Kyle Abraham at Joe's Pub: Explosive dancing in a tiny space

posted by Wendy Perron on Monday, Feb 14, 2011
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Wendy

Wow, what a mover! From the first moment of seeing the light shimmer on his red-jacketed, subtly shaking shoulders, I was captivated. He danced to Otis Redding’s “These Arms of Mine,” and we saw Kyle’s arms twitch, curl, and shudder…wanting to hold and be held, but expressing all kinds of other nervous energy. Kyle Abraham is sensual, thoughtful, wild, stuttering. He didn’t hold anything when the lyric said "hold;" he didn’t burn when the lyric said "burning." Or did he? He was sort of burning a hole through that tiny space.

 

He embodied the yearning of the song without illustrating the lyrics literally. The song got to every inch of him—the undulating pelvis, the jittery hands. Explosive but calm too. We couldn’t get enough of him.(If you want to see the "25 to Watch" on Kyle from 2009, click here.)

 

 

The whole evening, titled “Heartbreaks and Homies,” was done to popular songs—which of course is against the advice of choreography teachers. But it works so well at Joe’s Pub, known for its music and the intimacy of sipping a drink while taking in the physicality of dancers at close range. Kyle showed some duets for other dancers too, one that started with two men locked in a long kiss—but his own dancing was way sexier than that kiss. David Dorfman and Faye Driscoll contributed duets that broadened the dramatic range. It’s great that the presenter, DanceNOW (in partnership with Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater) mixed the generations for their Dancemopolitan series.

 

This blog is short because I didn’t take notes during the performance. And that was a good thing, cuz then I was ready when Kyle stepped off the stage and lingered near me so I could “dance” with him from my seat. That was a five-second highpoint for me.

 

For Kyle’s last solo, he put on a pair of shoes and asked one of the patrons to hold a clip light and follow him with it. Once he got to the stage, his dancing expanded exponentially. He scooted and lunged and jumped in jagged shapes to a song by Jazmine Sullivan, thrilling us all.

 

 

 

Steven Schreiber, Courtesy DanceNow [NYC]