PITTSBURGH NATIVE KYLE ABRAHAM
by Genea L. Webb
Pain, love and violence are just some of the themes in Kyle Abraham’s latest choreographed work, “Pavement.”
The work is told from the point of view of three friends who are working hard to stay together while the community they love and live in is ripping them apart.
Abraham, who hails from Pittsburgh’s Lincoln-Lemington area and now resides in New York City, said his inspiration for the piece came from John Singleton’s 1991 coming-of-age movie “Boyz-n-the Hood.”
“When I first saw the movie in 1991 in Monroeville I noticed the genocide,” Abraham said. “At that time I was entering Schenley High School and living in the Lincoln-Lemington area. It was like the bloods and crips here in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh has a vibrant history with our jazz legends and buildings like the Crawford Grill. That added vibrancy in the 1990’s. I was home in November and now those buildings are boarded up and I asked people how they felt about that and how they were represented by the boarded-up buildings. When I think about those buildings, there’s so much history in Pittsburgh and all that has changed.”
The final stop on a five-week tour, Abraham will be bringing the gripping spectacle of dance to the Byham Theater stage for one night only on February 16 at 8 p.m. The performance is being presented by the Pittsburgh Dance Council, a division of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.
“I’m really excited about being on that stage showing my work. I’m really going to have to keep it together. ‘Pavement’ has hit the pavement,” Abraham said.
The self-proclaimed music freak came to dance late, seeing his first performance, the Joffery Ballet’s “Billboards” at age 16.
“I was hyped and after the show we went back to my friend’s house and she was auditioning for school and she showed me her solo piece. I was in love with movement,” Abraham said.