Hawks, Christopher

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NAME: Christopher Hawks


Zero Moving-- Joyce Theater (New York Times, April 6, 1992)

One good reason to have seen Zero Moving at the Joyce Theater last week was the performing of Christopher Hawks, a dancer with a wise body and a way of moving that blends amiability and eloquence so that each move and gesture is as understated as it is expressive. Another was Karen Bamonte, choreographer and director of the 20-year-old company with Hellmut Gottschild. She is a fluid though distractingly self-conscious dancer.

The nine-member troupe lived up the level set by these two. And the work the Philadelphia-based company performed on Wednesday night in one of two programs in its weeklong engagement had an unmistakably different look from New York dance.

One goal of Zero Moving has been to blend German Expressionist and American modern dance, and there was an unforced, natural, interesting inward look to the work. But there was also an eventually numbing sameness to the three dances on the program. And all badly needed tightening.

Ms. Bamonte's "Others Journey," set to bounding, evocative music by Guy Klucevsek, is a pure movement piece for the full company, a dance of resilient falls and rises, of arms that open out lyrically then delve back, of the catlike neatness of a jazz dancer and of despair and modest rapture. The stage patterns are inventive and the dancers never uninteresting. But in the end, the clearest memory of the piece is of the shadows of the dancers' bodies, small and specific, captured early on in one of the many long splinters of light across the backdrop.

"Others Journey" was performed by Ms. Bamonte, Kaitlyn Granda, Mr. Hawks, Katharine Livingston, Rebecca Malcolm, Greg Myers, Patrick O'Brien, Marisa O'Neill and Darla Stanley. Clifton Taylor designed the lighting.

Both Ms. Bamonte's "Fever" and "The Late Late Afternoon of a Faun," a recent piece by Mr. Gottschild, threatened to slip into cuteness, diminishing the strong ideas behind them. Ms. Bamonte's company work had the fragmented, gathering drive of its score, a suite of witty variations on the popular song "Fever" that included some onstage saxophone noodling by James Marshall. There was a funny and sharply realized litany of "I love you," proclaimed by the dancers in a variety of characters. The dance, a series of encounters and changed partners, had unlikely cupids hefting large antique metal arrows.

But one had to wait too long for those nuggets, just as it took Mr. Gottschild a long, sometimes slightly embarrassing time to get to the heart of his group piece, set to a scratchy recording of the Debussy score and original music composed and performed by Mr. Taylor. That heart was a touching, comic disquisition on growing old in dance, allowing oneself to be a faun even as it horrified the younger dancers who intruded on that reverie, one of them a golden young upstart faun.

Review/Dance; Adding Song And Speech To Motion

Published: February 28, 1991, New York Times

It is hard to imagine a more varied program than the one presented on Friday night at the Dia Center for the Arts in SoHo. "The Haunted House," choreographed by David Dinolfo and accompanied by words and music rendered on tape by Diamanda Galas, Max Steiner and Walter Schumann, suggested love and the threat of loss, remembrance of love and even the complexities of lives necessarily lived in secret from the larger world. Mr. Dinolfo made quietly inventive use of the sometimes amorphous-seeming Dia stage space, with assistance from Mark London, who painted the stage with light. Mr. Dinolfo was all jagged acerbicism. Christopher Hawks was his fluent, softly resilient opposite.

A long solo danced without accompaniment, Michal Ing's "Autistic Romp" required a good deal of patient attention. But that attention was almost always rewarded. Mr. Ing, who performs with Lucinda Childs, is a dancer of exquisite deftness and an understated theatricality.

"Bloom's Dream (The Rubber Plant Continued)" was a voyage through the subsconscious that teetered on the edge of cuteness. Set to music by Peter Kelsh, with a libretto by George Mostoller and choreography by Heide Sackerlotzky, "Bloom's Dream" juxtaposed dancers and singers for a dualism that was sometimes distracting. Led by Mr. Dinolfo and the dramatically expressive James Hay, the good cast was completed by Angela Brown, Cindy Oxberry and David Small, singers, and Erin Fitzgerald, Karen Heifetz and Ms. Sackerlotzky, dancers. Churning antic play and probing, "Bloom's Dream" seems to have been designed by a latter-day Florine Stettheimer, so giddily acute are the cellophane and fabric costumes by Alvin S. Chiappolini and the props by David Zufall.

Reinhard Kunz was the cellist. Mark Cogley conducted.

Ya Gotta Have Pluck (October 12th, 1995 City Paper)

A fearsome foursome is about to debut at the Arts Bank.

By [Warner]

A darn fine word, pluck. Reminds me of spunk. As in Lou Grant's immortal lines to Mary Richards: "You know what you've got, Mary? You've got spunk. I hate spunk."

Robin Patchefsky, Niall Rea, Karl Schappell and Jon Stark all have pluck. In fact, they arePLUCK, a new performance collaborative that's debuting Oct. 13-15 at the Philadelphia Arts Bank (sharing a double bill with choreographer Kaitlyn Granda).

The name's an acronym. The group may choose to assign different meanings to it in the future, but at the moment it stands for People Like Us Could Kill — which makes sense because the company's first show, We, is, among other things, about violence.

But PLUCK is more than just a handy assortment of letters. "It's a very, very personal word for us," company members Schappell, Rea and Stark told me in a visit to City Paper offices this week. "Someone we knew used to use it."

That someone was local dancer Christopher Hawks, who died in April of 1994.

"Robin and I and Chris were the wild ones in the dance field in Philadelphia," said Schappell. In the '80s and early '90s, while working with companies like Terry Beck, ZeroMoving and Melanie Stewart, the three of them partied furiously together. "We were Revival and [Black] Banana kids, the smokers and the drinkers. We were different from the granola crunchers."

Pluck "was something [Christopher] admired and something we admired in him — because he had a lot of it. It's when someone has the gall to wear something or do something out of the norm."

The red "c" in the PLUCK logo represents Hawks, they said, because there's no doubt in the company's minds that he would have been their fifth member.

I should mention here that the group was kind of reluctant to talk about the Hawks subtext at first, worrying that it was maybe too "maudlin" to talk about. The name PLUCK also refers to the "cheek and anger coursing through us," said Stark, and they didn't want to give the impression that their show would be sentimental.

We// certainly doesn't //sound sentimental. Stark, 33, an award-winning performer from Edinburgh who's best known locally as an arts photographer, says that the showis "designed for the MTV generation: loud pumping music and the scenes are short. We don't want people to sit stiff in their seats." The music, composed by ex-Bronski Beat member Larry Steinbachek, accompanies 19 vignettes mixing dance and theater, all of which deal with the performers' own experiences. And, says Schappell, it's "sarcastic as shit."

But don't worry, says Niall Rea: "We're careful to weed out anything that seems self-indulgent... We don't take ourselves seriously at all."

Rea, a boyish 29-year-old Belfast native who often directs for Melanie Stewart Dance, recently staged Killing Charity for her at the Arts Bank. In fact, that piece (though a little too long) did manage to tread a fine line between the confessional and the comic.

PLUCK's international perspective ought to place a fresh spin on the subject of violence in America. "I'm much more frightened here than in Belfast," said Rea. "In Ireland people are killed because of a religious war, but they're not killed for any other reason. Here you see women pulling knives, men with baseball bats — in Belfast you'd just see kind of a bomb in the distance."

Stark said, "Everybody I know [here] has been mugged more than once. I can't think of anyone being mugged in 30 years of living in Edinburgh."

Schappell now lives in Amsterdam with Rea, but remembers seeing gang fights outside his window in S. Philly. "You realize in a way you sort of miss it."

How did the Americans first meet up with the Brits? (Watch out — this part is sentimental.)

Four years ago, the Terry Beck Troupe (including Patchefsky and Schappell) traveled to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to perform at the Theater Workshop, whose photographer at the time was Jon Stark. "When Edinburgh's flooded with all these foreigners," he said, "you start looking for the best party group," and both he and Rea, also a Fringe habitue, found themselves drawn to the Beck crowd.

One day, with his then-girlfriend at his side, Stark was introduced to Patchefsky. He said to himself, "'If I start talking to this woman I'm never going to stop talking to her.'"

He started talking.

A year later they were married in Philadelphia City Hall.

And Schappell and Rea, whose first meeting in Edinburgh had also blossomed into a romance, stood up as "best man and bridesmaid." (There's some argument as to who was who, though Rea caught the bouquet.)

The foursome first collaborated artistically in Philadelphia in 1992, when Schappell choreographed a solo for Patchefsky called Big Dog Dance (Rea designed it, and Stark took photos). Schappell and Rea moved to London right after that, and then on to Amsterdam. A meeting in Berlin with Philadelphia-based dancer/ choreographer Kaitlyn Granda, who was in Germany with Karen Bamonte's troupe, led to the opportunity for a reunion: Granda said she was doing a concert at the Arts Bank this season but wouldn't have enough material for a full evening, Schappell contacted the others, and "it snowballed" — into a transcontinental collaboration and the first performance of PLUCK.

"It grew into this huge project which won't stop here," said Stark.

Are we talking a lifetime commitment?

"Or till the anger outweighs the cheek."

Theater of Pluck:


Pluck's first incarnation was a queer theatre/dance hybrid company in Philadelphia formed by Director/Designer Niall Rea and performers Karl Schappell, Robin Patchefsky and Jon Stark for a production at the Bank Theatre on Broad Street in Philadelphia in 1998 of a devised show We dealing with homophobia, violence, racism and misogyny. The name Pluck was chosen to honour the memory of Christopher Hawks who had lived with Rea and Schappell, but who died from AIDS shortly before the company was formed. Hawks would have undoubtedly been a core company member, and his catchphrase of "oh pluck!" when someone did or said something special or out of the ordinary or brave seemed to embody the ethos of our attitude to performance. Schappell and Rea relocated to Europe and took the company with them; sporadic shows in Amsterdam and London occurred until 2003.

When Rea returned to Belfast in 2004 they began to work together on Automatic Bastard using a space access grant form the Lyric Theatre to develop it for the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival and Dublin Fringe Festival in 2005/6; garnering a 4 star review from The Irish Times. The company, now called TheatreofplucK, was awarded a small grants award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in 2008, making it the first publicly funded queer theatre company in Ireland. Since then TheatreofplucK have regularly produced queer themed work in Belfast and toured to London and back to Philadelphia. TheatreofplucK were one of the first artists to be part of the Hatch artist in residence programme at Belfast's new flagship arts venue the MAC in 2012/13. The MAC continues to support the company's work, staging three world premiere productions and facilitating our LGBT+ cultural interventions.

The addicts Quarantine ; Fever


Robert Palumbo; [Stewart]; [Gomila]; [Hawks]; [Sheldon]; All authors


[Philadelphia, Pa. : Gist Films?, 1988]


File:Http:static1.worldcat.org/wcpa/rel20151119/images/icon-vhs.gif VHS video : VHS tape File:Http:static1.worldcat.org/wcpa/rel20151119/images/icon-vis.gif Visual material : English




This video presents 2 short films: The Addicts (ca. 8 min.) and Quarantine (ca. 11 min.) that have no dialogue but are interpretative dance for the themes. The last film, Fever, is an execerpt of a dance that lasts approximately 11 min. All three use the same performers.


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[30, 2014] ·

Day 3 of 3 positive things...

1. Christopher Hawks. Best friend. Amazingly stunning dancer. Took my breath away. Evil, evil little fuck. Would look you in the eye and lie. Think of him all the damn time. Miss you still. Hate hate what took you.

Picture: (Insert picture if available)

Date of Birth: August 13, 1964

Date of Death (delete if non-applicable): April 15, 1994

Age at Death (delete if non-applicable): 29

Employment: Danced with Melanie Stewart Dance Company.

Social/Political Groups he attends/attended:

Bars/Clubs he attends/attended:

His friends include: (type your name here, or names of others)

Testimonials to him (add a space before a new testimonial):