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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Abraham.In.Motion, The Radio Show

Posted by Jenna Lechner on Sun, Sep 11, 2011 at 12:30 PM

Oops, there goes his shirt. Up over his head. Oh, MY.
  • Oops, there goes his shirt. Up over his head. Oh, MY.

Yup. No doubt about it, Kyle Abraham is a beautiful, beautiful specimen. So are his six dancers. Abraham is the choreographer and emotive mastermind behind The Radio Show (which has received a fair amount of press, deservedly). It only makes sense that the troupe is stacked with gorgeous folk; the show's main ideas surround desire and passions.

Possibly you’ve already read about the show, but if you need a quick recap, go here. Abraham and his company are young, and the performance is packed with energy. It’s ambitious, and, just like the WAMO radio station (the partial inspiration for the show), it's wide ranging. There’s Aretha and Beyonce, plus all the music in between. Sometimes the work gets a little too loose, a little confusing in its scope (it's trying to tackle Alzheimer's and the abstract effect of music on a community), and a bit jagged in its pace, with some unnecessarily jarring and sudden emotional outbursts. But by and large it’s really moving: a reflection on loss, how to build a community, and the stages of intimate relationships.

Check out the promo for the show; it captures the mood pretty well:

The Radio Show Promotional Video from Kyle Abraham/Abraham.in.motion on Vimeo.


Click the jump for a few highlights.

It begins tantalizingly: Abraham walks out stolidly, stage right, just barely emerging from behind the curtain. (He’s wearing a polo shirt, popped collar, with nice trousers; he turns and you notice the back is cut from his shirt, sorta like this.)

Then he disappears, only to enter the audience, walking up and down the aisles, sometimes popping a squat in an open seat, with everyone hoping he’ll sit next to them. He looks around searchingly, building tension, until he returns to the front of the stage. He pauses, paralyzed, glances upward, his right arm tremors, and his eyes open wide and glaze over. Tears stream down his face. The dancing begins.

Sometimes it feels like you’re watching outtakes of Fame (not a bad thing!), with primadonnas primping, jealous dance-offs, and sudden enthusiastic dancing. Yet at other times it’s sad.

One of the latter songs in the score is Antony’s cover of "Crazy In Love"—it’s a telling inclusion, emblematic of the general tone of the dance, with its certain dark strangeness, the exploration of gender roles, the sweeping, desperate recast of hiphop. The cover is followed by "Oops". Who knew a dance to Tweet and Missy E could seems so epic, and could tug at your heart strings so much?

Tonight is the last performance of the piece. If you can’t make it, definitely try and check out Abraham’s show Live! The Realest MC (Tuesday, 8:30, at Washington High School) ; that’s a one-time deal.

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