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Erick Hawkins Dance Company.

JOYCE THEATER FEBRUARY 13-18, 1996 REVIEWED BY MOLLY MCQUADE

A little more than a year after his death in November 1 994, one of Erick Hawkins's legacies seems to be a lasting and uncanny imagery of flight. Somehow, I hadn't noticed any sooner. instead, I saw shrewdly crafted fluidity, serenity, and Zen star quality in Hawkins's dances and in his dancers. But when looking in on the company during a season that offered a new score for Many Thanks (1 993) by Hawkins's longtime collaborator and wife, composer Lucia Dlugoszewski, flight kept touching down on the stage.

This surprised me, because Hawkins dancers are most ofTen raptly terrestrial: they dance barefooted and barelegged, with little literal soaring and few leaps or bounds. I was taken aback by their unexpected airborne quality because it was suggested by indirect means. A few of these: furtive delicacy based on asymmetrical patterning; balances that look natural yet are not taken for granted; an energetic attitude of being held in suspension. The ethereally ritualized aura of almost any Hawkins piece comes also from his confidence in the primacy of apparently simple detail. But the sensation of flight one feels in his work is also due to the dancers' stylistic tentativeness, itself a signature. In their dancing, concise and prismlike, they looked as though they were touching something glancingly--and were dancing in order to touch it. The air touches them in reply.

Hawkins's spare, sere savoring of physical and spiritual experience can call forth quite a contradictory response from a composer, still without disturbing the dancers' meditative transits. Dlugoszewski's new composition for seven instruments, Depth Duencle Scarecrow Other, fits the previously silent Many Thanks with a dexterous show of incongruity. The music is wittily boisterous, like a stocktaking of incessant impulsiveness.

The six familiar works by Hawkins performed during the engagement looked very much themselves, beautifully evoked by the company's current dancers. Mikhail Baryshnikov briefly appeared with them on opening night in a revival of Today, with Dragon.
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Title Annotation:Joyce Theater, New York, New York
Author:McQuade, Molly
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Dance Review
Date:Jun 1, 1996
Words:332
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