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 

10/14/19 O&A NYC WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK: October 14- 21, 2019

Fall is finally here! In New York that means cool mornings, sweater weather afternoons, jacket evenings and the arts. We have street art in Da Bronx, 90’s R&B in Harlem and Dance honors its own in the Village.  Here are a few of the many events happening in the city that never sleeps, guaranteed to keep you Out and About. Continue reading

7/19/19 O&A NYC SHALL WE DANCE FRIDAY: Kyle Abraham- City Hall (5/15/18)

Choreographer/dancer Kyle Abraham takes us on a funky stroll through downtown Manhattan near City Hall to the music of Bosq Featuring Evan Laflamme. Continue reading

2/24/19 O&A NYC WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK: February 25 – March 3, 2019

February is almost over!!! That means spring is less than four weeks away but, New York City isn’t waiting for springtime to create fun time. This week we have dance from Lincoln Center to DUMBO. Art from Museum Mile to the East Village; and cutting edge theatre in Brooklyn and the Bronx. Here are a few of the many events happening in the city that never sleeps, guaranteed to keep you Out and About. Continue reading

12/27/16 O&A NYC DANCE: A Conversation With Kyle Abraham

By Walter Rutledge

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Untitled America, Kyle Abraham’s latest work for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, brings to light the revolving door of the U.S. penal system. The work had its official premiered on December 7th during the Ailey’s New York City Center Season November 30 through December 31. Recently O&A NYC had an opportunity to sit down with this talented artist to discuss the work, his choreographic process and philosophy. Continue reading

11/4/16 O&A NYC DANCE: Alex Smith Jr. Honored At Bessies

By Walter Rutledge

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In life there are no detours, it is always the course appointed. Despite all of our plans and dreams we can count on the universe to add some unexpected twists and turns. Thelma Hill Preforming Arts Center’s Executive Chairman Alex Smith Jr. knows this all to well. In 1995 Smith become the guiding force of the organization by proxy, now twenty-one years later he was honored with a Service to the Field Award at the 29th New York Dance and Performance Awards- The Bessies. Continue reading

12/10/15 O&A NYC REVIEW: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater- Rennie Harris Exodus

By Walter Rutledge

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The real significance of Rennie Harris’ body of work has been his ability to transform hip-hop, a vernacular dance style created during the height of inner city urban blight of the 80’s, into the foundation for his abstract narrative art form. In early works such as Rome and Jewels (2000) Harris transforms the visceral hip-hop esthetic into 21st classicism. His latest work for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre Exodus infuses the hip-hop genre and modern dance with theatrical elements and strong choreographic structure. Continue reading

5/18/15 O&A Review: The Reinvention of the Martha Graham Dance Company- Part One: Lamentation Variations

By Walter Rutledge

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The Martha Graham Dance Company is demonstrating how America’s oldest continuous modern dance company remains cutting edge. Under the direction of Artistic Director Janet Eilber the company has put into play new initiatives to attract a wider and more diverse dance following. Restaging abbreviated versions of Graham classic such as Clymenestra, seasons based around a central theme, and commissioning new works, including the Lamentation Variations have been part of the Graham Company’s 21st century reinvention. Continue reading

2/17/15 O&A Reposted: Lloyd Knight 2012 Conversation

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LLOYD KNIGHT

During the 2012 New York City season of the Martha Graham Dance Company soloist Lloyd Knight was recovering from an injury. His name was listed in the program, but Knight was unable to perform. After a year of rigorous therapy his persistence and patience paid off and by the summer of 2012 Knight was again in rehearsal. Continue reading