Kyle Abraham’s “A.I.M” at The Kennedy Center

A.I.M. by Kyle Abraham An Untitled Love  

Friday April 29, 2022

The Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater

By Sylvana Christopher 

Groovy music plays in the majestic Eisenhower theater with a striking Joseph Buckingham Basquiat-like art projection art with line drawings and phrases on a blue background. A single couch and lamp sit onstage. We are invited into an intimate yet communal home enveloped by the velvety Brown Sugar album by D’Angelo. 

The virtual program choreographer’s note includes a quote from poet Nikki Giovanni, “Some say we are responsible for the ones we love. Others know we are responsible for those who love us.” This encapsulates Black Love theme that prevails in this evening of dance.

With humor, style and grace the company of exceptional artists paired well with one another. Stunning partner work and extraordinary ensemble work with surprising comedic pauses. 

A sinewy duet between Tamisha A. Guy and Claude “CJ” Johnson with Spanish notes becomes a buttery jazz piece. 

Forced arch turns, sweeping level changes and super suave partnering mark this performance to classics such as Sure Shot and other classics off the D’Angelo album. I saw flavors of Breakin’, Vogue, West African, Release, Jazz, Ballet with nods to the Nicholas Brothers, James Brown and MJ.

D’Angelo’s dancey “Spanish Joint”, classic “Cruisin”, epic “Lady” and so many more tracks brought ultra good vibes throughout the house and individual body. Antics and realistic snapshots from Jae Neal kept the audience laughing and on their toes. A slow mo section astounded the dancers in the audience with its sheer simplicity and effectiveness.

Parts of the evening reminded me that when people are in love, the surrounding community has all kinds of ways of helping or hurting the two. 

Sylvana Christopher