturday Night (1943) premiered Sweetbriar College, Sweetbriar, Virginia. Dancers: Muriel Brenner, Erick Hawkins. Music by Gregory Tucker
The Pilgrim's Progress (1944) premiered 92nd Street Y, New York, NY. Dancer: Erick Hawkins. Music by Wallingford Riegger
John Brown (1947) (revived as God's Angry Man 1965 and 1985) premiered Constitution Hall, Philadelphia, PA. Dancer: Captain John Brown: Erick Hawkins. Music by Charles Mills[disambiguation needed]
Stephen Acrobat (1947) premiered Ziegfeld Theater, New York, NY. Dancer: Stuart (Gescheidt) Hodes, Erick Hawkins. Music by Robert Evett
The Strangler (1948) premiered Palmer Auditorium, American Dance Festival at Connecticut College. Dancer: Oedipus: Eric Hawkins, Sphinx: Anne Meacham, Chorus: Joseph Wiseman. Music by Bohuslav Martinů
Openings of the (eye) (1952) premiered 92nd Street Y, New York, NY. Dancer: Erick Hawkins. Music by Lucia Dlugoszewski
Bridegroom of the Moon (1952) premiered 92nd Street Y, New York, NY. Dancer: Erick Hawkins. Music by Wallingford Riegger
Black House (1952) premiered, 92nd Street Y New York, NY. Dancer: Erick Hawkins. Music by Lucia Dlugoszewski
Lives of Five or Six Swords (1952) premiered 92nd Street Y, New York, NY. Dancer: Erick Hawkins. Music by Lou Harrison
Here and Now, with watchers (1957) premiered Hunter (College) Playhouse, New York, NY. Dancer: Nancy Lang, Erick Hawkins (choreographed on Eva Raining). Music by Lucia Dlugoszewski
8 clear places (1960) premiered Hunter (College) Playhouse, New York, NY. Dancer: Barbara Tucker, Eric Hawkins (choreographed on Eva Raining). Music by Lucia Dlugoszewskiv
Sudden Snake-Bird (1960) Dancers: Bird: Erick Hawkins, Snake: Kelly Holt, Kenneth LaVrack
Early Floating (1961) premiered, Portland, OR. Dancer: Kelly Holt, Kenneth LeVrack, Ruth Ravon, Erick Hawkins. Music by Lucia Dlugoszewski
Spring Azure (1963) premiered, Hunter (College) Playhouse, New York, NY. Dancer: Kelly Holt, Albert Reid, Erick Hawkins. Music by Lucia Dlugoszewski
Cantilever (1963) Dedicated to American architect Frederick Kiesler premiered, Théâtre Recamier, Théâtre des Nations Festival, Paris, France. Dancer: Pauline DeGroot, Kelly Holt, Nancy Meehan, Erick Hawkins. Music by Lucia Dlugoszewski
To Everybody Out There (1964) premiered Palmer Auditorium, American Dance Festival at Connecticut College. Dancers: Pauline DeGroot, Kelly Holt, Nancy Meehan, Erick Hawkins, Beverly Hirschfeld, Marilyn Patton, James Tyler, Ellen Marshall. Music by Lucia Dlugoszewski
Geography of Noon (1964) (excerpts on film) premiered Palmer Auditorium, American Dance Festival at Connecticut College Dancers: Eastern Tailed Blue: Nancy Meehan; Cloudless Sulpher: James Tyler (choreographed on Kelly Holt); Spring Azure: Pauline DeGroot; Variegated Fritillary: Erick Hawkins. Music by Lucia Dlugoszewski
Lords of Persia (1965) Commissioned by the American Dance Festival at Connecticut College. Dancer: Kelly Holt, Rod Rodgers, James Tyler, Erick Hawkins. Music by Lucia Dlugoszewski
Naked Leopard (1965) premiered Hunter College|Hunter (College) Playhouse, New York, NY. Dancer: Erick Hawkins. Music by Zoltán Kodály
Dazzle on a Knife's Edge (1966) premiered Hunter College|Hunter (College) Playhouse, New York, NY. Dancer: Erick Hawkins, Beverly Hirschfeld, Kelly Hotl, Dena Madole, Barbara Roan, Rod Rogers, Penelope Shaw, James Tyler. Music by Lucia Dlugoszewski
Tightrope (1968) premiered Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY. Dancers: First Everyone: Dena Madole; Second Everyone: Kelly Holt; Agnel: Robert Yohn; First Celestial: Beverly Brown; Second Celestial; Kay Gilbert; Third Celestial: Carol Ann Turoff. Music by Lucia Dlugoszewski.
Black Lake (1969) premiered Theater of the Riverside Church, New York, NY. Dancers: Beverly Brown, Kay Gilbert, Erick Hawkins, Natalie Richman, Robert Yohn, Nancy Meehan. Music by Lucia Dlugoszewski.
Of Love (1971) premiered ANTA Theater, New York, NY. Dancers: Beverly Brown, Carol Conway, Bill Groves, Erick Hawkins, Nada Reagan, Lillo Way, Robert Yohn. Music by Lucia Dlugoszewski.
"Angels of the Inmost Heaven" (1971) premiered Washington D.C. Dancers: Beverly Brown, Carol Conway, Erick Hawkins, Nada Reagan, Natalie Richman, Robert Yohn. Music by Lucia Dlugoszewski.
"Classic Kite Tails" (1972) premiered Meadowbrook Festival, Detroit, MI. Dancers: Beverly Brown, Carol Conway, Erick Hawkins, Nada Reagan, Natalie Richman, Lillo Way, Robert Yohn. Music by David Diamond.
"Dawn Dazzled Door" (1972) premiered Meadowbrook Festival, Detroit, MI. Dancers: Beverly Brown, Carol Conway, Erick Hawkins, Natalie Richman, Lillo Way, Robert Yohn. Music by Toru Takemitsu.
"Greek Dreams with Flute (1973) premiered Solomon Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY. Dancers: Beverly Brown, Cathy Ward, Carol Conway, Nada Regan, Natalie Richman, Robert Yohn, Erick Hawkins. Music by Claude Debussy.
"Meditations of Orpheus" (1974) premiered Kennedy Center, Washington D.C. Dancers: Carol Conway, Erick Hawkins, Arlene Kennedy, Alan Lynes, Nada Reagan, Natalie Richman, Kevin Tobiason, Cathy Ward. Music by Alan Hovhaness.
"Hurrah" (1975) premiered Blossom Music Center, Cleveland, OH. Dancers: Erick Hawkins, Victor Lucas, Alan Lynes, Kristin Peterson, Nada Reagan, Natalie Richman, Cathy Ward, Robert Yohn. Music by Virgil Thomson.
"Death is the Hunter" (1975) premiered Carnegie Hall, New York, NY. Dancers: Erick Hawkins, Kevin Tobiason, Alan Lynes, Nada Reagan, Natalie Richman, Cathy Ward, John Wiatt, Robert Yohn. Music by Wallingford Riegger.
"Parson Weems and the Cherry Tree, etc." (1976) premiered University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. Dancers: Erick Hawkins, Robert Yohn, Nada Reagan, John Wiatt, Natalie Richman, Cathy Ward. Music by Virgil Thomson.
"Plains Daybreak" (1979) premiered Cincinnati, OH. Dancers: Erick Hawkins, Laura Pettibone, Cori Terry, Douglas Andresen, Cynthia Reynolds, Jesse Duranceau, Randy Howard, Craig Nazor, Cathy Ward. Music by Alan Hovhaness.
Agathlon (1979) premiered in France. Dancers: Douglas Andresen, Jesse Duranceau, Randy Howard, Craig Nazor, Laura Pettibone, Cynthia Reynolds, Cori Terry, Cathy Ward. Music by Dorrance Stalvey
Avanti (1980) (unfinished) premiered American Dance Festival at Duke University. Dancers: Douglas Andresen, Jesse Duranceau, Randy Howard, Craig Nazor, Laura Pettibone, Cynthia Reynolds, Cori Terry, Cathy Ward. Music by Lucia Dlugoszewski
Heyoka (1981) premiered Alice Tully Hall, New York, NY. Dancers: Douglas Andresen, Jesse Duranceau, Randy Howard, Craig Nazor, Helen Pelton, Laura Pettibone, Cynthia Reynolds, Cathy Ward. Music by Ross Lee Finney
Summer Clouds People (1983) premiered Joyce Theater, New York, NY. Dancers: Douglas Andresen, Randy Howard, Helen Pelton, Laura Pettibone, Cynthia Reynolds, Daniel Tai, Cathy Ward, Mark Wisniewski. Music by Michio Mamiya
Trickster Coyote (revival) (1983) premiered Symphony Space, New York, NY. Dancers: Randy Howard, Laura Pettibone, Cynthia Reynolds, Daniel Tai, Mark Wisniewski. Music by Henry Cowell
The Joshua Tree (1984) premiered Joyce Theater, New York, NY. Dancers: Erick Hawkins, Randy Howard, James Reedy, Daniel Tai, Mark Wisniewski. Music by Ross Lee Finney
God's Angry Man (1985) premiered Joyce Theater, New York, NY. Dancers: Erick Hawkins. Music by Charles Mills
Today, with Dragon (1986) premiered Alice Tully Hall, New York, NY. Dancers: Erick Hawkins, Randy Howard, Gloria McLean, Laura Pettibone, Cynthia Reynolds, Daniel Tai, Cathy Ward, Mark Wisniewski. Music by Ge Gan-Ru
Ahab (1986) (commissioned for Harvard University's 350th anniversary) premiered Hasty Pudding Theatre, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Dancers: Erick Hawkins, Randy Howard, Michael Moses, James Reedy, Daniel Tai, Michael Butler. Music by Ross Lee Finney
God the Reveller (1987) premiered Kennedy Center, Washington D.C. Dancers: Katherine Duke, Randy Howard, Gloria McLean, Michael Moses, Laura Pettibone, James Reedy, Cynthis Reynolds, Sean Russo, Daniel Tai, Mariko Tanabe, Mark Wisniewski. Music by Alan Hovhaness.
Cantilever II (1988) premiered Joyce Theater, New York, NY. Dancers: James Aarons, Brenda Connors, Katherine Duke, Randy Howard, Gloria McLean, Michael Moses, Laura Pettibone, James Reedy, Cynthia Reynolds, Sean Russo, Daniel Tai, Mariko Tanabe. Music by Lucia Dlugoszewski
New Moon (1989) premiered Joyce Theater, New York, NY. Dancers: Douglas Andresen, Renata Celichowska, Brenda Connors, Katherine Duke, Gloria McLean, Michael Moses, Laura Pettibone, Christopher Potts, Cynthia Reynolds, Frank Roth, Sean Russo, Catherine Tharin. Music by Lou Harrison
Killer of Enemies: The Divine Hero (1991) premiered Joyce Theater, New York, NY. Dancers: Erick Hawkins, James Aarons, Douglas Andresen, Brenda Connors, Renata Celichowska, Katherine Duke, Randy Howard, Othello Jones, Gloria McLean, Joseph Mills, Michael Moses, Kathy Ortiz, Laura Pettibone, James Reedy, Cynthia Reynolds, Catherine Tharin. Music by Alan Hovhaness
Intensities of Wind & Space (1991) premiered Joyce Theater, New York, NY. Dancers: Douglas Andresen, Othello Jones, Gloria McLean, Joseph Mills, Michael Moses, Laura Pettibone, Cynthia Reynolds, Frank Roth, Catherine Tharin. Music by Katsuhisa Hattori
Each Time You Carry Me This Way (1993) premiered Joyce Theater, New York, NY. Dancers: Coleen McIntosh Blacklock, Othello Jones, Joseph McClintock, Gloria McLean, Tim McMinn, Joseph Mills, Kathy Ortiz, Christopher Potts, Brian Simmerson, Mariko Tanabe, Catherine Tharin. Music by Lucia Dlugoszewski
Many Thanks (1994) premiered Joyce Theater, New York, NY. Dancers: Coleen McIntosh Blacklock, Joseph Mills, Michael Moses, Kathy Ortiz, Christopher Potts, Brian Simmerson, Mariko Tanabe, Catherine Tharin. Music by Lucia Dlugoszewski

Award and death[edit]

On October 14, 1994, one month before he died, he was presented with the National Medal of Arts by President Bill Clinton.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Frederick Hawkins". Britannica Book of the Year, 1995. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Library Edition. 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-23. 
  2. ^ Doris Hering (1997). "Erik Hawkins Dance Company, Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse, February 18-23, 1997". Dance Magazine (Aug). 
  3. ^ Joseph H. Mazo (1995). "Erick Hawkins - dancer and choreographer - Obituary". Dance Magazine (Feb). 
  4. ^ Celichowska, R. (2000). The Erick Hawkins Modern Dance Technique. Hightstown, NJ: Princeton Book Company.
  5. ^ Erick Hawkins Collection. Guides to Special Collections in the Music Division of the Library of Congress. Washington D.C. 2007
  6. ^ The White House - Office of the Press Secretary

Sources[edit]

  • Erick Hawkins, The Body is A Clear Place and Other Statements on Dance, Princeton Book Company Dance Horizons, Princeton, NJ, 1992

External links[edit]