2021/22 Season Preview: A new work by Kyle Abraham and Jlin
UMS will present our schedule for 2021/22 in-person performances on May 13! Each week until then, we will preview a new program.
This week, we’re delighted to announce a collaboration co-commissioned by UMS with the Mostly Mozart Festival, Lincoln Center, and Stanford Live.
The work, titled Requiem: Fire in the Air of the Earth, features choreographer Kyle Abraham and pioneering producer, composer, and EDM artist Jlin. It explores death, folklore, and reincarnation through a reimagining of Mozart’s Requiem as an electronic dance score that memorializes ritual, mourning, and rebirth.
Watch an excerpt of the work and a conversation with the creators, filmed and edited in January at National Sawdust as part of their FERUS Festival:
Dates and times for Requiem will become available when the full 2021/22 season is announced in May.
About the Artists
Dancer, choreographer, and founder of A.I.M, Kyle Abraham has been heralded by OUT magazine as one of the “best and brightest creative talents to emerge in New York City in the age of Obama.” Abraham founded A.I.M in 2006, drawing inspiration from 1970s hip-hop culture and grounding the work in his artistic upbringing in classical cello, piano, and the visual arts. The company represents dancers from various disciplines and diverse personal backgrounds.
Through his company and choreography, Abraham seeks to represent Black culture and identity:
“I’m often thinking about what stories or reality I’m putting on stage. How is the work viewed, and who’s relating to my version of storytelling? These questions — especially important as the nation grapples with issues such as the killing of unarmed Black men and women and problems of mass incarceration — have been at the forefront of my choreographic identity since I was first exposed to dance at the age of 17 in my hometown of Pittsburgh.”
Abraham and A.I.M are, perhaps, best known for their work Pavement, which draws inspiration from John Singelton’s 1991 movie Boyz n the Hood and W.E.B. DuBois’s 1903 work The Souls of Black Folk. Reimagined as a dance work and now set in Pittsburgh’s historically black neighborhoods, 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.
One of the most prominent female producers of the current generation, Jlin grew up in Gary, Indiana, just 20 miles from downtown Chicago. Though her work often draws inspiration from footwork, a house music/street dance tradition originating in Chicago in the 1990s, her music defies categorization. Her albums Dark Energy and Black Origami, released in 2015 and 2017, were met with nearly universal acclaim.
In both her solo and collaborative work, Jlin’s production is deeply rooted in dance. Her music videos often center around movement, including her video for “Carbon 7 (161),” which was choreographed by ballet dancer Corey Scott-Gilbert. Additionally, Jlin frequently collaborates with interdisciplinary movement artist Avril Stormy Unger.
In 2017, Jlin produced music for British choreographer Wayne McGregor’s piece Autobiography. About the process of writing for contemporary dance companies, she notes, “Although they’re both based in dance, footwork and ballet come at it from completely different directions, so they don’t really have all that much in common…I’ve always been attracted to contemporary dance – I like the way that someone can nod their head, blink their eyes, or hold their hands, and it can tell a story.”