Dancemaker Kyle Abraham makes it personal
Like Martha Graham, choreographer Kyle Abraham hails from Pittsburgh. But unlike Graham, who never posted or tweeted and whose lover, Louis Horst, called her “Mirthless Martha,” Abraham has 4,000 friends following him on Facebook. Consequently we know a lot about him, like that he’s seriously bugged by Beyoncé’s heavy borrowing of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s choreography, that he enjoys Miguel but not as much as Kanye, and that he digs Kevin Wynn’s dance classes at Steps New York.
Abraham brings his Steel City-inspired “The Radio Show” in four performances at REDCAT this weekend.
Behind the Facebook chatter looms a hardworking dancemaker. Awards and accolades are stacking up: a spot in Dance Magazine’s 25 to Watch, a Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant, a Pennsylvania Council for the Arts Fellowship. “My main thing has always been choreography,” he said last summer at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. “I was always making up dances in my room [as a kid].
This is a guy who stays poised. Asked by two giggling interviewers in a post-BESSIE award show conversation how he plans to celebrate snagging first prize for the “The Radio Show,” Abraham responded coolly, “maybe [I’ll] cry a little bit. Then hang out with my mother, my sister, and my friends.”
That’s not mirthless. It’s just serious. Abraham’s intensity is clear in the video of his solo, “Pookie Jenkins,” which zoomed dance-world attention onto him.
— Debra Levine
Photo: Kyle Abraham. Credit: Steven Schreiber