DANCECleveland presents A.I.M. by Kyle Abraham

“An Untitled Love” brings dance performances back to Playhouse Square

A.I.M. by Kyle Abraham. Photo courtesy of Carrie Schneider

On Nov. 6th, A.I.M by Kyle Abraham brought “An Untitled Love” to Playhouse Square. This show was noteworthy in its travel to the Mimi Ohio Theater, as it marked the first in-person performance for a DANCECleveland season at Playhouse Square since 2019.

Entering into the theatre, one is once again surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the Saturday night entertainment scene, this time with just a few added precautions. Cleveland Playhouse requires a photo ID, mask, and proof of a COVID-19 vaccination, or a negative test prior to viewing the show.

To begin the evening, updates from DANCECleveland were shared. The audience helped to celebrate the retirement of Pam Young, who had served as the organization’s executive director for several years. In saying goodbye to Young, DANCECleveland welcomed a new face to their organization: Theresa Remick, the new executive director at DANCECleveland.

The lights are up on the stage, illuminating a backdrop of words and drawing. In contrast to the usual bare stage for a dance performance, the audience sees an almost living room-like setup. Music is already playing, foreshadowing the genre of music the show is in.

Hips sway, shoulders bop, knees turn in and out. The casual style of Abraham’s choreography tells a story that instantly draws the viewer into the social atmosphere they see unfolding onstage. This show is more than just a dance, it is a story.

Like the title implies, it is a love story. It shows love in its many forms- the struggles to find it and to keep it. However, this love story is anonymous, able to apply to a person from any walk of life.

The movement starts off very minimal and pedestrian-like, informing the audience that they are watching something inspired by life. It looks almost like a party or get-together, where one can observe the interactions between individuals. These interactions are more serious and heartfelt and, at times, comedic. Abraham blurs the line between dance and theater by incorporating dialogue into the show.

The movement picks up, and the dancers’ transitions are seamless. They go from seductive swaying to busting out four pirouettes. These dancers make it seem effortless to go from enormous leaps to fluid floor work. There were moments of complete slow motion and faster movement phrases. They are clearly versatile in their movement quality, and powerful performers able to embody the character while obviously having a strong technical dance background.

This 90-minute show was continuous, shifting from different moods with music and lighting. The audience got to see solos, duets, trios, and whole-group dances; there was always something going on onstage. Even if there was a pause in movement, for example during the one costume change in the show, there was a dialogue section continuing to narrate the story. This show in one act, took the audience on a full cycle journey, full of highs and lows, with a clear beginning, middle, and end.

DANCECleveland will continue to bring world-renowned dance to Cleveland with their upcoming shows this season. Their next performance is “Viva Momix” by Momix Dance on February 5th, followed by Pam Tanowitz Dance on March 19th, and the famed Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for a whole weekend, April 22-24th.

For more information on DANCECleveland and their upcoming shows, please visit their webpage, here.

Author: Trinity Stevens

Trinity Stevens is a current student at Cleveland State University majoring in Dance in Community, minoring in Theatre Studies, and pursuing a certificate in Arts Management.