Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Combining Hip-Hop and Modern Dance

Kyle Abraham, a choreographer and dancer, is a creative that is using dance as a medium to explore his identity as a black male and his personal history. Kyle does this through a unique hybrid of traditional and new dance styles that is attractive to a modern generation of dancers and audience members. In other words, Kyle's new dance style seeks to combine a traditional modern dance techniques with hip-hop culture. His inspiration came from modern dancers, especially Martha Graham, as well as his own experiences with hip-hop and urban culture.

Furthermore, Kyle Abraham has founded his own dance company called Abraham.In.Motion. Through his company, Kyle Abraham is able to express his own creative vision for what dance can and should be and become. Kyle seeks to make dance a creative way for exploring important contemporary issues with a clarity and beauty that resonates with a wide range of audiences. In addition, his company serves not only to reproduce his work through the teaching of his students, but it also provides Kyle with a platform to express his ideas.

For example, one of Kyle Abraham's works, When the Wolves Came In, explores the legacies two triumphs in the international history of civil rights: the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of apartheid in South Africa. This work combines the styles of modern dance and hip-hop dance with a contemporary view of how race relations have been affected by these two momentous events. Kyle is able to tell a story and invoke emotions within the audience through the unique combination of choreography and music from various genres.


Above is a link to an excerpt of another one of Kyle's works, Absent Matter. In this dance, Kyle Abraham explores the perceived posthumous grandeur of death and violence in urban communities throughout America. Kyle seeks to specifically address the issues caused by and the fallacy in the ideology of gangs. This dance is performed to songs from Notorious B.I.G., Tupac, Kendrick Lamar, and Drake. The choice of music is an intentional ploy to link old rap to new rap and contemporary hip-hop dance. In doing this, Kyle provides the audience with a lineage, of sorts, for the genre of rap. Moreover, the song's title indicates that the story is being told from the perspective of the black race which feels unacknowledged and without value.


Kyle Abraham is a creative for several reasons. First off, Kyle Abraham is a Big C creative who is creating a new domain of dance. By combining modern dance with hip-hop and urban culture, Kyle has formed a new genre of dance altogether. In addition, Kyle Abraham displays enormous levels of bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. This intelligence allows him to utilize his body in creative ways to tell stories and invoke emotions within his audience members. In addition, Kyle Abraham demonstrates divergent thinking which may be a result of the heavy influence Martha Graham, who was a driving factor in the development of the modern dance style, had on Kyle's outlook on dance. Divergent thinking allowed Kyle to create a new form of dance that is unique, popular, and meaningful


  1. I've heard of his work before but never took the time to watch his choreography in motion. All I can say is WOW. Very relevant and much-needed given the times we live in. I think dance is another excellent way to both critique as well as heal the failure and pain of social injustice. Thank you for sharing! How did you first hear of him?

  2. I enjoyed watching these videos, which led me down the YouTube rabbit hole to many other dance companies :) It is amazing how many different forms of dance exist, but the main premise of dance itself is a simple common thread: human movement. Dance pioneers have taken something that we all have, a human body, and pushed it to move and flow in innovative fashions. I would love to see Abraham.In.Motion!

  3. I had never heard of Kyle Abraham before, and I must say his choreography is extraordinary. As someone who does not follow dance, I thought it was incredibly unique how he used his domain to send a bigger message, or challenge an issue in society. It's actually quite perspicacious of him! I wonder how other dancers in his company share his vision, and how much he collaborates with others to assist in the creative process.


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