An Untitled Love
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About the Show
An Untitled Love is Kyle Abraham’s new evening-length work. Drawing from the catalog of Grammy Award-winning R&B legend D’Angelo, this creative exaltation pays homage to the complexities of self love and Black love, while serving as a thumping mixtape celebrating our culture, family, and community.
Choreography: Kyle Abraham* in collaboration with A.I.M
Music: D’Angelo & The Vanguard
Scenic & Lighting Design: Dan Scully
Visual Art: Joe Buckingham
Costume Design: Karen Young and Kyle Abraham
Sound Editor: Sam Crawford
Artistic Advisors: Risa Steinberg, Charlotte Brathwaite
Performers: Jamaal Bowman, Tamisha A. Guy*, Keerati Jinakunwiphat, Claude “CJ” Johnson, Catherine Kirk, Jae Neal, Donovan Reed, Martell Ruffin, Dymon Samara, Gianna Theodore
*Princess Grace Award Recipient
“Some say we are responsible for those we love. Others know we are responsible for those who love us.” – Nikki Giovanni
Thank you for being here to see An Untitled Love. It’s been four years in the making, and I’m so overwhelmed with emotions to finally present this work in theaters. I’m humbled, nervous and curious to finally share this work with you.
I fell in love with D’Angelo’s debut album “Brown Sugar” when I was an undergrad at Morgan State University, a Historically Black University, in Baltimore in 1995. Within his songs existed the histories and Neo-romanticism of Black Love in America. The same year marked The Million Man March, a defining moment for black men in the U.S. to unite against injustice. As part of my extended exploration of personal identity through movement, it feels important for me to dive into a process that explores and celebrates that unity and that love, in all its facets.
Ultimately, this work is dedicated to my parents, family (extended and immediate), to the cousins, aunts and uncles who aren’t blood related, but who we call family all the same.
– Kyle Abraham, Artistic Director
Support for An Untitled Love has been provided to FringeArts by the New England Foundation for the Arts.
Festival Co-Producers: Michael Lillys, Jane G. Pepper, Lynne & Bert Strieb
Additional Support :
Leadership support for An Untitled Love is generously provided by Denise Littlefield Sobel. Additional support for An Untitled Love is provided by Steven M. Pesner.
An Untitled Love was made possible by the Nathan M. Clark Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; and New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Mellon Foundation; and the Harkness Foundation for Dance. An Untitled Love was created in part through residencies at the Pillow Lab at Jacob’s Pillow; the August Wilson African American Cultural Center in Pittsburgh, PA; the National Center for Choreography at the University of Akron; and during a “bubble” residency at Kaatsbaan Cultural Park and LUMBERYARD, made possible by the Mellon Foundation. An Untitled Love was created in part to benefit Dancers Responding to AIDS with generous support from Legacy Sponsors Rockefeller Brothers Fund and The SHS Foundation, in loving memory of Tom Morgan.
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; Performing Arts Houston; 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.
“Betray My Heart” Performed by D’Angelo & The Vanguard (written by Michael D’Angelo Archer). Published by Universal Polygram Int. Publishing Inc. o/b/o Itself and Ah Choo Music Publishing (ASCAP). Courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment. Used by Permission. All Rights Reserved. “Chicken Grease” Performed by D’Angelo (written by Michael D’Angelo Archer, Ahmir K. Thompson, James Jason Poyser). Published by Universal Polygram Int. Publishing Inc. o/b/o Itself and Ah Choo Music Publishing (ASCAP); Universal Music – Careers (BMI); Jajapo Music Inc. c/o Songs of Peer. Courtesy of Universal Music Enterprises. Used by Permission. All Rights Reserved. “Lady” Performed by D’Angelo (written by Michael D’Angelo Archer, Raphael Saadiq). Published by Universal PolyGram International Publishing, Inc. on behalf of itself, Tony! Toni! Tone! Music, Ah Choo Music Publishing, and 12 00 A.M. Music (ASCAP). Courtesy of Universal Music Enterprises. Used by Permission. All Rights Reserved. “The Line” Performed by D’Angelo (written by Michael D’Angelo Archer). Published by Universal Polygram Int. Publishing Inc. o/b/o Itself and Ah Choo Music Publishing (ASCAP). Courtesy of Universal Music Enterprises. Used by Permission. All Rights Reserved. “One Mo’ Gin” Performed by D’Angelo (written by Michael D’Angelo Archer). Published by Universal Polygram Int. Publishing Inc. o/b/o Itself and Ah Choo Music Publishing (ASCAP). Used by Permission. All Rights Reserved. “Prayer” Performed by D’Angelo & The Vanguard (written by Michael D’Angelo Archer). Published by Universal Polygram Int. Publishing Inc. o/b/o Itself and Ah Choo Music Publishing (ASCAP). Courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment. Used by Permission. All Rights Reserved. “Really Love” Performed by D’Angelo & The Vanguard (written by Michael D’Angelo Archer, Gina Marie Figueroa, Curtis Mayfield, Kendra Foster). Published by Cocolita’s Music (ASCAP); Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. (BMI); Universal Polygram Int. Publishing Inc. o/b/o Itself and Ah Choo Music Publishing (ASCAP); Ear Kandy c/o SonyATV Ballad (BMI). Courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment. Used by Permission. All Rights Reserved. “The Root” Performed by D’Angelo (written by Michael D’Angelo Archer Luther Archer, Sidney Charlie Hunter). Published by Universal Polygram Int. Publishing Inc. o/b/o Itself and Ah Choo Music Publishing (ASCAP); CHT Publishing c/o Round Hill Music Publishing. Courtesy of Universal Music Enterprises. Used by Permission. All Rights Reserved. “Sugah Daddy” Performed by D’Angelo & The Vanguard (written by Michael D’Angelo Archer, Kendra Foster, Kamaal Ibn, John Fareed, James Edward Gadson, Pino Palladino). Published by Universal Polygram Int. Publishing Inc. o/b/o Itself and Ah Choo Music Publishing (ASCAP); Ear Kandy c/o SonyATV Ballad (BMI); BMG Bumblebee; U Betta Like My Music A/c Kobalt Music Publishing America. Courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment. Used by Permission. All Rights Reserved. “Till It’s Done” Performed by D’Angelo & The Vanguard (written by Michael D’Angelo Archer, Ahmir K. Thompson, Kendra Foster, Pino Palladino). Published by Universal Polygram Int. Publishing Inc. o/b/o Itself and Ah Choo Music Publishing (ASCAP); Ear Kandy c/o SonyATV Ballad (BMI); BMG Bumblebee; Universal Music – MGB Songs (ASCAP). Courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment. Used by Permission. All Rights Reserved. “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” Performed by D’Angelo (written by Michael D’Angelo Archer). Published by Universal Polygram Int. Publishing Inc. o/b/o Itself and Ah Choo Music Publishing (ASCAP). Courtesy of Universal Music Enterprises. Used by Permission. All Rights Reserved.
About the Company
Contemporary dance company A.I.M by Kyle Abraham, considered “one of the most consistently excellent troupes working today” (The New York Times), provides multifaceted performances, educational programming, and community-based workshops across the globe. Led by acclaimed Choreographer and Artistic Director Kyle Abraham’s innovative vision, the work of A.I.M is galvanized by Black culture and history, and grounded in a conglomeration of unique perspectives; described by Abraham as a “post-modern gumbo” of movement exploration.
A.I.M is one of the most active touring dance companies in the United States, with an audience base as diverse as A.I.M’s movement vocabulary, drawing inspiration from a multitude of sources and dance styles. Since A.I.M’s founding in 2006, Abraham has created more than 15 original works for and with the company. To expand its repertoire and offer a breadth of dance work to audiences, A.I.M commissions new works and performs existing works by outside choreographers, such as Trisha Brown, Bebe Miller, Andrea Miller, and current A.I.M dancer Keerati Jinakunwiphat.
Kyle Abraham’s unique vision and illumination of poignant and relevant issues set him apart from his generation of choreographers as a leading creative force in dance. A.I.M extends this vision and amplifies surrounding artistic voices to share movement and community-based work with audiences around the world.
For more information, to get involved, or purchase your A.I.M merchandise, please visit http://aimbykyleabraham.org. Follow A.I.M on Instagram @aimbykyleabraham and Kyle Abraham at @kyle_abraham_original_recipe.
About the Choreographer
Princess Grace Statue Award Recipient (2018), Doris Duke Award Recipient (2016), and MacArthur Fellow (2013) Kyle Abraham began his dance training at the Civic Light Opera Academy and the Creative and Performing Arts High School in Pittsburgh, PA. After graduating from Schenley High School, Abraham continued his dance studies in New York, earning a BFA from SUNY Purchase and an MFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Abraham later received an honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from Washington Jefferson College. Abraham is currently the Claude and Alfred Mann Endowed Professor in Dance at The University of Southern California (USC) Glorya Kaufman School of Dance (2021-). Prior to USC, Abraham served as a visiting professor in residence at the University of California, Los Angeles’s (UCLA) World Arts Cultures in Dance program (2016-2021). Abraham serves on the advisory board for Dance Magazine, and in 2020 was selected to be their first-ever Guest Editor. Abraham sits on the artist advisory board for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the inaugural Black Genius Brain Trust. In addition, Abraham was named a Kennedy Center Next 50 Leader (2021), a list of leaders who exemplify the Center’s mission to help shape culture and society through the arts.
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 [Cunningham] and Martha [Graham] 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 wide variety of dance companies including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The National Ballet of Cuba, New York City Ballet, and the Royal Ballet.
Abraham’s third work for New York City Ballet, When We Fell (2021), was reviewed by The New York Times as “among the most beautiful dance films of the pandemic.” Other recent works include The Weathering (2022), commissioned by The Royal Ballet; Abraham’s collaboration with NYCB Principal Dancer Taylor Stanley on Ces noms que nous portons (2020), a Lincoln Center and NYCB commissioned solo; and Unto The End, We Meet (2020), commissioned by the National Ballet of Cuba. Abraham was the final choreographer commissioned by Paul Taylor before his passing, creating Only The Lonely (2019) for Paul Taylor American Modern Dance. The Runaway (2018) was recognized on the “Best Dance of 2018” list by The New York Times, and Untitled America (2016), a 3-part commissioned work for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater was described by The New York Times as “potent and explosive and wonderfully of the moment.”
In addition to his work for A.I.M and other major dance companies, Abraham has choreographed for many of the leading dancers of our time. Most recently, to be seen (2020), a new solo for American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancer Calvin Royal III, premiered during the virtual Fall For Dance Festival. Of this solo, The New York Times observed “how skilled [Abraham] has become at mingling the ballet vernacular with other forms, from hip-hop to West African movement” and his unique talent for “finding the person within the dancer and the bodies within a body.” Abraham created Ash (2019), a solo work for American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancer Misty Copeland that also had its premiere at Fall for Dance. The Serpent and The Smoke (2016) toured as part of Restless Creature, a pas de deux for Abraham and acclaimed Bessie Award-winning and former New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Wendy Whelan. Off the stage, Abraham choreographed the music video for Sufjan Stevens’ Sugar (2020), and for the feature-length film The Book of Henry (2016) for acclaimed director Colin Trevorrow.
In his early career, Abraham served as a choreographic contributor for Beyonce’s British Vogue cover shoot (2013) and was named a Joyce Creative Residency Artist (2017-18), a City Center Choreographer in Residence (2015), the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award recipient (2012), a USA Ford Fellow (2012), and the New York Live Arts Resident Commissioned Artist (2012–2014). Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater premiered Abraham’s Another Night (2012) at New York City Center. OUT Magazine labeled Abraham as the “best and brightest creative talent to emerge in New York City in the age of Obama” (2011). Abraham is the recipient of a Bessie Award for Outstanding Performance in Dance for The Radio Show (2010), a Princess Grace Award for Choreography (2010), and was selected as one of Dance Magazine’s “25 To Watch” (2009).
Abraham’s choreography has been presented throughout the United States and abroad. Notable venues and festivals include Brooklyn Academy of Music, Danspace Project, Fall for Dance Festival at New York City Center, Harlem Stage, The Joyce Theater, and Lincoln Center in New York; Carpenter Performing Arts Center, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Los Angeles Music Center in California; Dance Center at Columbia College Chicago in Illinois; ICA Boston and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Massachusetts; Bates Dance Festival in Maine; American Dance Festival in North Carolina; The Andy Warhol Museum, The Byham, and The Kelly-Strayhorn Theater in Pennsylvania; Performing Arts Houston and TITAS in Texas; On The Boards and Seattle Theatre Group in Washington; and The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Internationally Abraham’s works have toured to Théâtre Paul Eluard, Maison de la Danse, Théâtre de la Ville, and L’Onde in France; Tanz Im August and Kampnagel Festival in Germany; Project Arts Centre in Ireland; The Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum in Japan; and the Royal Opera House and Sadler’s Wells in the United Kingdom, among others.
About the Dancers
JAMAAL BOWMAN (he/him) began his dance training at the age of 14 in Maryland, where he was born and raised. In 2021, he graduated from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA as a Director’s Scholar, under the direction of Donna Faye Burchfield. Over the years he has been in collaboration with Nora Chipaumire, Tommie-Waheed, Maleek Washington, Helen Pickett, Fana Fraser, Jocelyn Cottencin, Nacera Belaza, and Sidra Bell. In November 2021, he toured with Von Howard Project to Ecuador to perform in the “International Living Arts Festival of Loja.” Most recently, he has performed as a company member with Kun-yang Lin/Dancers for their 2021-2022 season. Jamaal’s personal practices are centered around queer Black joy, theater, improvisation, and comedy. He hopes to reshape the future for queer Black people like him, to give them more opportunities to shine. Jamaal joined A.I.M by Kyle Abraham in 2022.
TAMISHA A. GUY (she/her), a native of Trinidad and Tobago, began her formal dance training at Ballet Tech, under the direction of Eliot Feld. Later she attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School, and SUNY Purchase College as a double major in dance and arts management. She has completed summer programs with Complexions Contemporary Ballet and Springboard Danse Montreal, and has performed works by William Forsythe, Pam Tanowitz and Mark Morris. In 2013 Guy graduated with honors from SUNY Purchase College and joined the Martha Graham Dance Company shortly after. In 2016 Guy was selected as one of Dance Magazine’s Top 25 to Watch and she also received the 2016 Princess Grace Award. In 2017, she was named one of the Best Dancer’s of the Year by Dance Europe. In 2021, she was awarded the 2022 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Dance which recognizes foreign-born scientists and artists in the United States. Tamisha joined A.I.M by Kyle Abraham in 2014.
KEERATI JINAKUNWIPHAT (she/her), originally from Chicago, IL., received her BFA from the Conservatory of Dance at SUNY Purchase and was a recipient of the Adopt-A-Dancer Scholarship. She has additionally studied at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, and Springboard Danse Montreal. She has worked with and performed works of artists such as Kyle Abraham, Nicole von Arx, Trisha Brown, Jasmine Ellis, Hannah Garner, Shannon Gillen, Andrea Miller, Kevin Wynn, and Doug Varone. She has assisted Kyle Abraham in new commissioned work for New York City Ballet and Paul Taylor Dance Company. As a freelance choreographer, Keerati has presented her own choreographic works at the American Dance Guild Festival, Triskelion Arts, Dixon Place, Battery Dance Festival, Dance Gallery Festival, the Joyce Theater and New Victory Dance. She has been commissioned to set and create works on the Evanston Dance Ensemble, the Martha Graham School, SUNY Purchase College Conservatory of Dance, A.I.M by Kyle Abraham, Houston Contemporary Dance Company, and New England Ballet Theatre. KeeratI graced the cover of Dance Magazine as ‘25 to Watch’ for 2021. She joined A.I.M by Kyle Abraham in 2016.
CLAUDE “CJ” JOHNSON (he/him) hails from Chicago IL, where he began his formal dance training at the Chicago Academy for the Arts under the direction of Randy Duncan. He continued his dance training at SUNY Purchase College, where he was awarded the Adopt-A-Dancer Scholarship. During CJ’s studies, he performed works by choreographers Johannes Weiland, Aszure Barton, Doug Varone, Kevin Wynn, Rosalind Newman, Alexandra Beller, and Stuart Loungway. CJ also attended summer intensives with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago; Doug Varone & Dancers; Movement Invention Project; and Springboard Danse Montreal under the direction of Alexandra Wells, where he performed work by Shannon Gillen and Elia Mrak. CJ joined A.I.M by Kyle Abraham in 2017.
CATHERINE KIRK (she/her) was born on the unceded land of the Kiickaapoi and Wichita peoples, now called Dallas, Texas. She began formally studying dance at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts before graduating from New York University, Tisch School of Dance. A multi-hyphenate, Catherine is also a dance maker, marketing strategist, arts administrator, dance educator, and yoga teacher. Kirk has completed seasonal programs with San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, Movement Invention Project, and Springboard Danse Montreal, where she performed work by Fernando Melo, Ohad Naharin and Sharon Eyal. Upon graduating, Catherine apprenticed for Sidra Bell Dance NY before collaborating and performing with Danakah Dance, UNA Productions, Burr Johnson, Jasmine Hearn, and Helen Simoneau Danse. She is thrilled to be working as A.I.M’s Marketing Associate and performing with the company. Catherine joined A.I.M by Kyle Abraham in 2013.
JAE NEAL (they/them) was born and raised in Michigan and received their training from Western Michigan University. There, they performed in professional works such as Strict Love by Doug Varone, Temporal Trance by Frank Chavez and Harrison McEldowney’s Dance Sport. Since relocating to New York, Jae has had the privilege of working with SYREN Modern Dance, Christina Noel Reaves, Catapult Entertainment, Katherine Helen Fisher Dance, and Nathan Trice. Jae joined A.I.M by Kyle Abraham in 2011.
DONOVAN REED (he/him), Philadelphia, PA, began his dance training at the age of 16. Soon after, Donovan attended college at The University of The Arts, he was awarded his BFA in May of 2016. During his time in college, Donovan participated as an artist in residence at Die Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Frankfurt, DE. In addition, he participated in an independent artist program where his training was extended with The Pennsylvania Ballet. Other studies include PHILADANCO!, Eleone Dance Theatre and The Rock School for Dance Education. He has performed works by choreographers Sidra Bell, Regina Van Berkel, Sharon Eyal, Tommie Waheed-Evans, Beth Gill, Andrea Miller, Tania Isaac, Meredith Rainey, and Helen Simoneau. Donovan joined A.I.M by Kyle Abraham in 2018.
MARTELL RUFFIN (Dancer, pronouns: he/him), Chicago, IL, began his formal dance training at the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago in 2009. He attended Chicago High School for the Arts under then-director Lisa Johnson-Willingham, former dancer of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Martell has been awarded dance scholarship to intensives at Joffrey Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Complexions, and received first place in the all-city NAACP ACT-SO Competition 2011. Martell trained at The Ailey School as a scholarship student and has performed works by Lisa Johnson-Willingham, Earl Mosley, George Faison, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Matthew Rushing, Jae Man Joo, Robert Battle, and Alvin Ailey. Martell has also been seen in the “Poison Girl” Christian Dior commercial for women’s fragrance and an Urban Outfitters commercial for music artist Samantha Urbani. Martell has completed his two years with Ailey II and is now contributing Choreographer & Performer for Triptych (Eyes of One Another), an Opera based on Robert Mappethorpe. Martell joined A.I.M by Kyle Abraham in 2020.
DYMON SAMARA (Dancer, pronouns: she/her) is a process-driven dancer, choreographer, and performer who began her dance training at the age of 11, where she attended a summer program called Ailey Camp Miami. She then continued her dance training at Author and Polly Mays Conservatory of the Arts where she met Lateshia McFarland who offered her a scholarship to attend her studio, ICTalent Dance. Dymon is a New World School of the Arts alum where she holds the Principals Hall of Fame Award for her outstanding academic and arts performance. Dymon has performed many works by world-renowned choreographers such as Robert Battle, Ohad Naharin, Jennifer Archibald, Peter London, Camille A. Brown, Stephen Petronio and was fortunate enough to apprentice with Ronald K. Brown’s Evidence A Dance Company during the summer and fall of 2021. Dymon currently studies at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts on a full tuition scholarship as a 2019-2022 Dean Scholar. Dymon joined A.I.M by Kyle Abraham in 2022.
Raised in West Palm Beach, Florida, GIANNA THEODORE (Dancer, pronouns: she/her) began her dance training at Ballet East Studio under the direction of Susan Lyle and Chelsea Nasby. Gianna is a graduate of A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, and a three-time YoungArts Merit Scholar/Honorable Mention. She graduated with a BFA in dance from the Ailey/Fordham BFA program Class of 2020. Throughout the course of her training, she has performed works by Robert Battle, Chuck Wilt, and Bradley Shelver. She attended Springboard Danse Montreal, where she performed work created by RUBBERBANDANCE, and Parts & Labour Danse. Gianna has ventured through many cultures and styles of dance, such as house and African, which has helped land her lead roles in music videos. She has also performed professionally with artists such as Ebony Williams, Mark Caserta, Maleek Washington, and Jennifer Archibald. She recently performed during a residency with Helen Simoneau Danse. Gianna joined A.I.M by Kyle Abraham in 2019.
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