As announced earlier this week I had the opportunity to see Abraham.In.Motion perform at the Joyce theatre. Keyword of the evening: PHENOMENAL! Entering the lobby alone, I see a sea of familiar faces among many strangers but as usual, I feel right at home. I sat in the furthest, and highest corner of the mezzanine area which, might I add, is now one of my favorite seats in the house. It became my little cozy corner as the show progressed allowing me to fidget and react as I pleased. I did my usual read up on who’s who in the playbill (because let’s be honest, we all size each other without knowing it just by reading a cute little bio!) and did a (few) quick glaces around the space to see anyone I knew. The thing about going to these shows alone is wanting the chance to at least throw a shady “hey girl’ someones way so you feel “known”. But I didn’t have the juice this night! Typical. Moments later two older women joined me in my lonely row at the start of the show and had plenty to catch up on but shhhhhh house lights down, stage lights up!
Kyle Abraham opened the show with an intro phrase (either improvised or rehearsed) accompanied by pianist Kris Bowers. It wasn’t hard to spot his signature spiral turns, with a hint gyrating to contrast the melodic sound flowing out of the piano just behind him. As soon as he started, he finished making way for the first full piece The Quiet Dance, which played to it’s title well. With a combination of subtle movements and gestures, the piece illustrates what it means to communicate without the ability to communicate. What I enjoyed most about the piece was the synchronization. Yes, I’ve seen enough pieces where that dancers are on one accord, moving together, in and out across the stage, but this was different for me. I think what made it unique was the fact that each dancer looked different, physically and culturally. It was interesting to see the tall slender African American woman dancing in sync with a short Caucasian male and somehow telling the same story. I appreciated the diversity of the company, especially with what came next.
Absent Matter became THAT piece for me. You know that piece that resonates and leaves such an impression on your being that you can’t imagine a world where someone isn’t performing it. Well that was what this piece did for me. It was simply beautiful and effortless dancing but the message is what stuck with me afterwards. From my perspective it seemed to illustrate the minority experience in our country today. Most notably the shootings of unarmed black men and women. What started out as just going with motions of reality and accepting what will be, quickly turned into frustration and somewhat rage. Did I forget to mentioned that they are still performing to live music. Every now and then there was background recorded music but the live musicians absolutely set the mood of not just the dance but of the minority community! If you didn’t know by now……. Mood: “I’M FED UP WITH THIS SHIT!”. It was powerful to say the least. I won’t sit here and tell you what they did step by step but just know I SAW and HEARD loud and clear. It’s a funny thing for me because when I see protests around our country in search for justice it has no affect on me. But when I see that same “protest” through movement it becomes very clear and for a moment I feel like if the entire world saw this there would actually be change. I know this is naive but that is how much I was affected. It’s absolutely worth seeing if….well if you’re a Human!
The Gettin’ ,which followed after intermission, seemed more or less the same theme but maybe set in the 40 or 50’s based on the costume choice. Unfortunately when you follow a piece like Absent Matter, its hard to pull away from it’s idea so I might be a little bias in my perspective. Anyway, the musicians are now set up on the stage, where as previously they played from the audience closer to the stage. Not a big a deal to some but it made a huge difference to me to see them in the same space as the dancers. As the dance began what I saw was a battle of privilege (or lack there of). I say that because in a particular section there was duet with one black man and one white man. It seemed like they were challenging one another and by doing so they are also trying to connect despite their culturally differences. But then (it seemed to me) the white male decided to give up. Even after all this dancing and connecting, he was able to say I don’t want to try anymore and walked off (literally) but the black male had to stay on stage and join his fellow community and in sense “kept going” because he didn’t have the same luxury. WHOA that was a lot for me but there was someone in the audience who didn’t read that at all and perhaps in my own discomfort I made it up to suit my view of the world. The piece as a whole was great but this section had the most affect on me.
APPLAUSE APPLAUSE! ( I stood up because the minority were still the minority in that audience sadly, and someone needs to stand up every time!)
Following the performance, there was a talk back that I didn’t stay for but I am hoping more pressing matters where covered other than the usual “Why did you start dancing?”. Well, that’s all for now. I hope you enjoyed MY take on the performance and I hope you have the opportunity in to see these pieces to form your own opinion! Until next time!
Come Twirl With Me!