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.
Abraham performed with several modern dance companies prior to starting his own, Abraham.In.Motion. He joined David Dorfman Dance in 2007, prior to working with the 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.
Works and career milestones
Abraham established his company 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."
In addition to creating work for his company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 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."
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.
Abraham's choreography has been presented around the United States at venues such as Dance Theater 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.
Awards and recognition
- 2016, Doris Duke Performing Artist Award
- 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 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.
- "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. Retrieved September 25, 2017.
- "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.
- 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 (December 7, 2012). "Behind the Scenes of Another Night: Choreographer Kyle Abraham's Alvin Ailey Debut". Vogue. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
- "RCAII PressRelease FINAL.pdf" (PDF). New York Live Arts. Retrieved April 18, 2014.
- "The Watershed". New York Live Arts. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
- "When the Wolves Came In". New York Live Arts. Retrieved 6 October 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.
- "Kyle Abraham". Doris Duke Foundation. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
- "Kyle Abraham". MacArthur Foundation. September 25, 2013. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
- "Kyle Abraham". Creative Capital. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
- "Kyle Abraham". USA Artists. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
- "Jacob's Pillow Dance Award". Jacob's Pillow. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
- "Award Archive". The Bessies.
- "Kyle Abraham". Princess Grace Foundation USA. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kyle Abraham.|
- 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