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DANCE REVIEW : Hawkins' Second Program at UCLA

February 16, 1988|LEWIS SEGAL

Live contemporary music and sculptural design elements have always been a major component of Erick Hawkins' modern-dance creations and they brought great sensual richness to the second program by his 11-member company, Friday in Royce Hall, UCLA.

In the familiar, masterful "Plains Daybreak" (1979), Alan Hovhaness used woodwind, percussion and brass instruments emblematically, as musical equivalents to the archetypal animal costumes by Ralph Lee and the deft abstractions of animal motion that Hawkins wove into a ceremonial statement about man's oneness with nature.

American Indian dances were continually evoked, but never copied; Hawkins and his collaborators remained modern artists reinterpreting primal experience.

In "Today With Dragon" (1986), Patrick Elliott's costumes made the dancers look like elegant paper kites--imagery confirmed by the Ralph Dorazio scenic unit behind them (initially covered with paper, later revealed as a geometric panorama suggesting kites-in-air).

The bright, playful score by Ge Gan-Ru provided a kind of rhythmic trampoline for the soaring and zooming, swerving and windmilling of the eight-member cast.

Hawkins has evoked kites before, but this premise was given maximum variety here by costume changes (from the loose "kite" robes to the one-piece bathing suits that are standard unisex dance-wear in Hawkins' choreographies) and by adroit alternations between solo and group activity.

Among the dancers, Gloria McLean (Snake in "Daybreak,") continued to impress with her superb technical control and expressivity.

Andrews Sill conducted the fine chamber ensemble. Replacing the scheduled "Ahab" (canceled due to Hawkins' foot injury), the previously reviewed "God the Reveller" completed the program.

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