10/27/19 O&A NYC DANCE REVIEW: A.I.M (Abraham In Motion) At The Joyce

By Walter Rutledge 

A.I.M. (Abraham In Motion) presented their New York City season at the Joyce Theater Tuesday, October 15 through Sunday, October 20, 2019. The six- day, seven performance season offered five works, including three world premieres and one company premieres, by three choreographers. The concise, focused and extremely audience friendly program was a successful blend of both visceral and cerebral movement and imagery.

In Big Rings (2019 World Premiere) choreographer and company member Keerati Jinakunwiphat presented a cleanly crafted ensemble work for six dancers.  Jinakunwiphat clearly understands the craft of choreography, approaching this work with strong compositional form and design. Extremely fluent in “Abraham”; she proficiently worked in Abraham’s vernacular and canon. The use of music from different genres and the well employed choreographic device of theme and development kept the work fast past and well defined. This was especially evident in the second movement of the work where she brought freshness to Camille Saint-Saens “chestnut” The Swan.

Show Pony (2018) presented performer Marcella Lewis and choreographer Abraham in a very favorable light. In true Abraham style the choreographer established a finite movement vocabulary; which he manipulated, variated and developed throughout. Shifting between pure and gesture driven movement (with a pleasant dash of personality) Abraham created a work that was dynamic, original and fun.   

Clad in a metallic gold unitard Lewis danced with unmitigated aplomb; commanding the stage and at times relegated the audience to unwitting voyeurism.  If the arms are the language of the dance, Abraham allowed her to speak in a clear choreographic voice. She gave new meaning to the phrase “the hostess with the mostest”; when retreating to a pool of clear light she smiled while offering salutations and greetings to the audience. 

Trisha Brown’s Solo Olos (1976 company premiere) epitomizes the phase God mic. The work for five dancers and initially performed in silence took an unexpected twist when dancer Donovan Reed jumped off the stage and sat on the first row with a wireless microphone. The almost Deis Machine devise became an omnipresent dictate guiding the dancers through the movement, which consisted of reversing many of the movement passages. This thinking man’s (excuse me- thinking person’s) abstract ballet lived up to it’s title. 

Cocoon (2019 World Premiere), a solo choreographed and performed by Kyle Abraham, opened with a chorus of singers placed in the audience in front of the stage. Performing music by Bjork (arranged by lead singer Nicholas Ryan Gant) the nine- member chorus accompanied Abraham; who began in a crouched position on the floor in a circle of Azurite blue light. As if on a slow- moving carousel Abraham unfolded his body shifting position as Dan Scully’s light design expanded to eventually encompass the entire stage.

The choreography shifted between explosive passages to exploring the plastique of movement through sustained stillness. Abraham removed the sash that sequestered his shirt, and an offstage gust of wind surrounded him. Symbolically his motionless form was being propelled to a new metaphysical plain- a metamorphosis.  

The evening concluded with Studies On A Farewell (2019 world premiere) an episodic ensemble work for eight dancers and choreographed by Abraham in collaboration with A.I.M. Set to Four Studies by Nico Muhly and performed live by Katherine Liccardo and Chelsea Starbuck Smith in tandem with a recorded track. The work depicted a series of encounters and partings tinged with a collective personal, almost autobiographic feeling. Jinakunwiphat slowly walking backward alone retreating upstage into the darkness culminating theballet and the evening.

Abraham continues to share his unique gift of abstract storytelling. The sophisticated and aesthetically satisfying A.I.M. New York season combined solid choreography with high production value.

In Photo:  2) Tamisha Guy, Marcella Lewis, Javon Jones, and Catherine Ellis Kirk  3) Marcella Lewis  4) Catherine Ellis Kirk 5) Kyle Abraham  6) Tamisha Guy and Javon Jones

Photo by: 1) Tatiana Wills 2) Sharen Bradford 3) Christopher Duggan 4, 5 & 6) Stephen Schreiber 

9/29/19 O&A NYC GOSPEL SUNDAY: Kanye West Sunday Service- Chicago (Full Stream)


On September 8th Kanye West and his infamous Sunday Service choir and crew turned to perform in Kanye’s hometown Chicago (Chi-Town), and they had many odds against them in terms of being able to deliver one “Hell” of a performance due to harsh weather. Continue reading

9/28/19 O&A NYC SATURDAY MORNING CONCERT: Motown Returns to The Apollo (1985)

Motown Returns to The Apollo (1985) a star studded celebration of the 50th anniversary and re-opening of The Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York. Proceeds from the concert went to the Africare/Ethiopian Relief Fund. The program received a 1985 for Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety Program. Continue reading

9/22/19 O&A NYC DANCE- REVIEW: Legacy- Creative Outlet and Deeply Rooted at BAM Fisher

By Walter Rutledge

Legacy, a shared concert between Brooklyn based Jamel Gaine’s Creative Outlet and Chicago’s Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, presented a well curated evening of dance theatre works at BAM Fisher on Friday and Saturday September 13 and 14, 2019. Founding directors Jamel Gaines and Deeply Rooted’s Kevin Jeff (both Queens natives and Bernice Johnson Dance School alums) presented a concert of shared dance philosophies. The evening had a kindred aesthetic; presenting seven works spanning thirty-five years. Continue reading

9/15/19 O&A NYC SUNDAY AFTERNOON JAZZ CONCERT: Bad Blood- Ulysses Dove

ulysses-doveBad Blood received its World Premiere, in 1984 on Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal. Featuring music by Laurie Anderson (Gravity’s Angel and Walking and Falling) and Peter Gabriel (Excellent Birds) the work in an erotic tour de force battle of the sexes. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre premiered the work in 1986. It is one of seven Dove ballets in the Ailey Company repertoire.  Continue reading

9/11/19 O&A NYC SONG OF THE DAY SPECIAL: Billy Joel – NewYork State Mind ‘ Live’

New York State of Mind is by Soft Rock artist Billy Joel which initially appeared on the album Turnstiles  in 1976. Although it was never a hit song and was never released as a single, it has become a fan favorite and a song that Joel plays regularly in concert. Continue reading

9/5/19 O&A NYC THROWBACK THURSDAY: Jackie Wilson Baby Workout on Shindig 1965


Jackie Wilson was called Mr. Excitement for good reason. With dazzling stage moves and a soaring voice that handled soul, rhythm & blues, rock ‘n roll, standards and more with power, passion & panache, it’s no surprise that generations of artists like Elvis Presley, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Usher and Bruno Mars have cited him as a huge influence. Continue reading

8/12/19 O&A NYC REVIEW: Maze At The Shed

By Walter Rutledge and Adewale Adekanbi Jr.

Maze made its world premiere at The Shed’s Griffin Theater, 545 West 30th Street on July 24.  The production explores “the puzzles and poetry of human existence” taking on issues including the school to prison pipeline and systemic racism in the justice system. This new street dance presentation, commissioned by The Shed for its inaugural season, features sixteen dancers from The D.R.E.A.M. Ring and two performers from The Shed’s FlexNYC program. Continue reading

7/18/19 O&A NYC THROWBACK THURSDAY: Issac Hayes- Theme from Shaft (Live at the Oscars, 1972)

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Isaac Lee Hayes, Jr. was an singer-songwriter, actor, and producer. Hayes was one of the creative forces behind the southern soul music label Stax Records, where he served both as an in-house songwriter and as a record producer, teaming with his partner David Porter during the mid-1960s. Hayes, Porter, Bill Withers, the Sherman Brothers, Steve Cropper, and John Fogerty were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005 in recognition of writing scores of notable songs for themselves, the duo Sam & Dave, Carla Thomas, and others. Hayes is also a 2002 inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Continue reading

The 7/17/19 O&A NYC WHATS HAPPENING THIS WEEK: July 17 through July 23, 2019

Heatwave! New York City is getting ready to become steamy, hot, and sticky- yeah summer in NYC is the best! We have great events indoors and out. There is interactive art on Randall’s Island, Dance in Central Park and on Fire Island, and a jazz brunch in Harlem. Here are a few of the many events happening in the city that never sleeps, guaranteed to keep you Out and About. Continue reading