Kyle Abraham: Abraham.In.Motion

Year: 2012-2013
DanceForce Member: Cynthia Williams
Artist: Kyle Abraham
Community Partners: Geneva Human Rights Commission; Hobart & William Smith Colleges; Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation; New England Foundation for the Arts
Audience: 726
County: Ontario

The primary goals and objectives with the Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion project were to foreground the performance of Pavement (previously titled “Boyz N the Hood,”) with master classes and workshops at multiple locations (HWS Colleges, Geneva High School, Geneva Community Center) and to introduce Abraham.In.Motion’s work to a wide audience and generate excitement about the performance itself. We were trying to engage members of the African American community and young hip-hop dancers with the work and promote Kyle Abraham and his dance artists as role models for this community; Geneva, NY and the surrounding communities are culturally underserved and economically disadvantaged. We thought that Kyle Abraham’s artistic voice would speak to issues strongly felt in our community, and hoped that our students, faculty, staff, and community members would find multiple points of entry into this material so that the post-performance discussion could continue to resonate long after the performance ended.

The project included a master class in modern dance technique 10/5/2012 at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, a “Dialogue in Motion” community outreach event 10/7/2012 at the Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Geneva, a lecture demonstration for the 9th Grade Academy at Geneva High School on 10/9/2012, a “Dance as Identity” workshop at HWS Colleges for a mix of dancers and non-dancers 10/11/2012, the performance of Pavement 10/12/2012, and a Question and Answer session following the performance. Principal artists included Kyle Abraham, six additional company member/dancers, Kyle’s outreach and education director Maritza Mosquera, Kyle’s dramaturg Charlotte Braithwaite, Kyle’s lighting and visual design director Dan Scully, and Dan’s assistant.

Community partners included multiple people at three different organizations: the Geneva Human Rights Commission (Director Karen Baer, Assistant Director Emma Lawler and other members); Geneva High School (Principal Greg Baker, Assistant Principal Danielle Ouillette), and Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church (Reverend Dunmore, Assistant Edith Wormley) and a host of other people central to the planning for the Dialogue in Motion (Kharum Hussain, Marty Davis, Anne Hoyt, Rodmon King) including members of the Social Justice Studies Program at HWS, Sankofa at HWS, and the HWS Dance Department. The impact of these new partnerships is described below in the project evaluation section.

Promotional and marketing efforts included distribution of electronic and hard copy posters and fliers for both the Dialogue in Motion and the residency activities and performance; the Dialogue in Motion flier reached a new audience based on the Geneva Human Rights Commission mailing list, as well as distribution to area churches. A press release went to local and regional media outlets; I did a live radio interview a few days before the concert on WGVA, the local newspaper, The Finger Lakes Times ran the press release one day, a photo from one of the master classes subsequently, and featured the concert prominently in its “Week End” section; posters and press releases were distributed electronically to the Rochester Choreographers Dance Collective e-list, local and regional colleges received posters, and the day of the concert four large outdoor sign boards announced the concert at each intersection to campus. HWS Colleges’ faculty members and student groups were specifically invited as members of particular communities: African American student groups, Social Justice Studies Program majors and minors, Pride Alliance/GLBTQ, Koshare Dance Collective, Hip-No-Tiqs Dance Team, Africana Studies majors, minors, program faculty; Media and Society students and faculty. We hoped to reach beyond our typical dance majors/minors audience, and were successful at doing that.