Founded in 2017, Hawkinsdance is a Tucson-based contemporary dance company that works on a project-by-project basis. We produce work for both proscenium and non-traditional spaces, performing for our Tucson community and beyond.
Hawkinsdance contributes to the Tucson arts community and the collective American cultural landscape through its commitment to the propagation of new choreographic works.
By providing a platform for artists, curating impactful programs, and cultivating community engagement, we create opportunity for human connection, fundamental to a rich culture and essential to the exchanging of the ideas and values of this age.
As we lift up our dance artists and connect with our community, we pursue the horizons of our creative potential and contribute to the forward progression of the universal and ageless art form of dance.
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Shelly Hawkins founded Hawkinsdance in 2017 as a way to bring contemporary dance to the forefront of the art scene in Tucson, and to provide a platform for her fellow artists. She has choreographed for both the proscenium stage, film, and non-traditional spaces including the Phoenix Art Museum and the Tucson Museum of Art (TMA). While Hawkinsdance was in residence at TMA, her work was shown at three events surrounding the 2018 Arizona Biennial Exhibition. In 2019, she presented The People Electric, her first evening length work with the company. That year she was also a commissioned artist at the Breaking Ground Contemporary Dance Festival in Tempe, AZ.
Hawkins received her Master of Fine Arts from the University of Arizona School of Dance with an emphasis in Choreography and Performance. She has taught both major level and non-major level dance classes at the University of Arizona and the University of Nevada - Las Vegas.
Hawkins’ work is punchy, electric, and emotionally raw. Her movements are grounded, yet suspend and swing with a slow-to-quick sense of unpredictable freedom, reflecting her Lewitzky modern and Giordano jazz dance training. Her work is often non-narrative, though typically expresses an evolution or journey. Thematically, her work reflects ideas of feminism, transformation, the afterlife, and a search for truth.
"By its very nature, dance is of the moment. It is performance art, made of flesh and blood, living and dying in the same breath. It is an intrinsically compelling expression of contemporary art that belongs alongside and in communion with other forms of visual art, to be experienced, enjoyed, and critiqued in much the same manner. I am interested in how the impermanence of dance contrasts with other forms of visual art, and how that impermanence can highlight the life-force of the work, especially in non-conventional spaces like museums and galleries.
For the proscenium stage, elements of film, installation, or sculptural work can recalibrate a viewer’s expectation, so they understand the art of dance can be more than an isolated occurrence existing outside of the greater art world.
I am also interested in the way dance on film can escape the confines of the present moment. Considering my deep need to connect with my community, dance on film can offer intimacy as well as access, which is more important then ever before.
I care about increasing access to the art form as a core value, and as a means of progress. Dance speaks to our bodies. It is my desire to create work for my community which inspires a physical knowing, as much as it tells a story and evokes thought."
Founder and Artistic Director, Shelly Hawkins
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