Pavement

Pavement (2012) by Photo by Steven SchreiberA.I.M

“Men call the shadow prejudice, and learnedly explain it as a natural defense of culture against barbarism, learning against ignorance, purity against crime, the ‘higher’ against the ‘lower’ races.” – W.E.B. Du Bois

Rena Butler for Pavement by Carrie Schneider (2012) by Photo by Carrie SchneiderA.I.M

Pavement is an evening length work choreographed by Kyle Abraham in collaboration with A.I.M dancers, that premiered in 2012. The work draws inspiration from many sources including the film Boyz n the Hood (1991), the writings of W.E.B. Du Bois and Abraham's hometown, Pittsburgh.

Kyle Abraham, Eric Williams and Matthew Baker for Pavement by Carrie Schneider (2012) by Photo by Carrie SchneiderA.I.M

"In 1991, I was fourteen 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 ten years into the 21st century, I am focused on investigating the state of Black America and a history therein."

Maleek Washington and Jeremy Jae Neal for Pavement (2017) by Photo by Carrie SchneiderA.I.M

"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."

Rena Butler for Pavement by Carrie Schneider (2012) by Photo by Carrie SchneiderA.I.M

"Looking primarily at Homewood and the Hill District, their histories run parallel. Both experienced a cultural shift in the 1950’s when jazz legends like Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington performed at local theaters, and Billy Strayhorn spent most of his teenage years. A half a century later, those same theaters became dilapidated. The streets that once flourished on family run businesses and a thriving jazz scene, now show the sad effects of gang violence and crack cocaine."
-Kyle Abraham

Pavement (2012) by Photo by Steven SchreiberA.I.M

Music was another component that largly influenced the creative direction of the piece. Abraham uses sound bites from the film Boys n the Hood (1991) layered with blues, and operatic pieces by Antonio Vivaldi and Philippe Jaroussky. Abraham thought Philippe Jaroussky's album Carestini: The Story of a Castrato was very much a metaphor for Boyz n the Hood.

Chalvar Monteiro in Pavement (2012) by Photo by Steven SchreiberA.I.M

Pavement (2012) by Photo by Steven SchreiberA.I.M

“The dance flows like a river, but it’s broken up or channelled by images of police and gang violence, of community breakdown, of yearning for escape.”
- Zoe Anderson, Independent

A.I.M dancers in Pavement (2012) by Photo by Steven SchreiberA.I.M

“Pavement delivers the complexities of human relations with notable integrity, grit and grace.”
- Donald Hutera, The Times London

Abraham In Motion: Pavement, Video created by Dancing Camera, 2012, From the collection of: A.I.M
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Credits: Story

Choreography: Kyle Abraham in collaboration with A.I.M
Dramaturge: Charlotte Brathwaite
Editing Advisor: Alexandra Wells
Costume Design: Kyle Abraham
Scenic and Lighting Design: Dan Scully

Original Performers: Kyle Abraham, Rena Butler, Matthew Baker, Maleek Washington, Chalvar Monteiro, Eric Williams, Jeremy Jae Neal.

The creation and presentation of Pavement is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts in cooperation with the New England Foundation for the Arts though the National Dance Project. Major support for NDP is provided by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with additional support from the Community Connections Fund of the MetLife Foundation. Support from the NEA provides funding for choreographers in the early stages of their careers.

Developed in part during a Choreographic Fellowship at the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography at Florida State University, Pavement was also created during a residency provided by The Joyce Theater Foundation, New York City, with major support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation as well as during a residency provided by The Joyce Theater Foundation, New York City, with major support from The Rockefeller Foundation’s NYC Cultural Innovation Fund and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

The creation of Pavement was made possible, in part, by the Danspace Project Commissioning Initiative with support from the Jerome Foundation. Pavement was developed, in part, during a creative residency at the Bates Dance Festival. Pavement is made possible, in part, by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Swing Space program.

Harlem Stage is the Lead Commissioner of Pavement, through its WaterWorks program. Pavement had its world premiere at The Harlem Stage Gatehouse on November 2-3, 2012. WaterWorks is supported by Time Warner and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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