Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s Kyle Abraham: From raves to the Royal

By Steve Sucato for Dance International Magazine

Kyle Abraham has come a long way from his early days as a rave dancer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to now choreographing for the world’s most prominent dance companies. His latest, The Weathering, for London’s Royal Ballet, is set to premiere as part of a triple bill on March 24 at the Royal Opera House.

Abraham grew up in a middle-class African American neighbourhood. His schooling in the arts began at Pittsburgh’s Civic Light Opera Academy and the Creative and Performing Arts High School where he studied classical cello, piano, the visual arts, and dance. It wasn’t until age 17, when he saw the Joffrey Ballet in Billboards, set to the music of Prince, that Abraham says it sank in that dance could be a career choice and not just a social activity for him.

But, he says, “I knew that I wanted and needed to learn so much more before entering the professional arena.” That led him to move to New York State to attend SUNY Purchase where he earned a BFA degree with a focus on choreography. And even once he was four years into his professional career, Abraham went back to school to earn his MFA degree from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

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Steve Sucato is a former dancer turned arts writer/critic. He is Chairman Emeritus of the Dance Critics Association and Associate Editor of ExploreDance.com.

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