Erick Hawkins Founder
Erick Hawkins (1909 – 1994) was a leading American modern-dance choreographer and dancer.
Born in Trinidad, Colorado, 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. 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.
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 7 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, Robert Motherwell. On October 14, 1994, one month before he died, he was presented with the National Medal of Arts by President Clinton.
Katherine Duke Artistic Director
Katherine Duke began studying with Erick Hawkins in 1983. She made her professional debut with the Erick Hawkins Dance Company in 1986 at Lincoln Center. She has been a teacher at the Erick Hawkins School and taught composition for Lucia Dlugoszewski. Ms. Duke became a principal dancer under Hawkins’ direction and performed with the Company until 1991.
Ms. Duke’s mercurial grace, purity of presence, and focused phrasing, as noted by Anna Kisselgoff of the New York Times, brought her critical acclaim. Jamake Highwater has written, “There is little doubt that Katherine Duke represents the idealization of Hawkins’s four decades of creating dance.”
In 1995, Ms. Duke returned to the Hawkins Company as a guest artist and teacher. At that time she assisted Dlugoszewski in setting Hawkins’ Journey of a Poet for Mikhail Baryshnikov. She served as rehearsal director to the Hawkins Company in 1999 and assistant to the choreographer in 2000. Ms. Duke became the artistic director of the Erick Hawkins Dance Foundation in 2001. In an effort to preserve and perpetuate the musical, compositional, and choreographic legacies of both Dlugoszewski and Hawkins Ms. Duke facilitates the reconstruction of classic repertory for universities and professional companies. She set Early Floating on Mikhail Baryshnikov 's White Oak Dance Project, produced Company performances honoring long time collaborator Ralph Dorazio, a New York season at Lincoln Center, as well as many Company performances throughout the US and internationally.
Her passion is to share, in its purist form, the beauty of the technique, the unique approach to choreography, and the principles of this legacy through intensives, workshops, and commissions of new work. She continues to bring the Erick Hawkins Dance Company into the present with archival research that has enriched the Company’s repertory through unexplored works by Hawkins and Dlugoszewski, commissioned choreographers, and her own work.
Constantine Baecher Dancer
Constantine Baecher is a choreographer, dancer and teacher from Boston, MA. He received his dance training at the Walnut Hill School in Natick, MA after which he spent two years as an apprentice with John Neumiere’s Hamburg Ballet. Baecher danced with Royal Danish Ballet, Gross Dance, Hamburg Ballet and performs internationally with choreographer Carolyn Carlson.
As a choreographer Mr. Baecher’s work has been performed in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece and the United States. He has created works for Bellevue Theater, Columbia Ballet Collective, Cross Connection, KUNST-Stoff, MoveIus, and the Royal Danish Ballet. In 2014 Mr. Baecher was named resident choreographer of New Chamber Ballet and received the Albert Gaubier Prize for his contribution to dance in Denmark.
He co-founded and directs the Copenhagen International Choreography Competition and Cross Connection Dance Company and has taught at Georgetown University and Copenhagen Business School.
Kristina Berger Dancer
Kristina Berger’s twenty year tenure with the Erick Hawkins Dance Company as a principal dancer uniquely qualifies her strong foundation of technical skill and artistic sensibility. Currently an assistant professor of dance at the Joan Phelps Palladino School of Dance at Dean College, she is teaching the highly-detailed dance technique of Erick Hawkins with guidance from EHDC artistic director Katherine Duke. Ms.Berger is a world class dancer and master teacher of the Horton Technique with exclusive rights as a soloist through Lester Horton Dance Theatre' s director Don Martin. Drawing inspiration from both of these incredibly powerful legacies, Berger is passing this on to her students by teaching Horton and Hawkins techniques respectfully and creating her own work.
She has danced with Molissa Fenley & Dancers, Joyce Trisler Danscompany, and the Washington Opera Ballet. Ms. Berger was a founding member of SWATT in Paris and Zurich, and continues to be a guest artist with Lake Tahoe Dance Collective and Berlin's The Ballery. She was the first female and western dancer to perform the virtuoso solo Hanuman The Monkey King in Bali, Indonesia (for BALAM Dance Theatre), and a dancer for Ringling Bros & Barnum and Bailey Circus. Kristina was a dance faculty member at Marymount Manhattan College, Steps on Broadway, The Joffrey School of Ballet, Peridance Capezio Center and Ballet Arts at City Center in New York. She furthermore has held guest artist positions at the Taiwan National University of the Arts, La Guardia High School of the Performing Arts, Boston Youth Moves and currently at Tecniche di Danza Moderna in Rome, Italy and Harvard-Radcliffe Modern Dance Co. Ms. Berger trained at the highest intensity levels and acquired the requisite skills to teach true Horton Technique while demonstrating for the legendary Milton Myers at The Juilliard School, Jacob's Pillow, The Ailey School, Toronto Dance Theatre, and ImpulsTanz in Vienna.
Jacquelyne Boe Dancer
Jacquelyne is Houston based professional dancer, choreographer and educator interested in personal growth and development through arts, mindfulness and wellness.
Boe received her early education from the High School for Performing and Visual Arts Houston and her BFA from the University of Oklahoma, where she graduated as the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts, Graduate of the Year.
She is currently a company member of Erick Hawkins Dance, Frame Dance and Hopestone Dance. Boe has also had the pleasure of working with organizations and individual artist such as Erin Reck, Houston Grand Opera in 2016 productions Carousel, Nixon in China and Faust, Noble Motion Dance, Open Dance Project and Teresa Chapman among others.
Boe has been creating original works since 2014. Since then she was awarded the Houston Press, 100 Creatives and a recipient of Dance Source Houston's Artist in Residence Program for 2015-2016.
Jacquelyne teaches a wide range of technical levels and ages for organizations such as Frame Dance, the Hope Project and the Houston Ballet.
Antonio Fini Dancer
Antonio Fini is an Italian born modern dancer, choreographer, and director. Stylistically, Antonio merges athleticism with art, bringing fluid energy to the simplest of intentions. He marries romance with animalistic movement, creating elegance and poise on stage and film. Antonio has been a guest artist for the Erick Hawkins Dance Company, Kosovo Ballet, Staten Island Ballet, Long Island Ballet, Boca Ballet Theater, Mare Nostrum Elements and the Martha Graham Dance Ensemble. As choreographer he created works for the National Ballet of Kosovo, Roi Escudero, the Players of the Square, Company in residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and “La danza dei camorristi” for the New York City Opera at Rose Theater at Lincoln Center. He has performed as a principal dancer for the Michael Mao Dance company in New York City since 2010.
Antonio has taught dance at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, SLK Ballet and throughout Italy, in Spain, Switzerland, France, Kosovo, and Alaska. He is also a certified Pilates Instructor as well as a Reiki healer. In January 2011, in New York City Antonio made his first artistic dance video with the Israeli musician/composer Noa Guy. In the same year he founded AJD-Alto Jonio Dance Festival in his native Villapiana to provide a platform for other young dance talents of Italy. In 2013 Antonio created in New York the Italian International Dance Festival honoring Alessandra Ferri, Elena Albano and LUIGI the Father of Jazz Dance, and in 2014 IIDF added honorees Platinette and Alessandra Corona in addition to presenting Mr. Edward Villella with a Lifetime Achievement Award. And in 2016 the IIDF added honorees Petra Conti, Greta Campo, and Lorenzo Pagano, with the Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Jacqulyn Buglisi.
Using the alchemical motto “solve et coagula” as his thesis, Antonio deconstructs the need to move and express, creating purposeful, poetic movement that feeds his soul and the soul of audiences and students around the world. In 2010 he was awarded Emerging Choreographer by Joseph Fontano at Stefano Valentini AwardIII Edition. He received from Brunilda Lato the Altomonte Dance Award and in 2014 he was awarded by Aldo Masella with the Teatro Carcano Award. Antonio has choreographed for Talent on Stage in Milan, for Siris Festival of Nova Siri “Diego e Isabella”, “Ethno-show” in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, Milan, and in 2005 he won the Olympics Game of Dance in Milan, In 2013 Antonio was commissioned by Kosovo Ballet to create “Where the Light Falls” which remains in Kosovo Ballet’s active repertory. Antonio has taught dance at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, SLK Ballet School and Huntington Center for Performing Arts, throughout Italy, in Spain, Switzerland, France, Kosovo, and Alaska. He is also a certified Pilates Instructor as well as a Reiki healer.
Jeff Lyon Dancer
Jeffery Lyon was given ballet lessons and a motorcycle at age 6. He graduated from the dance conservatories of Interlochen Arts Academy and SUNY Purchase, and has been working with the Erick Hawkins Dance Company for over a decade. In NYC, he has performed in parking garages, on escalators, in and on top of theaters, museums, military forts and swimming pools with the Erick Hawkins Dance Company, Sens Productions, AMDaT, Gina Gibney Dance Company and Syren Modern Dance. He was also an original cast member of Punchdrunk's Sleep No More, and Third Rail Projects The Grand Paradise. He has recently performed in classic plays from Shakespeare, Chekov, and Agatha Christie. Currently he is performing in Baby Head Productions episodic immersive theater drama Here.
Louis Kavouras Dancer
Louis Kavouras has been a principal dancer of the Erick Hawkins Dance Company and faculty member of the Erick Hawkins School of Dance since 1996. Kavouras has studied with modern dancers Erick Hawkins, Kathryn Karipides, Kelly Holt, Katherine Duke, Cathy Ward, Cynthia Reynolds, Gloria McLean, Betty Jones, Lucas Hoving, Donald McKayle, Peter Pucci, Gus Solomons, Rudy Perez, Claire Porter, John Malashock and Clay Taliaferro. Kavouras is accomplished as a choreographer, designer, visual and graphic artist. His dances have been showcased in Australia, Scotland, England, China, Korea, Japan, Denmark, Russia, Nova Scotia, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and thoughout the United States. In 1997 Francis Mason recognized Kavouras on WQXR World of Dance Review as one of the top ten outstanding dancers in New York. Louis Kavouras joined the University of Nevada Las Vegas Dance Faculty in 1992. In 1994 he was elected chair of the department. At UNLV he has established the Erick Hawkins West Institute with the goal of archiving, preserving, reconstructing and studying the profound contributions of Erick Hawkins and Lucia Dlugoszewski.
Erin Parsch Dancer
Erin Parsch grew up in Louisville, KY. She attended Purchase Conservatory studying dance and music theory. Relocating to New York City, Erin met her mentor Katherine Duke, director of the Hawkins Company. Erin embraced the Hawkins’ technique, and the concept that dance, live music, and design could unite successfully enabling a performance to reach its fullest potential. A classically trained dancer and performance artist, her career includes most notably performing as a principal with the Erick Hawkins Dance Company and as a performance artist at Alvin Ailey. Also an abstract painter and photographer, Parsch uses a wide range of complex multimedia, shapes and forms, performance and photography as well as oil, fiberglass, Vellum, Japanese papers, weathered and abandoned artifacts, surface rubbings, and increasingly incorporated raw materials from the urban environment that surrounds her in New York City whose texture and layers she merges to produce a single work of art. Drawn to the tension of connecting her aesthetic sensibilities with the world and the willful drive towards self-expression, she seeks to capture encounters of aloneness, a thin pale boundary between people that often defeats love, yet that is infused with hopefulness. Her origins as a visual artist began as a set designer, creating commissioned works and installations in collaboration with musicians such as Lucia Dlugoszewski and David Taylor.
Erin has been commissioned by the Hawkins Company for set designs that have premiered at the Company's New York season Why is the Cherry Red at Lincoln Center, Wooster Arts Space, Rhinebeck Performing Arts Center, and the Manhattan School of Music. Erin recently had a solo show of life size photography in Chelsea entitled Spliced where no photo shop was used to create the images of the show. Seven large fiberglass paintings were exhibited at a solo pop up show Pulverized in Chelsea November of 2016. In collaboration with poet Jeffrey Yang, Erin co-authored and created a series of art works for the poem, “The Mountain”, published in 2009. She is honored to be a part of the rich history of the company and the emerging art that is to come. Erin lives and works in the East Village where she paints, dances and teaches.