Research Catalog

Interview with Erick Hawkins

Interview with Erick Hawkins [sound recording].
Hawkins, Erick.

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StatusVol/DateFormatAccessCall NumberItem Location
part 1AudioSupervised use *MGZTL 4-2551 part 1Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance
part 2AudioSupervised use *MGZTL 4-2551 part 2Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance
part 3AudioSupervised use *MGZTL 4-2551 part 3Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance
part 4AudioSupervised use *MGZTL 4-2551 part 4Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance
part 5AudioSupervised use *MGZTL 4-2551 part 5Performing Arts Research Collections - Dance


Additional Authors
  • McDonagh, Don.
  • Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
10 sound discs (ca. 310 min.) : digital, stereo; 4 3/4 in.
  • Part 1, disc 2 (ca. 31 min.). Erick Hawkins speaks with Don McDonagh about first seeing Martha Graham dance in 1930-1931; seeing Charles Weidman and Doris Humphrey dance in N.Y.; the first work he saw of Graham's, Primitive mysteries; the Guild Theatre in N.Y., and attending dance performances there; seeing Chronicle and Frontiers in 1935-1936; students' lack of passion for dance and dancing; Ethel Winter and dancing at Bennington; Graham's sense of competition; his inability to teach after leaving Graham's company due to politics in the dance world; the relationship between Graham and Louis Horst, and the ways they would work together; growing up in Trinidad, Colo., and the landscape there, and how it has effected his artistic sensibility; the dance El penitente, and his personal reaction to it; the fact that critics appreciated Graham's emotions more than her aesthetics; studying ballet with George Balanchine; not liking to read criticism of his dances until after the season is finished; the effect critics had on Graham.
  • Part 1, disc 2 (ca. 31 min.). Erick Hawkins speaks with Don McDonagh about re-enacting Martha Graham's dances at Bennington; standing up for Louis Horst, and the integrity of his work; Graham's early dances, and their reflection of modern art at the time; working with George Balanchine and hearing about Graham and her dance methods; visiting Graham's studio and immediately enrolling in classes; the fact that Graham had not danced with men since Denishawn; the fact that Lincoln Kirstein paid for him to attend Bennington the first year; Frances Hawkins, Graham's manager, and her friendship with Lincoln Kirstein; Graham attending a ballet performance in which Hawkins performed, and engaging in conversation about dance with her; sitting in on rehearsals of American document; the differences between Balanchine's and Graham's methods and choreography styles; sitting in on sessions of Balanchine and Graham choreographing; dancing at Bennington; the amount of time it took to undo the ballet training.
  • Part 2, disc 1 ( ca. 31 min.). Erick Hawkins speaks with Don McDonagh about dancing techniques and not hurting oneself; the technique he developed after leaving Graham's company; Graham's tendency toward illness and injury, and performing despite the fact; Graham's injury in Paris; Graham's tendency to over-work herself; negotiating with Bethsabee de Rothschild for funding of the Paris tour, and obtaining funds from her; Craig Barton's role in managing the Graham company; the increase in interest in modern dance over time; an anonymous contribution to Graham; keeping the accounting books for Graham; dancing in Punch and the Judy in 1941; performance at Bennington in 1943 of Deaths and entrances; his ability to obtain funds to keep the Graham company afloat; reaching out to a socialite in Santa Barbara, Calif. who gave money to the company; working with full orchestras instead of piano accompaniment for the dances; loans from Bethsabee de Rothschild to have a score composed for Deaths and entrances; his opinion of de Rothschild; Katharine Cornell, and her relationship with Graham.
  • Part 2 disc 2 (ca. 31 min.). Erick Hawkins speaks with Don McDonagh about reaching out to investors for financing Martha Graham's company; asking Katharine Cornell to have a fundraiser at her house, and the types of people who attended; being instrumental in getting funds to stage and costume most of the dances while he was with Graham; working with Isamu Noguchi, and his working relationship with Graham; his opinion of Noguchi's work as a sculptor; handling the stage lighting for early tours, and his lighting abilities; his desire to travel to Japan to study set design and drama; the work of dance companies with composers; dance companies using live music for performance.
  • Part 3, disc 1 (ca. 31 min.). Erick Hawkins speaks with Don McDonagh about dancing in American document at Bennington; his belief that American document was the last dance choreographed by Martha Graham in which the dance was completed before the music was composed; Ray Green, and his relationship to the company; the fact that new, original music is more interesting to use than classical tunes; Doris Humphrey, and her use of classicial music in dances; American document, including the costumes, the dance steps, etc.; Hindu mythology and religion; his own choreography, John Brown, and the creation of poetic gesture and metaphor; Graham's interest in reading, and in books in general; Graham drawing inspiration from William Carlos Williams for the creation of American document; choreographing, and the reviews; the use of Robert Fitzgerald's translation for his dance, Riddle of the sphinx; the use of words and books to analyze imagery used in dance; archetypical myths used by artists; the difficulties of creating, promoting and then protecting one's work; advising Graham that she had to learn to promote herself.
  • Part 3, disc 2 (ca. 31 min.). Erick Hawkins speaks with Don McDonagh about the hardships Martha Graham had to endure to have performances staged; financial problems involved with running a dance company and studio; Graham's frugal use of money for costumes; hiring an accountant in 1942 to help with the administration of the company; attending the second Bennington summer program; working with Louis Horst and Graham to send announcements for the program but lacking a mailing list; Don Duncan, and his management of the company for a short period; getting to know Louis Horst after the uneasiness between them had subsided; Horst championing his work; Graham's personal relationship with Horst; critics and their appreciation of Graham; recording films of the Graham dances to help recreate them; feelings for, and opinion of, Stuart Hodes; Graham injuring her knee in Paris; advising Graham not to perform in Paris; finding a composer to replace Horst for the France tour; his suppleness, and not getting injured; his generosity for Graham, and how that paid off in the long run.
  • Part 4, disc 1 (ca. 31 min.). Erick Hawkins speaks with Don McDonagh about audiences and their reception of him due to his relationship with Martha Graham; the age difference between he and Graham, and it not being an issue; Graham's ego; touring and the payments they received; Graham's mother; Graham's sister, Geordie, and her dancing career with Denishawn; Graham's sister, Mary, who died young from cancer; Merle Armitage and Cady Wells, and visiting Wells in New Mexico; marrying Graham in Santa Fe, with Cady Wells as witness.
  • Part 4, disc 2 (ca. 31 min.). Erick Hawkins continues to speak with Don McDonagh about his marriage to Martha Graham; the details of the wedding, and having been together ten years prior to the marriage; his father, and difficulties relating to him; asking Sol Hurok and Gertrude Macy to help with publicity for the Graham tours in 1947; Charles Green, and his handling of the tours of 1949-1950, and their success; an anecdote about Stuart Hodes and sassing a waitress; Graham receiving money from the National Endowment for the Arts; Graham's seclusion after breaking up with Hawkins; the details of breaking up with Graham while on tour, and feeling as if she did not understand his concern for her; never seeing Graham again after the press conference in Paris; Lincoln Kirstein's success with George Balanchine in building a corps of dancers.
  • Part 5, disc 1 (ca. 31 min.). Erick Hawkins speaks with Don McDonagh about dance perfomances in the 1970s, and his belief that dance is not taken seriously; his divorce from Graham many years after breaking up, and going to Juarez, Mexico to have the paperwork filed; Graham's use of alcohol; metaphysics and dance; Graham's obsession with fame; the best times he had with Graham, including camping in the west, and spending time in New Mexico.
  • Part 5, disc 2 (ca. 31 min.). Erick Hawkins speaks with Don McDonagh about critics' interpretations of his work; having an aesthetic dimension, not a psychological one, in his choreography; difficulties having success in N.Y.; Graham's technique, and her great early dances; early Graham dancers, including May O'Donnell and Anita Alvarez; bringing men into the Graham dance company, and the changes made to the movement overall; Graham's interests changing over time; his teaching style; the difficulty in staging live music for performances; Frances Hawkins, and her working relationship with Graham; his belief that many of the women around Graham lived vicariously through her; Graham reaching out to him after their split; problems with booking after leaving Graham; Graham's temper; not being accused of being a copycat of Graham; never discussing starting a family with Graham; his belief that one can't be an artist and have a family at the same time; Stuart Hodes, and his dancing style, and how children changed that style [abrupt end].
  • Interview with Erick Hawkins conducted by Don McDonagh on July 19, 1971.
  • Each disc ends abruptly.
  • Open as of August 22, 2012.
Funding (note)
  • Recording was preserved through a grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
Source (note)
  • Don McDonagh;
Call Number
*MGZTL 4-2551
Hawkins, Erick. Interviewee
Interview with Erick Hawkins [sound recording].
Recording was preserved through a grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
Local Note
Archive orig. : *MGZTCO 3-2551, nos. 1-5
Dubbing master : *MGZTD 4-2551, nos. 1-5
Gift; Don McDonagh; 2007
Local Subject
Dance company tours.
Added Author
McDonagh, Don. Interviewer
McDonagh, Don. Donor
Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
Research Call Number
*MGZTL 4-2551 sound disc
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