The company’s current artistic director, Kathryn Duke, began studying with Hawkins in 1983, eventually becoming principle dancer under his direction and assistant choreographer under Dugloszewksi. “It was [Hawkins’s] desire to give the audience the highest, most enlightening level of theatrical experience,” Duke explains, “and that can only happen when you have live music—not dancing to what he called ‘canned’ or ‘dead’ music, because only live, original music shines. When there is that level of interactivity between the musicians and the dancers, it has an immediacy that will resonate with the audience.” The intimate interplay between dance, music, and set are the result of relationships that have been built over time—an extra step seldom taken in today’s world of glittering, in-your-face immediacy. Duke suggests that there is another, and much more subtle and gratifying, way of cutting straight to the quick: Hawkins’s incorporative method centers on awareness and unification in performance. Tthe sense of time, [the] qualities of dynamics, energy, and sensation in the body while moving correctly give you an incredible consciousness," she says, "which I think comes through in the performances of the dancers.”
Nine years ago, shortly after Dlugoszewski’s death, Duke premiered Fountain in the Room in silence at the Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck. The piece, which is now accompanied by Dlugoszewksi’s own music (composed for the timbre piano, an instrument she invented) and choreography, will open the program this month as the company returns to the center. Cantilever, a work dedicated to architect Frederick Kiesler with set designing by sculptor Ralph Dorazio, will close the show. Versions of the dance for as many as 12 dancers exist, but the company will be performing the original 1963 four-person version, complete with the original set. Other works on the program will feature paintings by local artist Joanne Klein, bass trombone playing by virtuoso David Taylor, and footage of Erick Hawkins (projected on a screen between dances). The Erick Hawkins Dance Company will perform at the Rhinebeck Center for Performing Arts on January 31 at 8pm and February 1 at 3pm. (845) 876-3080; www.erickhawkinsdance.org.