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The Institute of Black Imagination.

61 EpisodesProduced by darioWebsite

Welcome to The Institute of Black Imagination hosted by artist, writer, and designer Dario Calmese. Each week we bring you conversations from The Pool of Black Genius: a collection of iconoclasts at the leading edge of cultural thought and innovation. We are here to inspire, engage, and to help you … read more


E14. Choreographer, Kyle Abraham.

Today’s episode is with American dancer and choreographer, Kyle Abraham. Born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, into a home of loving and supportive parents, Kyle’s family instilled in him the sense that he could do and achieve anything. He discovered his love for dance in his late teens after being cast in his highschool musical, Once on This Island, later receiving his Bachlors of Fine Arts from SUNY Purchase and his Masters in Fine Arts from New York University. 

This all sounds lovely and quaint, but Mr. Abraham is a force to be reckoned with. After performing with a number of prestigious companies, including the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, he founded his own namesake company in 2006: Abraham in Motion, now known as AIM. And it is here, where Kyle has created many of his critically acclaimed pieces including ‘The Radio Show’ and ‘Pavement’ which, inspired by John Singleton’s 1991 film, Boyz In The Hood,truly exemplifies his seemingly eclectic style. Like a writer of prose, Kyle weaves together memories of his childhood in Pittsburgh along with the impact of violence within black communities , with a dash of WEB Dubois, with a dose of Jacquel Brel and Johann Christian Bach. He’s choreographed for The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and New York City Ballet. He’s worked with Misty Copeland and Beyonce. He’s a Princess Grace Statue award recipient, and a Doris Duke award recipient, and a Bessie Award recipient, and a United States, Artist Fellow, and a Macarthur “Genius” Fellow and, well, you get the picture. 

Recorded safely and remotely, this conversation explores Kyle’s journey to dance, how he deals with his own insecurities, what it’s like being fired by one of your heroes, how to balance empathy and ambition, and his journey back to dance after an extended hiatus. It is with great pleasure to introduce to you, a master of his craft, Kyle Abraham, to the IBI podcast.

Here are some highlights:

On his relationship with dance: “Dance is actually my longest relationship, sometimes an unhealthy one but um I think I’m actually in love with dance in some way.”

On the question dance answers for him: “It’s really a question of who I am and how I feel um because we hold so much history in our bodies and along with that history we can hold so much joy, sure, but a lot of sadness for someone like me um and a lot of struggle and I think you can see that when you watch me dance, the struggle.”

On how he deals with insecurities: “For me, it’s honoring my parents and those aunts and uncles that, you know, aren’t blood relatives but you still call them aunt and uncle. And so thinking about how they interacted with each other in the early to mid 80’s um just trying to live in the richness of kind of ownership that they possessed um so you can’t really be insecure and do that successfully.”

Kyle's Instagram: @kyle_abraham_original_recipe

A.I.M. Website:

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Editorial content provided by Kalimah Small.

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