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

February 13, 2011

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.)

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.