At Work With: Kyle Abraham

In a New York studio, the choreographer dances, rehearses and breaks down the meaning of his “postmodern gumbo” technique with Djassi DaCosta Johnson.

“I would love to be in a place to make a dance about flowers and just be ‘pretty.’”

In a rehearsal studio at New York Live Arts, Kyle Abraham is leading his dancers like a conductor. He moves his fingers in sync with their legs as they dance through the space in athletic, sinuous formations. At one point he begins dancing himself; gliding into the middle of the room, his body alternating between animated pop-like sequences and languid balletic undulations. “Yes!” he says. The room buzzes as the dancers finish the piece, clapping for each other and collapsing to the floor. Abraham pauses, then asks with a smile, “Are you okay?”

Abraham, born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, knows the two sides of this relationship equally well. In his 20s, he worked as a dancer for various companies before striking out in 2006 and founding his own: Abraham In Motion. In the 13 years ...

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