In The Studio: Kyle Abraham On the Eerie Beauty of Our Current Political Climate
Abraham.In.Motion performing "Drive." Photo by Ian Douglas.
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.
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.
Mention "flamenco" to anyone in the Cuban dance scene, and they are likely to bring up Irene Rodríguez. Artistic director of Compañía Irene Rodríguez, Cuba's premiere flamenco company, Rodríguez has shared the stage with such renowned flamenco artists as Eva Yerbabuena, María Juncal and Antonio Gades. She is also a faculty member at Havana's Fernando Alonso National Ballet School, and has served as a choreography consultant at Ballet Nacional de Cuba.
Irina Kolpakova in the studio with Katherine Williams. Photo by Quinn Wharton for Pointe.
Being coached by a treasure like former Kirov prima Irina Kolpakova is an experience most dancers only dream of. But company members at American Ballet Theatre have been the lucky beneficiaries of her wisdom since 1990. Thanks to Instagram, where pros like Gillian Murphy and James Whiteside share snippets of their sessions with Kolpakova, any ballet lover can be a fly on the wall during rehearsals with the famed ballet mistress.