MacArthur Fellows Program

MacArthur Fellows / Meet the Class of 2013

Kyle Abraham

Choreographer and Dancer

Founder and Artistic Director

Kyle Abraham/Abraham.in.Motion

New York, NY

Age: 36

Published September 25, 2013

Kyle Abraham is a choreographer and dancer probing the relationship between identity and personal history through a unique hybrid of traditional and vernacular dance styles that speaks to a new generation of dancers and audiences. With diverse training in music, visual art, and dance—and breathtaking skill as a performer—Abraham’s highly physical dance vocabulary reflects the youthful energy of the hip-hop and urban dance he encountered in his adolescence as well as a strong grounding in modern dance technique.

In works for his own company, Kyle Abraham/Abraham.in.Motion, and others, startling shifts in gestures and music create a rich dialogue between internal emotional landscapes and shared cultural experiences. The Radio Show (2010), set in his native Pittsburgh, juxtaposes Abraham’s feelings of dislocation and loss as he witnesses his father’s decline due to Alzheimer’s with the bereavement of the African American community after the abrupt departure of a beloved urban radio station that had served as an integral means of communal dialogue.

In his most recent work, Pavement (2012), Abraham creates a moving and powerful portrait of urban life consumed by gang and police violence, employing a score that incorporates baroque opera, contemporary classical compositions, and R&B as well as multimedia elements and spoken word. Near the end of the piece, the recurring motif of bodies forced onto the ground into a handcuffed position takes on new meaning: as the six dancers move into different arrangements of stacked bodies, with dancers wriggling out or turning over to face those above, we see that while often filled with brutality, their lives are also marked by a powerful camaraderie that can be a source of comfort and beauty.

Although early in his career, Abraham is establishing a singular choreographic style and creative vision for exploring important contemporary issues with a clarity and beauty that resonates with a wide range of audiences.

Kyle Abraham received a B.F.A. (2000) from the State University of New York at Purchase and an M.F.A. (2006) from New York University. His choreographic works have been performed by both his company, Kyle Abraham/Abraham.in.Motion (founded in 2006), and others at such venues as Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, the Joyce Theatre, Harlem Stage, Danspace Project, On the Boards, the Kelly-Strahorn Theater (Pittsburgh), and REDCAT (Los Angeles), among many others.

Photos

Hi-res photos for download. Photos licensed under a Creative Commons license. Courtesy of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Right-click on the links below to save the file to your computer.

Kyle Abraham In the Media

"Review: Opening Night of Chicago Dancing Festival" thumbnail

"Review: Opening Night of Chicago Dancing Festival"

Chicago Tribune Theater Loop
Kyle Abraham, 2013 MacArthur Fellow
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"MacArthur Genius Kyle Abraham Brings "Pavement" to the CAC" thumbnail

"MacArthur Genius Kyle Abraham Brings "Pavement" to the CAC"

Louisiana Music and Culture Offbeat
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"Choreographer and Dancer: Kyle Abraham" thumbnail

"Choreographer and Dancer: Kyle Abraham"

National Geographic
Kyle Abraham, 2013 MacArthur Fellow
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"Review: BodyTraffic Excels in Kyle Abraham World Premiere" thumbnail

"Review: BodyTraffic Excels in Kyle Abraham World Premiere"

Los Angeles Times
Kyle Abraham, 2013 MacArthur Fellow Read More
Once on Food Stamps, Now He's a 'Genius' thumbnail

Once on Food Stamps, Now He's a 'Genius'

The Root
Kyle Abraham, 2013 MacArthur Fellow Read More
"Pittsburgh's Kyle Abraham Among MacArthur Fellows" thumbnail

"Pittsburgh's Kyle Abraham Among MacArthur Fellows"

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Kyle Abraham, 2013 MacArthur Fellow Read More

About the Fellows Program

The MacArthur Fellows Program awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. Learn More

Angela Duckworth, Research Psychologist

Class of 2013

24 Extraordinarily Creative People Who Inspire Us All:  Meet the 2013 MacArthur Fellows thumbnail

24 Extraordinarily Creative People Who Inspire Us All: Meet the 2013 MacArthur Fellows

“This year’s class of MacArthur Fellows is an extraordinary group of individuals who collectively reflect the breadth and depth of American creativity.” -- Cecilia Conrad, Vice President, MacArthur Fellows program Read More