Kyle Abraham (born August 14, 1977) is an American choreographer. He began dancing when he was young at the Civic Light Opera Academy and the Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He received BFA from SUNY Purchase and an MFA from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Prior to starting his company A.I.M (Abraham.In.Motion), he performed with a number of companies, including David Dorfman Dance, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, The Kevin Wynn Collective, Nathan Trice/Rituals, Dance Alloy and Attack Theatre.
In 2009, Abraham was listed in Dance Magazine′s "25 to Watch" where he was described as, "equal parts power and grace." In 2010, he was awarded a Bessie Award for his piece The Radio Show. Critic Wendy Perron has described him as "sensual, thoughtful, wild, stuttering", commenting that he was "burning a hole through that tiny space" with regard to his "Heartbreaks and Homies" evening of dance at Joe's Pub. Abraham's work The Runaway for the New York City Ballet’s 2018 Fall Fashion Gala was recognized as a “Best Dance of 2018” by The New York Times.
Works and career milestones
Abraham established his company A.I.M (formerly Abraham.In.Motion) in 2006 with its first major work, Fading into Something Tangible, premiering in Pittsburgh. Abraham creates work for his company that draws from his personal experiences; often exploring themes of adversity, emotion and the relationship between music and dance.
In Abraham's The Radio Show, he "delves into identity and personal history....Creating an abstract narrative around the loss of communication, he investigates the effects of the abrupt discontinuation of a radio station on a community and the lingering effects of Alzheimer's and aphasia on a family. Abraham mixes recordings of classic soul and hip-hop with contemporary classical compositions to create an eclectic score that evokes fond memories and a passion for what is lost."
Abraham's other works include A Ramp to Paradise, Op. 1, Live! The Realest MC, and Pavement. A Ramp to Paradise, choreographed by Kyle Abraham and commissioned by THPAC, is about a true story by Alex Smith that describes the history of the black gay underground club called Paradise Garage. This club was the "it" place in the New York City 1970s and '80s dance world. Op. 1 is a performance inspired by photographer Eadweard Muybridge's art. Live! The Realest MC (commissioned by The Kitchen and choreographed by Kyle Abraham) is a reenactment of Walt Disney's Pinocchio in an urban environment. In consists of a journey to find "realness" and includes hip hop karaoke. Pavement, premiered at Harlem Stage in November 2012, is inspired by the 1991 film Boyz n the Hood. It includes a wide variety of music, ranging from Bach to Sam Cooke, to express the themes of violence, love, and pain in Pavement. Seen from the perspective of a group of friends struggling to stay together while their community is tearing apart, critics were struck by this piece, Andrew Boynton of The New Yorker saying: "Pavement is a hard, unforgiving thing, but for some people it's also home."
Abraham was the 2012-14 Resident Commissioned Artist at New York Live Arts, and created two new works for the Live Arts stage. The Watershed premiered at New York Live Arts on September 23, 2014 with scenic design by visual artist Glenn Ligon and a score ranging from a contemporary cello suite to Otis Redding. The second work developed at Live Arts, When the Wolves Came In premiered on October 25, 2014, also with scenic design by Glenn Ligon and featuring music from We Insist! by Max Roach as well as an original composition by Robert Glasper.
In addition to creating work for his company, Abraham has also been commissioned by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater  and New York City Ballet  for new works. Another Night, commissioned for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, premiered at New York's City Center in December 2012. Of this piece, Rebecca Bengal of Vogue writes: "What Abraham brings to Ailey is an avant-garde aesthetic, a original and politically minded downtown sensibility that doesn't distinguish between genres but freely draws on a vocabulary that is as much Merce and Martha as it is Eadweard Muybridge and Michael Jackson." Untitled America, also commissioned for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, is a 3-part work which premiered in 2016. The Runaway, for New York City Ballet, premiered at the 2018 Fall Fashion Gala, and was recognized as "Best Dance of 2018" by the New York Times.
Abraham collaborated with New York City Ballet principal dancer Wendy Whelan to create a duet entitled The Serpent and the Smoke that premiered at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in 2013. Abraham has choreographed for film as well, including the 2017 feature-length film The Book of Henry directed by Colin Trevorrow. Abraham is also visiting professor in residence at UCLA.
INDY, a 2018 work commissioned by the Joyce Theater, was the first full-length solo choreographed and performed by Abraham in nearly ten years. The dance features original music by Jerome Begin and visual art by Abigail DeVille.
Abraham's choreography has been presented around the United States at venues such as Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Joyce Theater, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Dance Theater Workshop, Bates Dance Festival, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Fall for Dance Festival at New York's City Center, Lincoln Center, South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, On The Boards, Portland's Time Based Arts Festival, REDCAT, Philly Live Arts, Danspace Project, The Andy Warhol Museum, and the Harlem Stage. Outside the United States, AIM and Abraham have performed ar The Okinawa Prefectural Museum (Japan), Théâtre de la Ville (France), Maison de la Dance (France), Springboard Danse Montreal (Canada), Project Arts Centre (Ireland), and the Internationales Solo-Tanz-Theater Festival (Germany), as well as venues Jordan and Ecuador.
Awards and recognition
- 2018, Princess Grace Statue Award
- 2017–2018, Joyce Creative Residency Artist
- 2016, Doris Duke Performing Artist Award
- 2015, New York City Center Choreographer in Residence
- 2014, Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts, Washington & Jefferson College.
- 2013, MacArthur Fellowship
- 2013, Creative Capital Award
- 2012, United States Artists Fellow
- 2012, Jacob's Pillow Dance Award
- 2010, New York Dance and Performance "Bessie" Award
- 2010, Princess Grace Foundation Fellowship in Choreography
- Potter, Julie (February 18, 2011). "Owning it: Kyle Abraham in fast and slow motion". The San Francisco Bay Guardian. Retrieved September 27, 2017.
- "Kyle Abraham". New York Live Arts. Retrieved September 25, 2017.
- Sucato, Steve. "25 to Watch". Dance Magazine. Retrieved September 25, 2017.
- "Award Archive". The Bessies.
- Perron, Wendy (February 14, 2011). "Kyle Abraham at Joe's Pub: Explosive dancing in a tiny space". Dance Magazine. Retrieved September 25, 2017.
- Macaulay, Alastair; Kourlas, Gia; Seibert, Brian; Burke, Siobhan (December 7, 2018). "Best Dance of 2018". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
- "Radio Show / Abraham.In.Motion". Abrahaminmotion.org. Retrieved April 18, 2014.
- Boynton, Andrew (November 11, 2012). "Boyz n the Hood Reimagined As Dance". The New Yorker. Retrieved November 20, 2013.
- "RCAII PressRelease FINAL.pdf" (PDF). New York Live Arts. Retrieved April 18, 2014.
- "The Watershed". New York Live Arts. Retrieved October 6, 2017.
- "When the Wolves Came In". New York Live Arts. Retrieved October 6, 2017.,
- La Rocco, Claudia (December 7, 2012). "Ailey Offers Premiere of Another Night by Kyle Abraham". The New York Times. Retrieved November 20, 2013.
- Burke, Siobhan (September 21, 2018). "The Choreographer Kyle Abraham Mixes Things Up at City Ballet". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
- Bengal, Rebecca (December 7, 2012). "Behind the Scenes of Another Night: Choreographer Kyle Abraham's Alvin Ailey Debut". Vogue. Retrieved September 27, 2017.
- Wakin, Daniel J., "An Evening of Dance for Wendy Whelan and More at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival", The New York Times, December 5, 2012; accessed December 28, 2012.
- Burke, Anne Marie. "Kyle Abraham, dancer-choreographer and MacArthur Fellow, to join UCLA faculty". UCLA Newsroom. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
- "Kyle Abraham". Doris Duke Foundation. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
- "President and CEO of ADP Delivers Keynote Address at 215th Commencement".
- "Kyle Abraham". MacArthur Foundation. September 25, 2013. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
- "Kyle Abraham". Creative Capital. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
- "Kyle Abraham". USA Artists. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
- "Jacob's Pillow Dance Award". Jacob's Pillow. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
- "Kyle Abraham". Princess Grace Foundation USA. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kyle Abraham.|
- A.I.M Google Arts and Culture
- A.I.M Company Website
- Archival footage of Kyle Abraham dancing Inventing Pookie Jenkins in 2010 at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival
- Archival footage of Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion in Pavement in 2013 at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.
- Archival footage of Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion in Dearest Home in 2017 at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.
- Archival footage of Camille A. Brown and Kyle Abraham performing in their work How We Process Jacob's Pillow in 2011.
- Image Gallery of Kyle Abraham and Abraham.In.Motion in Pavement at Jacob's Pillow, August 2013
- Image Gallery of Abraham.In.Motion in When the Wolves Came In at ICA Boston, October 2014