Kyle Abraham…you are a man-Dyva

Live! The Realest MC explored the concept of acceptance.
Through the investigation of gender roles, where the “women are strong and the men are good looking” (couldn’t have been more true), and the idea that sometimes going unnoticed is better than facing society’s ideals and expectations, Abraham’s company offered such a powerful performance through movement and media alike. At one point in the middle of the performance, I came back to myself and realized that I was literally almost biting through my lip.
I myself have only ever experienced bullying at home, in the form of my three older brothers not allowing me play mini-sticks with them in the basement; nonetheless, I found there to be such a pure, visceral representation of how not fitting in can feel dangerously isolating at times.
As a black man growing up in a culture where certain values were imposed and assumed, Abraham felt the pressures to conceal his homosexual identity behind a hyper-masculine persona. He felt that it was necessary to hide his-inner glitter (literally…read below) in order to avoid conflict and harassment.
Large projections of two boys holding hands being chased by a large/screaming group of boys, repeated over and over again.
A white woman teaching “hip-hop moves” and “hip-hop culture” assaulted our eyeballs for a good five minutes.
Good Lord.
There is such a strong presence of hip-hop in Abraham’s movement vocabulary that the Adidas track suits and glitter embellishments on the costumes weren’t entirely off-putting. (I also just love a good track suit). His quick…and I mean super-speedy choreography was so alarming at times, I found myself holding my breath and waiting for stillness. Facing the front, the audience was faced with blinding glitter-tops that the dancers adorned, once facing the back however, the costumes muted into simple black; the switch between sparkles (the idea of “realness”) and black (conforming to society) happened so rapidly that it quickly became obvious…when you’re hiding your true self from the people around you, there’s no time to be still…you risk being outed.
From the audience’s perspective, glimpses of the glitter would appear when the dancers would violently commit to their choreography; the glitter, YOUR glitter can never actually be stifled entirely. Lesson learned.
The performance was undeniably moving and thought-provoking, something so lively and strong with such an emotional bottom-line left you feeling either receptive and totally in it to win it, or entirely overwhelmed. I myself, identified so strongly with the movement vocabulary that my overall experience was staggering–staggering to the point that I wasn’t able to sleep that night. We have all experienced what it feels like to just not fit in, to feel entirely alien within your own home; Abraham’s exploration was so true to his nature that it the thought of not wearing your glitter with pride, seems absolutely ludicrous.
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