October 01, 2014, BY Kathryn Kopchik

Modern dance ensemble Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion will perform an urban dance piece called Pavement on Tuesday, Oct. 28, at 7:30 p.m. at the Weis Center at Bucknell University.

Kyle Abraham is a choreographer and dancer and 2013 MacArthur Fellow. With diverse training in music, visual art, and dance — and breathtaking skill as a performer — Abraham's highly physical dance vocabulary reflects the youthful energy of the hip-hop and urban dance he encountered in his adolescence as well as a strong grounding in modern dance technique.

His most recent work, Pavement, creates a moving and powerful portrait of urban life consumed by gang and police violence, employing a score that incorporates baroque opera, contemporary classical compositions, and R&B as well as multimedia elements and spoken word. The piece includes gunshots and other sound effects and there is a very limited amount of adult language.

Near the end of the piece, the recurring motif of bodies forced onto the ground into a handcuffed position takes on new meaning: as the six dancers move into different arrangements of stacked bodies, with dancers wriggling out or turning over to face those above, we see that while often filled with brutality, their lives are also marked by a powerful camaraderie that can be a source of comfort and beauty.

Of the work, Abraham says, "In 1991, I was 14 and entering the ninth grade at Schenley High School in the historic Hill District of Pittsburgh. That same year, John Singleton's film, Boyz N The Hood was released. For me, the film depicted an idealized 'Gangsta Boheme' laying aim to the state of the Black American male at the end of the 20th century.

"Twenty years later and more than 10 years into the 21st century, I am focused on investigating the state of Black America and a history therein. Reimagined as a dance work and set in Pittsburgh's historically black neighborhoods of Homewood and the Hill District, Pavement aims to create a strong emotional chronology of a culture conflicted with a history plagued by discrimination, genocide, and a constant quest for a lottery ticket weighted in freedom," he said.

Abraham received a B.F.A. (2000) from the State University of New York at Purchase and an M.F.A. (2006) from New York University. His choreographic works have been performed by his company, Kyle Abraham/Abraham.in.Motion (founded in 2006), and others at such venues as Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, the Joyce Theatre, Harlem Stage, Danspace Project, On the Boards, the Kelly-Strahorn Theater (Pittsburgh), and REDCAT (Los Angeles), among many others.

This tour engagement of Kyle Abraham is made possible by a grant from Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment of the Arts.

Tickets for the performance are $20 for adults, $16 for seniors 62+ and subscribers, $10 for youth 18 and under, $10 for Bucknell employees and retirees (limit 2), $10 for Bucknell students (limit 2), and $10 for non-Bucknell college students (limit 2). Special online-only discounted rate for youth who are studying dance — $5 for youth 18 and under. The code must be redeemed online at www.Bucknell.edu/BoxOffice. Enter code HAPPYFEET as the special offer code.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.bucknell.edu/BoxOffice or by calling the Campus Box Office at 570-577-1000.

Tickets are also available in person from several locations including the Weis Center lobby weekdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the CAP Center Box Office, located on the ground floor of the Elaine Langone Center, weekdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information about this performance, contact Lisa Leighton, marketing and outreach director, at 570-577-3727 or by email at lisa.leighton@bucknell.edu.

The next event in the Weis Center's 2014-15 Series is a bluegrass performance by Sam Bush Band on Friday, Oct. 31, at 7:30 p.m. at the Weis Center as part of Bucknell's Homecoming celebration. Tickets for the performance are $20 for adults, $16 for seniors 62+ and subscribers, $10 for youth 18 and under, $10 for Bucknell employees and retirees (limit 2), $10 for Bucknell students (limit 2), and $10 for non-Bucknell college students (limit 2).

For more information about the Weis Center for the Performing Arts, go to www.bucknell.edu/WeisCenter or www.facebook.com/WeisCenter

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