KYLE ABRAHAM/UNTITLED LOVE
February 25, 2022
Overcome with delight, Kyle Abraham thanked his dance collaborators on An Untitled Love, introducing them one by one during opening night bows at the BAM Harvey Theater. Then he paid tribute to the influence of choreographer Ralph Lemon's Charley Patton -- both works journey through extended family experiences shaped by love and joy, lightness and darkness.
A group of friends sit on a plastic covered, terra cotta-colored couch and enticingly bob their heads, twist their wrists, cross and uncross their ankles to the bluesy sounds of D'Angelo & The Vanguard. Soon others enter the room (Scenic & Lighting design by Dan Scully), chatting and flicking hands in recognition of one another (reminiscent of Alvin Ailey's Revelations). Very much a close/bickering family, Abraham's dancers are remarkable in their ability to seamlessly shift from ballet and modern to street/club dance--all in one phrase. It's as if they speak one language with three tongues.
Friends enter and exit, changing outfits by Karen Young and partnering up in supportive balances and holds. The company shares a loose, cool style that rarely nods to an angle or sharpness. They all dance smoothly and soundlessly, like cats effortlessly pouncing onto a shelf, or swirling round and round.
When the dancers chat with one another, the scenes begin to resemble episodes from the popular TV series "Friends." And even though the text personalizes the performers, the audio balance makes it difficult to fully understand the words. Also, the dancing is so appealing that whenever it stops-- the exuberant energy drops.
Over the past several years, Abraham has made a number of successful dances for NYC Ballet and other major companies including Alving Ailey. But seeing Abraham work with his own company is to see his soul.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis