The Dance Department is pleased to announce that acclaimed New York City-based choreographer Kyle Abraham will be on campus Oct. 4-12, with his company Abraham.In.Motion (AIM). The company’s residency will include master classes and workshops on campus as well as two Geneva community outreach events, and will culminate in a performance of “Pavement,” an evening-length dance piece, on Friday, Oct. 12, at 7:30 p.m. in Winn-Seeley Gym Theater.
Honored in June with the 2012 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award and recipient of a 2010 “Bessie” Award for outstanding performance in dance for his piece “The Radio Show,” Abraham began his training at the Civic Light Opera Academy and the Creative Performing Arts High School in his home town of Pittsburgh, Pa. He continued his dance studies in New York, receiving a BFA from SUNY Purchase and an MFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Abraham has danced with acclaimed modern dance companies including David Dorfman Dance, Bill T Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Dance Alloy and the Kevin Wynn Collection. In addition to “Pavement,” Abraham is at work creating a new piece for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for a December, 2012 premiere and a duet with New York City Ballet principal dancer Wendy Whalen.
Since forming his company, Abraham.In.Motion in 2006, Abraham has garnered multiple accolades, including being named as one of Dance Magazine’s “25 To Watch,” an Individual Artist Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts, and being described by OUT Magazine as one of “the best and brightest creative talents to emerge in New York City in the age of Obama.”
Audiences in Geneva will have the opportunity to see “Pavement” before its official premiere in November at the Harlem Stages in New York.
Abraham describes “Pavement” as a culturally referenced, evening-length dance work that draws inspiration from W.E.B. Dubois’ classic essays “Souls of Black Folk,” the John Singleton film “Boyz N The Hood,” and Phillipe Jaroussky’s album “Carestini: The Story of a Castrato.” Abraham sets “Pavement” in Pittsburgh’s historically black neighborhoods, Homewood and the Hill District, and layers contemporary dance movement, classical music, and narrative to evoke an emotional chronology of a culture “plagued by discrimination, genocide, and a constant quest for a lottery ticket.”
Professor of Dance Cynthia Williams was first drawn to Abraham’s work when she saw “The Radio Show” in 2011, and began conversations with Abraham at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in the summer of 2011 about bringing his company to Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
“Kyle’s work is powerful,” Williams notes. “The questions he explores are gritty and relevant; his choreography is visually stunning: expansive gestures, movement that transforms from fluid undulations to explosive energy, and an emotional content that reaches everyone in the audience. I am thrilled to host Kyle Abraham and Abraham.In.Motion for this October residency.”
While in Geneva, AIM will be offering master classes, discussions, a lecture-demonstration at Geneva High School, and the Oct. 12 performance:
Friday, Oct. 5: company members will teach a master class in modern dance from 3-4:30 p.m., in Winn Seeley Dance Studio (HWS students participate for free; guests are $10).
Sunday, Oct. 7: There will be the opportunity to be involved in a “Dialogue in Motion” at the Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church, 70 Clark Street from 2-4:30 p.m., where AIM dancers will perform excerpts from “Pavement” and join members of the Mount Olive Missionary Baptist congregation and the Geneva Human Rights Commission Community Dialogue on Race in a multi-layered dialogue on race, identity, and neighborhood. Space is limited; if interested, please contact Cynthia Williams.
Thursday, Oct. 11: Abraham will offer a workshop called “Dance as Identity” from 11:55 a.m. to 1:20 p.m., in Winn Seeley Dance Studio.
The residency culminates with Friday night’s performance of “Pavement” at 7:30 p.m., in Winn Seeley Gym Theater. Tickets for the dance concert are $8 general admission and $5 for students and seniors. Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ students are free with student ID, courtesy of Hobart Student Government and William Smith Congress. Tickets are available at the door, beginning one hour before curtain. For further information about the Geneva residency of Kyle Abraham and Abraham.In.Motion, please contact Cynthia Williams at Williams@hws.edu or by phone (315) 781-3495.
The presentation of Kyle Abraham/Abraham in Motion was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and additional funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Additionally, this project is supported by the New York State DanceForce with funding from the New York State Council on the Arts Dance Program. This tour of Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion is made possible by a grant from Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.