Choreographer Kyle Abraham Creates Dance for the 21st Century

Kyle Abraham is an acclaimed choreographer and company director who is the recipient of many awards including a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award and a MacArthur Fellowship.  In this podcast, he talks about growing up in Pittsburgh in a home that encouraged music and art, his life-changing experience when he first saw professional dance at the age of 15, his brief career as a professional dancer and early entry into choreography. We discuss his dance company A.I.M by Kyle Abraham which creates work that is draws from Black history and culture as well as Kyle’s personal experiences as a gay Black man.  We discuss his use of multi-media in his work and some of his notable pieces like “An Untitled Love”, “Pavement” and “Another Night” –which he created for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater—a frequent collaborator. He also talks about how he makes dances for his own company and for classical ballet companies like New York City Ballet and the Royal Ballet. We discuss his “strategy” during the pandemic—all dancers were kept on the payroll full-time, but there were no zoom performances or rehearsals: instead he and the dancers zoomed  weekly to talk about films, TV shows, or books they had watched or read together; and, finally, he shares how he finds his own joy through choreography and teaching.