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Kyle Abraham

In Motion


Photography LISA KATO

Kyle Abraham is a visionary choreographer whose artistry transcends the boundaries of dance. With his unapologetic and authentic approach to movement, Abraham has emerged as a leading voice in the contemporary dance scene. Drawing on his personal experiences, social issues, and the rich cultural heritage of his African-American and queer identities, he creates performances that are both deeply emotional and intellectually stimulating. Through his works, he invites audiences to reflect on the complexities of the human condition, to question societal norms, and to celebrate the diversity and resilience of the human spirit. In the following conversation, we discuss with Abraham on how he continues to push the boundaries of dance and perceive movement as a universal language.

PLUS: How did you come to choreography? Did you have an epiphany or a sudden awakening?

Kyle Abraham: I was dancing from early on but not in a classroom setting per se. I have an older sister who’s five years apart, and she used to teach me social dances to hip-hop and more ever since I was young. But I think what truly pushed me to study dance was when I saw The Joffrey Ballet perform a program to music by Prince. It opened my eyes to a new way of movement that I was unaware of and really shifted my perspective. 

P: Looking back through your career, what were some of your ways of translating inspired ideas into movements?

KA: I’m happy to say that the ways I work haven’t changed much since I first started dancing in my room, emoting to music — which ironically is still a part of my process. Depending on what kind of hypothesis or ideas might be at play, I get up at a certain point and try to generate material. It could be by studying music for a while before creating the movements or listening to it and thinking about which dancers might look best with certain selections. But then I have to get up at some point, trying to embody as best I can with the music or without, and not overthink them. If I overthink, I wind up blocking the process, blocking the work too much. 

P: What drives you to trigger your emotions in your performances?  

KA: Sometimes it’s the themes, as they can play a big part in the works. It also depends on where we’re at as well. A few weeks ago, I had to dance at a funeral and did not want to perform overly emotively. I simply wanted to honor the person we lost but also try to move with simplicity to connect people to the music and the movement.


<Read the full interview from Issue Six>


This story is from Issue Six.


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