In The Studio: Kyle Abraham On the Eerie Beauty of Our Current Political Climate
The ever-so-busy Kyle Abraham is back in New York City for a brief visit with his company Abraham.In.Motion as they prepare for an exciting spring season of new endeavors with some surprising guests. The company will be debuting a new program at The Joyce Theater on May 1, that will include two new pieces from Abraham, restaged works by Doug Varone and Bebe Miller, and a world premiere from Andrea Miller. Talk about an exciting line-up!
We caught up with Abraham during a recent rehearsal where he revealed what he is tired of hearing in the dance community.
What is typically the jumping off point in your choreographic process?
Generally each process is really different from the next. When I think about a piece like Drive (a work of Abraham's that premiered last year), I did have an impetus and a fire to create a certain type of work, and I was drawn to Theo Parrish's music. For Dearest Home, its themes were already in place before we got into the studio and then we made changes to the material in terms of timing and quality.
Catherine Ellis Kirk and Marcella Lewis rehearsing "Dearest Home." Photo by Sandy Aldieri of Perceptions Photography, Courtesy Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts.
We recently posted a story about what we wish for the dance world in 2018. Is there anything specific you are looking forward to seeing?
I love dance and I really appreciate the work that is being presented. I feel lucky to be able to see what's happening on both the East and West Coasts—and what's happening abroad. There is so much amazing work out there.
Abraham.In.Motion rehearsing "Drive." Photo by Tim Barden.
Is there anything you're sick of seeing?
No, but the one thing that is driving me crazy is when people talk about the age of the current President because for a lot of people that are disenfranchised, they were already disenfranchised. So if you're just now making work because of this man it doesn't really make sense to me. I'm not saying it's wrong but I don't really know how this one event has shifted the dance world so much. I guess it takes a different spark for everyone to wake up or feel affected. It's the eerie beauty of our current political climate. Whether it's a trend or not—it's still doing something for the greater good.
Abraham.In.Motion will be at The Joyce May 1-6.
Back in 2011 when Joe Lanteri first approached Katie Langan, chair of Marymount Manhattan College's dance department, about getting involved with New York City Dance Alliance, she was skeptical about the convention/competition world.
"But I was pleasantly surprised by the enormity of talent that was there," she says. "His goal was to start scholarship opportunities, and I said okay, I'm in."
Today, it's fair to say that Lanteri has far surpassed his goal of creating scholarship opportunities. But NYCDA has done so much more, bridging the gap between the convention world and the professional world by forging a wealth of partnerships with dance institutions from Marymount to The Ailey School to Complexions Contemporary Ballet and many more. There's a reason these companies and schools—some of whom otherwise may not see themselves as aligned with the convention/competition world—keep deepening their relationships with NYCDA.
Now, college scholarships are just one of many ways NYCDA has gone beyond the typical weekend-long convention experience and created life-changing opportunities for students. We rounded up some of the most notable ones:
We knew that Ivo van Hove and Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker's production of West Side Story would challenge our preconceived notions about the show.
But a recent Vogue story gives us a taste of just how nontraditional the Broadway revival will be. Most notably, van Hove is cutting "I Feel Pretty" and the "Somewhere" ballet, condensing the show into one act to better reflect the urgency of the 48-hour plot. (The choice has been approved by the West Side Story estate, including Sondheim, who has "long been uncomfortable" with some of the "I Feel Pretty" lyrics.)
"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.