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Kyle Abraham and A.I.M (Abraham in Motion)

A. Learn about Kyle:

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Kyle-Abraham (Links to an external site.)

.

B. Watch videos 1-3 and read the article about “Untitled Love” and answer the questions at the bottom of the assignment. 15pts

1. The Radio Show

https://vimeo.com/10347636 (Links to an external site.)

The Radio Show creates an abstract narrative around the loss of communication, investigating the effects of the abrupt discontinuation of a radio station on a community and the lingering effects of Alzheimer’s and aphasia on a family.

Broken up into various shorter works that blend my fondest memories of driving with my family and listening to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s radio station Hot 106.7FM WAMO and its sister station AM 860. On September 8, 2009, WAMO, the only urban radio station in Pittsburgh sadly, went off-air.

With the recent turmoil surrounding the death of 16 year old Derrion Albert in Chicago discussed over the airwaves of radio stations around the world, I wondered how aware listeners were to the goings on in other urban communities around the country now that its voice had been taken away.

Without Black Radio, where is the audible voice of the black community? Radio was so prevalent during times of strife in the past. Where is its place today? Is radio fading away? Are we still listening?

Reinterpreting those questions into the context of my father’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s ten years ago and his more recent aphasia-afflicted conditions where these losses of voice find a common thread.

2.  “Absent Matter”

https://vimeo.com/199036133 (Links to an external site.)

“ABSENT MATTER (2015), explores the perceived posthumous grandeur of death and violence in urban communities throughout the US through sound and movement, tracing the racial epithets in songs of Grief, Love, and Death by artists ranging from Notorious B.I.G and Tupac to contemporary rap artists like Kendrick Lamar and Drake. The work explores hip-hop’s lineage to create an abstracted dialogue about race in America through the lens of those who feel unacknowledged or without value.”

3. A.I.M/Kyle Abraham “Meditation: A Silent Prayer”

https://vimeo.com/421092897 (Links to an external site.)

4. Read this article about Kyle’s most recent piece, “An Untitled Love”

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/24/arts/dance/review-kyle-abraham-an-untitled-love.html (Links to an external site.)

PDF of article:

Download KyleAbraham_untitledlove.pdf

Questions To answer AFTER you watch and read):

What are your emotional responses to the videos, either by themselves or as a collection? Which stood out to you the most? Why?

After reading about Kyle,  and the blurbs about the work, how do his personal experiences show up in his dances? How does the work Kyle make with his company A.I.M reflect current issues in America?

How is his choreography (not just style- but  ALSO subject matter) different and/or similar to other choreographers we have learned about?

Make sure you read the article and mention “Untitled Love”, Kyle’s most recent work with A.I.M.

Review: Kyle Abraham’s Theatrical Love
Letter to Social Dance
In “An Untitled Love,” an hourlong show at BAM, Abraham and his dancers turn the
stage into a house party set to D’Angelo tracks.
From left, Dorchel Haqq, Tamisha A. Guy, Catherine Kirk and Gianna Theodore in “An
Untitled Love.”Credit…Tony Turner
By Brian Seibert
Feb. 24, 2022
An Untitled Love
NYT Critic’s Pick
The couch is the tip off. Ordinary but comfy-looking, covered in plastic, it’s onstage
throughout Kyle Abraham’s newest work, “An Untitled Love,” serving the function
that couches usually do. Here it signals that this dance is a house party.
You can tell what kind of party it is by the soundtrack: a playlist drawing from the
three major albums by the R&B great D’Angelo. This is sweaty, soulful music, mostly
love songs suggestive of the bedroom, with deep funk kept subtle and spare on a low
burner so as never to break the mood.
The guests behave accordingly. In this hourlong work, which had its New York debut
at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Harvey Theater on Wednesday, the dancers in
Abraham’s company, A.I.M, come and go as though the stage were just a room in the
house. They gather on the couch to gossip and banter. They make moves and pair off
and disappear for a while. Or — who could resist these grooves? — they decide to
dance a bit.
And because these are gorgeous dancers, that dancing is gorgeous, if low-density:
idiomatically attuned to the music but heightened. You can imagine that this is what it
might be like to hang with these performers in their off time, watching them get down
like the rest of us but casually throw in a killer move or a few perfect pirouettes or
briefly sync up for some shared steps. And then go back to chatting, a different version
of the same activity. “An Untitled Love” beautifully presents dance as interpersonal
communication. It’s a theatrical love letter to social dance.
Image
Logan Hernandez, Jae Neal, Donovan Reed and Claude Johnson. Credit…Tony Turner
At first we don’t hear the chatting, and then we do. In a recent interview , the regally
elegant dancer Catherine Kirk characterized the show as a “Black love sitcom,” and
that’s accurate. This is standard material, not exceptional like D’Angelo’s voice.
There’s lots of easy, familiar humor about ashy ankles, McRib sandwiches, church and
the unreliability of men — ordinary in a Black sitcom, but not so common at the
Brooklyn Academy.
Jae Nael is the main comic figure, sauntering through with a Capri-Sun or some salad,
dropping into splits, drinking too much. Kirk resists then gives in to the advances of
Martell Ruffin, and in a break for the dancers, we hear her offstage monologue as she
gets ready for a date with him, torn between “playing with boys” and the threat of
being single for life. After he arrives, they seem, confusingly, to end up back at the first
party or one just like it.
That gathering doesn’t sound like the type to attract the cops, but an “Untitled Love”
turns darker as D’Angelo’s voice mixes with the crackle of police, or EMT, radio. One
by one, the dancers lie face down on the floor, wrists crossed behind their backs (as in
several previous Abraham dances). We hear the unidentified voice of Doc Rivers , the
coach of the Los Angeles Clippers, marveling at how an unnamed “they” talk about
fear when “we’re the ones getting killed,” and finding it amazing “why we keep loving
this country, and this country does not love us back.” Another kind of love and its
obstacles.
And then comes D’Angelo’s “Untitled (How Does It Feel),” which could be considered
this show’s title track. It’s a duet for Kirk and Ruffin, but they’re separated by a neon
blue line on the ground. She crosses it to take his weight in tender backbends yet
keeps receding into the shadows as their connection remains unstable. Alone, he
builds to a broken explosion along with D’Angelo’s gospel scream, a piercing
expression of the love inside and all that blocks it.
Neal undercuts the tension with a joke, and we’re back at the party, with the cast
gathering on the couch to watch the incredible Tamisha A. Guy and Claude Johnson
dance into romance. As theater, there are aspects of “An Untitled Love” I found too
easy and familiar, both in the couch-cozy comedy and the commentary. It doesn’t rise
to the magic of “Lovers Rock,” the 2020 Steve McQueen film that gets a whole world
into a single dance party. But within its good time is a great deal of love.

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