Kyle Abraham (born 1977) is an American choreographer. He began dancing under the tutelage of the Civic Light Opera Academy and he studied at the Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He went on to study dance at SUNY Purchase and received an MFA from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Received an honorary Doctorate from SUNY Purchase.
Abraham has performed with a variety of modern dance companies prior to starting his own, Abraham.In.Motion. He joined David Dorfman Dance in 2007, prior to working with the likes of 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 2008, he was awarded a Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant. In 2010, he was awarded a Bessie Award and a Princess Grace Award for his piece The Radio Show. Critics have consistently praised him for his commitment to movement and vivid emotional output. Wendy Perron describes 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. He was also described as the "best and brightest creative talent to emerge in New York City in the age of Obama."
Kyle Abraham established his company Abraham.In.Motion in 2006 with its first presentation called Fading into Something Tangible, first seen in Pittsburgh, PA. 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."
In addition to creating work for his company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater recently commissioned Abraham for a new work. The piece, called Another Night, 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."
In 2012, it was announced that Abraham is among a group of 54 artists around the country to be named a United States Artists Fellow. This award provides an unrestricted grant to support remarkable artists and the influential work that they create. In 2013, it was announced that Abraham was the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation's fellowship, a so-called Genius Grant.
New York Live Arts
Additionally, in November 2012, it was announced that Abraham would be the Resident Commission Artist for 2012-14 for New York Live Arts, and would work with his company, as well as other acclaimed artists, to create new works to be premiered in September 2014. Along with the work created for New York Live Arts, Abraham also worked with New York City Ballet’s principal dancer, Wendy Whelan, to create a new duet to be premiered at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in the summer of 2013.
His choreography has been presented around the United States at venues such as Dance Theatre Workshop, Bates Dance Festival, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Fall for Dance Festival at New York’s City Center, South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, On The Boards, Portland's Time Based Arts Festival, REDCAT, Philly Live Arts, Danspace Project, and the Harlem Stage. His work has also been seen internationally at The Okinawa Prefectural Museum (Japan), Springboard Danse Montreal (Canada), Project Arts Centre (Ireland), and the Internationales Solo-Tanz-Theater Festival (Germany), as well as various locations in Jordan and Ecuador.
- Potter, Julie (February 18, 2011). "Owning it: Kyle Abraham in fast and slow motion". The San Francisco Bay Guardian. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
- "Abraham.In.Motion Press Kit" (PDF). abrahaminmotion.org. Kyle Abraham Artistic Director. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
- Sucato, Steve. "25 to Watch". Dance Magazine. Retrieved July 21, 2011.
- "Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater — Kyle Abraham Bio". alvinailey.org. Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
- Perron, Wendy (February 14, 2011). "Kyle Abraham at Joe's Pub: Explosive dancing in a tiny space". Dance Magazine. Archived from the original on July 28, 2012. Retrieved July 21, 2011.
- "Gay & Lesbian Travel, Fashion, Culture & Politics". Out Magazine. Retrieved April 18, 2014.
- "Kyle Abraham — MacArthur Foundation". macfound.org. September 25, 2013. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
- "Pavement — Kyle Abraham / 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.
- La Rocco, Claudia (December 7, 2012). "Ailey Offers Premiere of Another Night by Kyle Abraham". The New York Times. Retrieved November 20, 2013.
- Bengal, Rebecca.  Vogue, accessed December 28, 2012.
- United States Artists Official Website
- "RCAII PressRelease FINAL.pdf" (PDF). Abrahaminmotion.org. Retrieved April 18, 2014.
- 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.
- Archival footage of Kyle Abraham dancing Inventing Pookie Jenkins in 2010 at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival
- Archival footage of Kyle Abraham in PillowTalk: Dance and Photography 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 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