A.I.M by Kyle Abraham, “Our Indigo: If We Have been a Appreciate Tune.” Picture: Christopher Duggan
When acclaimed choreographer Kyle Abraham frequented Boston with his firm, A.I.M. (for Abraham in Motion) by Kyle Abraham, in November 2012, he and his dancers done the Boston premiere of “The Radio Show” at the Institute of Present-day Artwork/Boston, an evening-length work spanning a broad array of musical veins.
Last weekend, A.I.M. returned to the ICA/Boston with is effective choreographed to a narrower swath of audio — introspective ballads.
Before the to start with general performance on Friday evening, John Andress, ICA/Boston’s curator of accomplishing arts, introduced a COVID-induced pivot: Mainly because a person dancer experienced examined positive, the third perform in the program could not be executed. In its location, he would host an on-phase dialogue with Abraham, a workaround that was greeted with enthusiastic applause.
Opening the software was a 2011 operate, “The Tranquil Dance,” carried out to a recording of pianist Invoice Evans participating in his arrangement of Leonard Bernstein’s “Some Other Time,” from Bernstein’s 1944 musical “On the City.” Abraham’s choreography finds the melancholy vein in the ballad, a tune of farewell as a few sailors go away their new-observed intimate partners to ship out.
Spare lighting by Dan Scully and uncomplicated, fitted costumes by Kristi Wooden saved the aim on the lyrical syncopation of legs, arms and torsos. The do the job began in silence, on a dark stage. Then soloist Catherine Kirk appeared, sophisticated and very long of limb, and laid out a vocabulary of fluid raveling and unraveling actions echoed by 4 dancers who joined her — Tamisha A. Man, Keerati Jinakunwiphat, Claude “CJ” Johnson, and Donovan Reed. Punctuating the flowing, modernist momentum with deep, angular bends and nurturing gestures such as rocking an toddler and caressing touches, the dancers spun a spellbinding and healing overall performance.
Just about twice as very long at 26 minutes, the 2021 operate “Our Indigo: If We Have been a Like Song,” came subsequent. This sequence of 6 solos, duets and trios was choreographed by Abraham and his company to downbeat choices from the songbook of Nina Simone. Darkish, form-fitting costumes by Abraham and Karen Younger emphasised the dancers’ sculpted bodies.
In the incredible opening section, the 7-member ensemble fashioned a gradual-relocating human knot to Simone’s rendering of the conventional people music, “Black Is the Shade of My Genuine Love’s Hair.” Jae Neal adopted with an rigorous solo to Simone’s melancholy “Keeper of the Flame.”
Defying the defeatist lyrics of the Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart ballad “Little Lady Blue” with her astonishing solo to Simone’s rippling chords, Gianna Theodore rose from the flooring using only her arms, executing arcs, twists, backward lifts and spins that drew from breakdance but further than. Her fearless precision was a triumphant counterpoint to this portrayal of an abandoned female.
Mirroring just about every other in their duo to “Don’t Make clear,” Neal and Reed made a suave dance drama with a staccato, jerking exit that acknowledged suffering.
With its tempo of rapid spins and pauses, Jinakunwiphat’s solo to “Wild Is the Wind” evoked fury as a pressure of character. Kirk delivered a somber solo to Simone’s a cappella musical placing of “No Photos,” a poem by Harlem Renaissance author William Waring Cuney with the chorus “she thinks her brown system has no glory.”