The Houston premiere of An Untitled Love marks the Houston debut of Abraham’s New York City-based Contemporary Dance Company, A.I.M by Kyle Abraham.
Society for the Performing Arts (SPA) will present the Houston premiere of Kyle Abraham’s latest evening-length dance work, An Untitled Love, on Friday, May 6, 2022, 7:30 pm, at the Wortham Center’s Cullen Theater. Co-commissioned by SPA, An Untitled Love is a celebration of love and family culture in the black community, featuring the catalogue of Grammy Award-winning R&B legend D’Angelo. Dancer and choreographer Kyle Abraham is a 2013 MacArthur ‘Genius’ award-winner, and the founder and Artistic Director of A.I.M by Kyle Abraham. His New York City-based contemporary dance company’s mission is “to create a body of dance-based work that is galvanized by Black culture and history.” This performance of An Untitled Love marks the company’s Houston debut. Tickets start at $44, at spahouston.org.
“The Houston and world premiere of An Untitled Love was originally scheduled for 2020. Two years later, SPA, the artists, and their work, have endured,” said SPA CEO Meg Booth. “Kyle Abraham is a true visionary. His choreography, the focus of his work, the artists in his company are all extraordinary. After the work-stoppages of the pandemic, we’re thrilled to finally present this brilliant work and dance company in Houston.”
In keeping with SPA’s commitment to arts education, the company will participate in a number of community events leading up to the Houston debut of A.I.M by Abraham and the Houston premiere of An Untitled Love.
On May 5, A.I.M by Kyle Abraham company members will give a master class for students at the Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA). Kyle Abraham and dancers from A.I.M by Kyle Abraham will visit with Harrison Guy and his company, Urban Souls Dance Company. In the evening, Kyle Abraham, and dancers from A.I.M by Kyle Abraham will provide a public master class, beginning at 5:45 PM. Hosted by and in partnership with, the Institute of Contemporary Dance, registration opens the week of April 11 on the Society for the Performing Arts website: spahouston.org.
Prior to the performance of An Untitled Love on May 6, Houston ISD performing arts students will perform in the Grand Foyer of the Wortham Center as part of the H-E-B Performance Prelude series, an SPA Education & Community program that showcases talented local artists and school programs in lobby performances prior to SPA mainstage events, creating opportunities for greater exposure to a wider audience.
In a conversation with Kyle Abraham, to be released in mid-April, he will sit down with Houston choreographer Harrison Guy for a virtual Westwood Trust Creative Chat, a conversation on the arts. Guy is the founder and Artistic Director of the local contemporary dance company, Urban Souls. In 2021, Guy was a winner of the inaugural Houston Artist Commissioning Project, SPA’s initiative to celebrate local artists through the creation of new works. Through that project, SPA premiered Guy’s newest dance work, Colored Carnegie, onstage at Jones Hall in November. The virtual chat will be moderated by SPA’s Director of Education & Community Engagement, Claire Williamson, posted on social media and SPA’s website.
ABOUT A.I.M BY KYLE ABRAHAM
Founded in 2006 by choreographer Kyle Abraham, A.I.M by Kyle Abraham is a Black-led contemporary dance company that provides multifaceted performances, educational programming, and community-based workshops. The mission of A.I.M by Kyle Abraham is to create a body of dance-based work that is galvanized by Black culture and history. The work, informed by and made in conjunction with artists across a range of disciplines, entwines a sensual and provocative vocabulary with a strong emphasis on music, text, video, and visual art. While grounded in choreographer Kyle Abraham’s artistic vision, A.I.M draws inspiration from a multitude of sources and movement styles.
Since A.I.M’s founding, Artistic Director Kyle Abraham has made more than 15 original works for and with the company. In 2018, A.I.M began commissioning new works and performing existing works by outside choreographers to expand its repertoire and offer a breadth of dance work to both the dancers and audiences. The repertory now includes works by Trisha Brown, Andrea Miller, Bebe Miller, Doug Varone, and A.I.M dancer and early-career choreographer Keerati Jinakunwiphat.
A.I.M’s audience base is as diverse as A.I.M’s movement vocabulary, which ranges from hip-hop to formal ballet technique. As Abraham says, “I’m interested in a really wide range of folks from the brother who owns the corner store to the woman who has never even heard of a corner store. I want those people to interact, and I want them to be sitting next to each other sensing the other person’s experience. And then, I want them to stick around for the post-performance discussion and hear the other person’s perspective and learn more about each other. That’s what is most exciting for me.”
Commissioning support for An Untitled Love comes from American Dance Festival with support from the Doris Duke/SHS Foundations Award for New Works; August Wilson African American Cultural Center; Brooklyn Academy of Music; Society for the Performing Arts; Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival; The Performing Arts Center at Purchase College, Director Seth Soloway; Seattle Theater Group; and White Bird, Portland, Oregon, made possible through White Bird’s 2020 Barney Choreographic Prize.
ABOUT KYLE ABRAHAM
2018 Princess Grace Statue Award Recipient, 2017-18 Joyce Creative Residency Artist, 2016 Doris Duke Award 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, an MFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and an honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from Washington Jefferson College. He served as a visiting professor in residence at UCLA’s World Arts Cultures in Dance program from 2016 to 2021.
In 2021, he was named the Claude and Alfred Mann Endowed Professorship in Dance at The University of Southern California Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. Abraham currently sits on the advisory board for Dance Magazine and the artist advisory board for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. In 2020, he was selected to be Dance Magazine’s first-ever Guest Editor. Abraham is a member of the inaugural Black Genius Brain Trust.
Rebecca Bengal of Vogue wrote, “What Abraham brings… 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.”
In addition to performing and developing new works for his company A.I.M by Kyle Abraham, Abraham has been commissioned by a variety of dance companies. Most recently, Abraham received two international commissions from the Royal Ballet. Abraham’s work, Optional Family, a divertissement premiered in May 2021 as part of their 21st Century Choreographers program. He was also commissioned to be the first Black American choreographer to create a one-act ballet for the Royal Ballet, set to premiere in spring 2022.
Additionally, Abraham premiered When We Fellin 2021, his third creation for New York City Ballet, which The New York Times reviewed as “among the most beautiful dance films of the pandemic.” Previously, Abraham collaborated with NYCB Principal Dancer Taylor Stanley on Ces noms que nous portons, at Lincoln Center and NYCB commissioned solo; choreographed Unto the End, We Meet, commissioned by the National Ballet of Cuba, and choreographed the music video for Sufjan Stevens’ Sugar. He premiered to be seen, a new solo for American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancer Calvin Royal III, for the 2020 virtual Fall for Dance Festival.
In fall 2019, he choreographed Ash, a solo work for ABT Principal Dancer Misty Copeland; Only the Lonely, a newly commissioned work for Paul Taylor American Modern Dance; and The Bystander, a new commission for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago to rave reviews. Abraham premiered the Bessie-nominated The Runaway for NYCB’s 2018 Fall Fashion Gala, which was recognized as one of the “Best Dance of 2018” by The New York Times. In 2016, Abraham premiered Untitled America, a 3-part commissioned work for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; toured The Serpent and The Smoke, a 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 feature-length film, The Book of Henry, for acclaimed director Colin Trevorrow.
In 2011, OUT Magazine labeled Abraham as the “best and brightest creative talent to emerge in New York City in the age of Obama.” In 2012, Abraham served as a choreographic contributor for Beyonce’s 2013 British Vogue cover shoot, named the 2012 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award recipient, 2012 USA Ford Fellow, and the New York Live Arts Resident Commissioned Artist for 2012–2014. Later that year, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater premiered Abraham’s Another Night at New York City Center.
Abraham has also 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; at Fall for Dance Festival at New York City Center, Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Joyce Theater, The Los Angeles Music Center, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Théâtre de la Ville, Sadler’s Wells, Maison dela Danse, Tanz Im August, On The Boards, Danspace Project, Dance Theater Workshop, Bates Dance Festival, Harlem Stage, Montreal, Ottawa, Italy, Germany, Sweden, France, Jordan, Ecuador, Dublin’s Project Arts Center, The Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum located in Okinawa Japan, The Andy Warhol Museum, The Byham and The Kelly-Strayhorn Theater in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA.