“Men call the shadow prejudice, and learnedly explain it as a natural defense of culture against barbarism, learning against ignorance, purity against crime, the ‘higher’ against the ‘lower’ races.”—W.E.B. Du Bois
In 1991, I was fourteen and entering the ninth grade at Schenley High School in the historic Hill District of Pittsburgh. That same year, John Singleton’s film, Boyz N The Hood was released. For me, the film depicted an idealize “Gangsta Boheme” laying aim to the state of the Black American male at the end of the 20th century. Twenty years later and more than ten years into the 21st century, I am focused on investigating the state of Black America and a history therein.
Reimagined as a dance work and now set in Pittsburgh’s historically black neighborhoods, Homewood and the Hill District, Pavement aims to create a strong emotional chronology of a culture conflicted with a history plagued by discrimination, genocide, and a constant quest for a lottery ticket weighted in freedom.
As two rivaling neighborhoods, their histories run parallel. Both experienced a cultural shift in the 1950s when jazz legends like Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington performed at local theaters and Billy Strayhorn spent most of his teenage years. Over a century later, those same theaters are now dilapidated. And the streets that once strived on family run businesses and a thriving jazz scene now show the sad effects of gang violence and crack cocaine.
The mission of Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion is to create an evocative interdisciplinary body of work. Born into Hip hop culture in the late 1970s and grounded in Abraham’s artistic upbringing in classical cello, piano, and the visual arts, the goal of the movement is to delve into identity in relation to a personal history. The work entwines a sensual and provocative vocabulary with a strong emphasis on sound, human behavior and all things visual in an effort to create an avenue for personal investigation and exposing that on stage. A.I.M. is a representation of dancers from various disciplines and diverse personal backgrounds. Combined together, these individualities create movement that is manipulated and molded into something fresh and unique.
Abraham.In.Motion is a proud supporter of Dancers Responding to AIDS.
Kyle Abraham, 2012 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award recipient and 2012 USA Ford Fellow, began his training at the Civic Light Opera Academy and the Creative and Performing Arts High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He continued his dance studies in New York, receiving a BFA from SUNY Purchase and an MFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
In November 2012, Abraham was named the newly appointed New York Live Arts Resident Commissioned Artist for 2012–2014. Just one month later, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater premiered Abraham’s newest work, Another Night at New York’s City Center to rave reviews. 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 2010, Abraham received a prestigious Bessie Award for Outstanding Performance in Dance for his work in The Radio Show, and 2010 Princess Grace Award for Choreography and was selected as one of Dance Magazine’s 25 To Watch in 2009.
In 2011, OUT Magazine labeled Abraham as the “best and brightest creative talent to emerge in New York City in the age of Obama.”
His choreography has been presented throughout the United States and abroad, most recently at On The Boards, South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, REDCAT, Philly Live Arts, Portland’s Time Based Arts Festival, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Danspace Project, Dance Theater Workshop, Bates Dance Festival, Harlem Stage, Fall for Dance Festival at New York’s City Center, Montreal, Germany, Jordan, Ecuador, Dublin’s Project Arts Center, The Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum located in Okinawa Japan, The Andy Warhol Museum and The Kelly-Strayhorn Theater in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA.
In addition to performing and developing new works for his company, Abraham.In.Motion, Abraham also teaches his unique approach to post-modern dance in various schools and studios throughout the United States and is currently working on a new pas de deux for himself and acclaimed Bessie Award winning dancer and New York City Ballet Principle Wendy Whelan while creating new works for his company A/I/M.
Director of Public Programs
Matthew Baker originates from Ann Arbor, Michigan, where, before launching into the dance world, he began his movement exploration as a gymnast and soccer player. Prior to relocating to New York City, Matthew received his BFA in Dance from Western Michigan University in April 2008. In addition to his work with Abraham In Motion. Matthew dances with Keigwin + Company in NYC. In 2012 you can catch Matthew at such venues as The Kennedy Center, The Joyce, American Dance Festival, Bates Dance Festival, and on the cover of Dance Spirit’s Feb Issue. Matthew continues to work with collaborators Liz Riga, and Rachel McKinstry in Launch Movement Experiment. Matthew recently enjoyed assisting Larry Keigwin in choreographing Vogue’s “Fashion Night Out: The Show”, New York’s largest fashion show in history. Matthew thanks Kyle and the rest of the A.I.M. family for this opportunity to grow and enjoy! He would like to thank his family and friends for their love and continued support.
Charlotte Brathwaite, a native of Toronto, Canada, is a freelance director whose works in theater and performance have been presented in New York and internationally in Mexico, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, India, the West Indies and Croatia. Recently, she directed the workshop production of Woman Bomb at the Baryshnikov Arts Center; The Coming… at the Living Theater; Kleopatra: The Dead Don’t Bite with Naturaleza Humana and the Aarshi Theater Company in Kolkata, India; Smile Orange by Trevor Rhone at the Little Carib Theatre in Trinidad, West Indies; American Schemes by Radha Blank at New York City Summerstage; Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams. She holds an MFA from Yale School of Drama and is recipient of the Julian Milton Kaufman Prize for Directing and a Princess Grace Foundation George C. Wolfe Award. For more information, visit her website.
Rena Butler is a native of Chicago, IL. She studied at the Chicago Academy for the Arts under the instruction of Anna Paskevska and Randy Duncan. In 2006, during her tenure at the Academy, Rena performed as a guest artist with Luna Negra Dance Theater. She has also danced and toured with salsa dance company, Pasos Con Sabor to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Rena is the recipient of the Bert Terborgh Award and graduated cum laude in 2011 from SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance. She has had the great privilege of studying dance, choreography, kung fu, and chinese opera abroad at the Taipei National University of the Arts in Taipei, Taiwan. Ms. Butler has worked with choreographers such as Doug Varone, Kevin Wynn, Luca Vegetti, Eduardo Vilaro, and Pam Tanowitz. She joined Abraham.In.Motion in January 2011 as a member/collaborator.
Sam Crawford completed both his B.A. in English and A.S. in Audio Technology at Indiana University in 2003. A move to New York City led him to Looking Glass Studios where he worked on film projects with Philip Glass and Björk. His recent sound designs and compositions have included works for the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company (Venice Biennale, 2010), Yin Mei Dance (Beijing, 2010), Jennifer Nugent, and David Dorfman Dance. He currently resides in Brooklyn where he works as a freelance composer, designer, and engineer. He also plays lap steel and banjo in the groups Bowery Boy Blue (Brooklyn) and Corpus Christi (Rome).
Chalvar Monteiro a native of New Jersey, began his formal dance training at Sharron Miller’s Academy for the Performing Arts. He went on to study at The Ailey School under the direction of Denise Jefferson, and earned a degree in dance from SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance. He was a member of Sidra Bell Dance New York, The Kevin Wynn Collection, and Elisa Monte Dance. He has performed works by Judith Jamison, Thaddeus Davis, Paul Taylor, Merce Cunningham, George Balanchine, Doug Varone and Helen Pickett. Chalvar joined the company in June 2010 and is happy to be working with this group of artists!
Maritza Mosquera, artist community-transformation partner, has developed, organized, and presented new practices in arts education and artist-led community collaborations with several organizations including: Chicago Arts Partners in Education, Finding History in Ourselves, Dialogues for Democracy, and the Andy Warhol Museum. She has taught in various schools and universities across the country including University of Pennsylvania, Temple University and Perspectives and Noble Academies.
Mosquera is currently developing community engagement programs for Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion’s Pavement, presenting dialogue programs for Word of God at The Warhol Museum, and teaching with the TALL program, Pittsburgh. Mosquera has received grants from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, The National Endowments for the Arts, The Ford Foundation, and The Multi-Cultural Arts Initiative for her own work, which she exhibits internationally.
She received an MFA from University of Pennsylvania and BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art. She studied at Skowhegan School of Painting in Maine. For more information, visit her website.
Jeremy “Jae” Nealwas born and raised in Michigan and received his training from Western Michigan University. There he performed in professional works such as Strict Love by Doug Varone, Temporal Trance by Frank Chavez and Harrison McEldowney’s Dance Sport. Since relocating to New York Jeremy has had the privilege of working with SYREN Modern Dance, ChristinaNoel Reaves, Catapult Entertainment, Katherine Helen Fisher Dance, Nathan Trice and now Abraham.In.Motion Jeremy would like to thank his family and friends for their consistent encouragement and support.
Dan Scully is a New York based lighting and projection designer, and has been designing for Kyle Abraham and Abraham in Motion for over six years, including the Bessie Award winning “The Radio Show”. Recent work includes 1969 (Alarm Will Sound/Carnegie Hall), The Witch of Edmonton (Red Bull Theater), The Orchestra Rocks! (Carnegie Hall), Seven Last Words (Lincoln Center Chamber Orchestra Society), The Wii Plays (Ars Nova), among other credits. Regional: Trinity Rep., GEVA, Asolo Rep., Cleveland Playhouse, and Two River Theater Company. Dan is also the resident lighting designer for the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. MFA-NYU/Tisch.
Maleek Washington was born in the Bronx, New York, and at seven years old was introduced to dance at Broadway Dance Center and the Harlem School of the Arts. After attending Laguradia High School for Performing Arts, Maleek continued his education at The Boston Conservatory while performing with the Commonwealth Ballet and working with Complexions. He attended Jacob’s Pillow for 2 consecutive years and has collaborated with CityDance Ensemble, touring to over 8 countries with them. Recently Maleek attended SpringBoard Danse where he was able to join Jose Novas’s Company Flak for a season of European tours. In addition, he has interacted with choreographers such as Azure Barton, Helen Pickett, Michael Utoff, Milton Meyers, Yuriko Takata, and Tim Rushton of the Danish Dance Theater. This is Maleek’s First season with Abraham in Motion. Maleek would like to dedicate his season in the loving memory of his late Grandmother Duella Smith.
Alexandra Wells toured the world and formed lasting partnerships with Rudolf Nureyev and Patrick Dupont as principal dancer of the Ballet National de Nancy. Following her performing career, she returned to the United States first as rehearsal director with Ballet Hispanico and then as faculty member of l’École Supérieure de Danse du Québec. In 2002 she co-founded Springboard Danse Montréal with Susan Alexander. The mission of this project is to connect Emerging artists to job opportunities while providing professional companies with dancers. In 2009 Alexandra designed the Movement Invention Project in NYC, under the umbrella of NJDTE. Its focus is on collaborative and improvisational skills.
Since 1998 Ms. Wells has been a full-time faculty member at The Juilliard School in New York City. In 2012 she was recognized for her entrepreneurial work with Springboard Danse Montreal in the Juilliard Convocation.
Eric Williams is a movement researcher, educator and expresser. He began his professional training at the HARID conservatory under the tutelage of Oliver Pardina and Svetlana Osiyeva. He continued his studies at the University of South Florida. There he studied with Michael Foley, Gretchen Ward Warren and John Parks while performing works by such artists as Donald McKayle, Rick McCullough, Bill T. Jones and Doug Varone. Since his conferral from that school, Eric’s exploration of dance has taken him to New York City. While there he has had the pleasure of working with such artists as Jennifer Muller/The Works, Cherylyn Lavagnino and Darcy Naganuma. This is Eric’s first season with Abraham.In.Motion and he is looking forward to immersing himself in the company’s wonderful creative ethos and dynamic.
Jan 11, 2013 at 6:30pm
Pavement excerpt and new work-in-progress
New York Live Arts 3rd Floor Studios
219 W. 19th St. btw. 7th and 8th Aves.
New York, NY
Jan 12, 2013 at 5pm
131 East 10th St. at 2nd Ave.
New York, NY
Jan 12, 2013 at 7pm
Pavement excerpt and new work-in-progress
New York Live Arts 3rd Floor Studios
219 W. 19th St. btw. 7th and 8th Aves.
New York, NY
Jan 24, 2013 at 7:30pm
Jan 25, 2013 at 8pm
Alabama Dance Festival
Alabama School of Fine Arts
Feb 1–2, 2013 at 8pm
Feb 4–9, 2013
Myrna Loy Center
Feb 14, 2013 at 8pm
7 Days of Opening Nights Festival
Nancy Smith Fichter Dance Theater
Florida State University
Feb 16, 2013 at 8pm
March 14–16, 2013 at 8pm
April 6, 2013 at 8pm
April 7 at 7pm
Nov 16, 2012 at 7:30pm
Nov 17, 2012 at 8pm
Nov 9, 2012 at 8pm
Swarthmore College Lang Performing Arts Center
Nov 1–2, 2012 at 7:30pm and
Nov 3, 2012 at 3pm & 7:30pm
Pavement World Premiere
New York, NY
Oct 12, 2012 at 7:30pm
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
The creation and presentation of Pavement is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts in cooperation with the New England Foundation for the Arts though the National Dance Project. Major support for NDP is provided by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with additional support from the Community Connections Fund of the MetLife Foundation. Support from the NEA provides funding for choreographers in the early stages of their careers.
Developed in part during a Choreographic Fellowship at the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography at Florida State University, Pavement was also created during a residency provided by The Joyce Theater Foundation, New York City, with major support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation as well as during a residency provided by The Joyce Theater Foundation, New York City, with major support from The Rockefeller Foundation’s NYC Cultural Innovation Fund and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
The creation of Pavement was made possible, in part, by the Danspace Project Commissioning Initiative with support from the Jerome Foundation. Pavement was developed, in part, during a creative residency at the Bates Dance Festival.
Harlem Stage is the lead commissioner of Pavement through its WaterWorks program. WaterWorks is supported by Time Warner, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Kyle Receives USA Fellowship
Kyle Abraham is among the 54 remarkable artists to receive one of 50 USA Fellowships from United States Artists (USA), the national grant-making and advocacy organization, which awarded unrestricted grants of $50,000 each. Based in 19 states and originally hailing from many more, the 2012 USA Fellows range from 31 to 81 years of age and represent the most innovative and influential artists in their fields. Reflecting the diversity of artistic practice in America, they include cutting-edge thinkers and traditional practitioners from the fields of architecture and design, crafts and traditional arts, dance, literature, media, music, theater arts, and visual arts.
“The USA Fellows for 2012 are not only incredible artists, they also give back to their communities and engage with the most pressing social issues of our time. We are proud to honor 54 of this country’s greatest living artists and celebrate their extraordinary contributions,” said USA Executive Director Katharine DeShaw.
Read more from the United States Artists press release.
Kyle Gets New York Live Arts Residency
Kyle Abraham, a 35-year-old dancer and choreographer who is known for his neo-hip-hop style, has been named the 2012–2014 New York Live Arts Resident Commissioned Artist, the organization announced Wednesday.
The program serves midcareer artists with nearly $280,000 in direct support: a salary for two years, a two-year residency and a commission of a new work or works for New York Live Arts. Mr. Abraham will work with his company, Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion, as well as other composers and visual artists to create new works that will have premieres in September 2014. Mr. Abraham has worked with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and Dance Theater Workshop, the two organizations that merged in 2011 to form New York Live Arts.
“Kyle is among a group of artists who are expanding the notion of what embodied investigation can be in the choreographic field,’’ Bill T. Jones, the executive artistic director of New York Live Arts said in a statement. “With his residency, we hope that he will have the support he needs to continue to develop his choreographic voice.”
The residency program, which is by invitation only, was created in 2011 to address the lack of support for midcareer artists. Artists are selected by Mr. Jones and Carla Peterson, the Artistic Director of Live Arts.
(Text from The New York Times.)
Kyle Receives 2012 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award
Kyle has been chosen to receive the 2012 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award! There are not enough words to express his (and our) excitement over receiving such an honor.
Past recipients of this award include Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar, Alonzo King, Merce Cunningham, Bill T. Jones, Crystal Pite and now Kyle Abraham! That list of fine folks are some of the artists that inspired Kyle to become a choreographer. So to be honored and listed among them, receiving such an illustrious award, just has him overwhelmed with excitement and gratitude.
The news came as the company was finishing up an amazing four-performance run of The Radio Show at the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, SC. More information about the award can be found in this press release from Jacob’s Pillow.
United States Artists Fellowship press release
Kyle Abraham Gets New New York Live Arts Residency (NY Times)
Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award press release (PDF)
KDKA Pittsburgh TV interview
American Urban Radio Networks video/radio interview
New York Times interview
Washington Post feature
New York Times review
Donate to A.I.M. via New York Live Arts
Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion is a fiscally sponsored member of New York Live Arts, Inc., a non-profit tax-exempt organization. Contributions in support of Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion’s work are greatly appreciated and may be made payable to New York Live Arts, Inc., earmarked for “the New York Live Arts member project of Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion,” and sent to:
New York Live Arts
219 West 19th Street
New York, NY 10011
A description of the work and current project activities for which such contributions will be used are available from Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion or New York Live Arts, upon request. All contributions are fully deductible to the extent allowed by law. (Note: A copy of New York Live Arts’ latest annual financial report filed with the New York State Department of State may be obtained by writing to the N.Y.S. Dept. of State, Charities Registration, 162 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12231, or to New York Live Arts, 219 West 19th Street, New York, NY 10011)
Did you miss your chance to buy some fine A.I.M apparel at our last show? Visit our online store to order.
Connect with us
Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion is a member of Pentacle (Dance Works, Inc.) a non-profit service organization for the performing arts, Mara Greenberg and Ivan Sygoda, Directors. 246 West 38th Street, 4th, New York, NY 10018. Tel (212) 278-8111, Fax (212) 278-8555.
© 2012 Kyle Abraham / Abraham.In.Motion