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Press Release: Dance show inspired by the film Boyz N The Hood and the writings of American civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois comes to London

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Kyle Abraham / Abraham.In.Motion

Sadler’s Wells, EC1R 4TN
Friday 17 & Saturday 18 November 2017
Tickets: £20
Ticket Office: 020 7863 8000 or 

Sadler’s Wells Debut offers a chance to discover the work of choreographers new to the Sadler’s Wells stage, highlighting rising artists on the international dance scene with a special ticket price and a free post-show talk. This season introduces New York based dancer and choreographer Kyle Abraham and his company Abraham.In.Motion, with a performance of Abraham’s seminal work, Pavement at Sadler’s Wells on Friday 17 & Saturday 18 November.

Pavement is set in a culture plagued by discrimination and genocide in Pittsburgh’s historically black neighbourhoods. Performed with seven dancers in Abraham’s trademark interdisciplinary style, which Abraham typically refers to as a 'post-modern gumbo', combining balletic and hip hop movements, the work is set to an eclectic mix of Bach, Benjamin Britten, Sam Cooke, Donny Hathaway and extracts from operas all mixed with sounds of the city to bring this powerful dance to life.

Pavement, created in 2011, is inspired by the writings of American civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois, Abraham’s own childhood in the early 90s growing up in Hill District of Pittsburgh and the 1991John Singleton film, Boyz N The Hood, a film that, for Abraham, depicted an idealised “Gangsta Boheme” laying aim to the state of the Black American male at the end of the 20th century. 

20 years later and more than 10 years into the 21st century, Abraham wanted to investigate the state of Black America and a history therein. Pavement, expresses changes taking place in Pittsburgh’s black neighbourhoods, looking primarily at Homewood and the Hill District. Both experienced a cultural shift in the 1950’s when jazz legends like Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington performed at local theatres. Half a century later, those same theatres are dilapidated and the streets that once flourished on family run businesses and a thriving jazz scene, now show the sad effects of gang violence and crack cocaine.

Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion was founded in 2006 with the mission to create an evocative interdisciplinary body of work. Since the company’s inception, Abraham has been the recipient of many awards and accolades, including the 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award, the 2015 City Center Choreographer in Residence, 2012 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award and the prestigious Bessie Award for Outstanding Performance in Dance for his work in The Radio Show. Away from Abraham.In.Motion, Abraham has created work for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and New York City Ballet’s Wendy Whelan.

Supported by the National Endowment for the Arts in co-operation with the New England Foundation for the Arts through the National Dance Project.

Major support for NDP is provided by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with additional support from the Community Connections Fund of the MetLife Foundation. 

Free post-show talk: Friday 17 November

Age guidance: 7+

Contains adult language

Listing information:

Kyle Abraham / Abraham.In.Motion
Sadler’s Wells, EC1R 4TN
Friday 17 & Saturday 18 November
Tickets: £20
Ticket Office: 020 7863 8000 or www.sadlerswells.com

Notes to Editors:

Sadler's Wells is a world-leading dance house, committed to producing, commissioning and presenting new works and to bringing the best international and UK dance to London and worldwide audiences. Under the Artistic Directorship of Alistair Spalding, the theatre’s acclaimed year-round programme spans dance of every kind, from contemporary to flamenco, Bollywood to ballet, salsa to street dance and tango to tap.

Since 2005, it has helped to bring over 130 new dance works to the stage and its award-winning commissions and collaborative productions regularly tour internationally. Sadler’s Wells supports 16 Associate Artists, three Resident Companies, an Associate Company and three International Associate Companies. It also nurtures the next generation of talent through 
research and development, running the National Youth Dance Company and a range of programmes including Wild Card, New Wave Associates, Open Art Surgery and Summer University.

Located in Islington, north London, the current theatre is the sixth to have stood on the site since it was first built by Richard Sadler in 1683. The venue has played an illustrious role in the history of theatre ever since, with The Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and English National Opera all having started at Sadler’s Wells. Sadler’s Wells is an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation and currently receives approximately 9% of its revenue from Arts Council England.


The mission of Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion is to create an evocative interdisciplinary body of work. Born into hip-hop culture in the late 1970s and grounded in Abraham’s artistic upbringing in classical cello, piano, and the visual arts, the goal of the movement is to delve into identity in relation to a personal history. The work entwines a sensual and provocative vocabulary with a strong emphasis on sound, human behavior and all things visual in an effort to create an avenue for personal investigation and exposing that on stage. A.I.M. is a representation of dancers from various disciplines and diverse personal backgrounds. Combined together, these individualities create movement that is manipulated and moulded into something fresh and unique.

(Artistic Director) 2016 Doris Duke Recipient and 2015 City Center Choreographer in Residence, Kyle Abraham is a 2013 MacArthur Fellow who began his dance training at the Civic Light Opera Academy and the Creative and Performing Arts High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  He continued his dance studies in New York, receiving a BFA from SUNY Purchase and an MFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts and most recently, an honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from Washington Jefferson College in 2014. In November 2012, Abraham was named the newly appointed New York Live Arts Resident Commissioned Artist for 2012–2014. Just one month later, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater premiered Abraham’s newest work, Another Night, at New York’s City Center to rave reviews.

Rebecca Bengal of Vogue writes, “What Abraham brings to Ailey is an avant-garde aesthetic, an original and politically minded downtown sensibility that doesn’t distinguish between genres but freely draws on a vocabulary that is as much Merce and Martha as it is Eadweard Muybridge and Michael Jackson.”
 That same year, Abraham was named the 2012 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award recipient and 2012 USA Ford Fellow.

Abraham received a prestigious Bessie Award for Outstanding Performance in Dance for his work in The Radio Show, and a Princess Grace Award for Choreography in 2010. The previous year, he was selected as one of Dance Magazine’s 25 To Watch for 2009, and received a Jerome Travel and Study Grant in 2008.

His choreography has been presented throughout the United States and abroad, most recently at On The Boards, South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, REDCAT, Philly Live Arts, Portland’s Time Based Arts Festival, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Danspace Project, Dance Theater Workshop, Bates Dance Festival, Harlem Stage, Fall for Dance Festival at New York’s City Center, Montreal, Germany, Jordan, Ecuador, Dublin’s Project Arts Center, The Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum located in Okinawa Japan, The Andy Warhol Museum and The Kelly-Strayhorn Theater in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. Abraham most recent work, Dearest Home an immersive interactive work for AIM premiered at The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, May 2017.  

In addition to performing and developing new works for his company, Abraham.In.Motion, Abraham recently premiered Untitled America, a 3-part commissioned work for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and finished touring The Serpent and The Smoke, a new pas de deux for himself and acclaimed Bessie Award-winning and former New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Wendy Whelan as part of Restless Creature and choreographed for the upcoming feature-length film, The Book of Henry with acclaimed director, Colin Trevorrow.

In 2011, OUT Magazine labelled Abraham as the “best and brightest creative talent to emerge in New York City in the age of Obama”.

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