Right after New Year’s Day, Santa Barbara dancers will have the opportunity to try something else new. Friday through Monday, Katherine Duke, the artistic director of the New York-based Erick Hawkins Dance Company, and Maria Rendina Frantz, the artistic director of S.B.’s Motion Theatre Dance Company, will lead a four-day intensive workshop on Hawkins’s innovative principles of dance, all in celebration of what would have been his 100th birthday.
Hawkins was a dancer, artist, teacher, and choreographer who worked alongside both George Balanchine and Martha Graham, and was married to the latter for several years. Longtime friend and supporter Mikhail Baryshnikov also danced works that Hawkins choreographed for him. Hawkins spent his career studying movement education and developed a somatic technique, meaning that it relies on body awareness, sensation, and breath, allowing the dancer to move naturally and organically.
“Erick was one of the first to teach the concept of effortless movement,” said Frantz, who studied with Hawkins in New York. “It’s more a ‘feeling’ style of movement, and the breath is a very important part of that.”
In the mornings, Frantz will teach a class titled Fundamentals of Technique. Those unfamiliar with the style or returning to dance after an absence are welcome to try one of these courses. Later in the day, Duke will teach Intermediate/Advanced Technique and Dance Composition, where students will create a new work that will be shown at an informal performance on Monday, January 5, at 5 p.m. All classes and the performance will be held at the Carrillo Recreation Center (100 E. Carrillo St.).
“I think that ballet and modern dancers both will really like the way it feels on their bodies-it’s like a great massage,” Frantz laughed. “But just because it feels good doesn’t mean it’s not hard work-and a good workout. Dancers with injuries find it a wonderful way to get back into dance because it helps you heal. In fact, that’s why Erick designed it. He had physical problems and wanted to continue dancing as long as he could.” The intensive takes place Friday, January 2, through Monday, January 5. For more information, call 455-1955 or visit motiontheatre.com/master.htm