There’s a party on stage at the King’s Theatre and we’re lucky enough to get to watch. A plump sofa, carefully lit, sits on one side of the stage and a riotous splurge of illustrations and scrawled slogans form a backdrop. An infectiously funky but soulful RnB track from D’Angelo & The Vanguard throbs out from the speaker system as the first dancers amble onto the stage.
An Untitled Love from leading American choreographer, Kyle Abraham, is a bold, fluid, and fun work that celebrates friendship, relationships, and the kind of community that becomes so important when you don’t feel that you fit anywhere else. Abraham has built his reputation on mixing dance styles together to create a sinuous, sexy, sultry celebration of the human body as it weaves its way in and around a musical accompaniment.
Classical ballet influences are clearly in there and the dancers are more than capable of executing a perfect pirouette or two. Alongside this, though, you have an array of moves redolent of the signature American dance styles of the sixties through to sequences that wouldn’t look out of place in a Michael Jackson music video through to hip hop and shameless somersaults. It’s eclectic, irreverent, and delicious.
For all the joy of a perfectly working body and a great beat, Abraham’s work lands another couple of important points here too. The show celebrates relationships, many of which are same sex; something you don’t see a lot in dance, which perhaps signals one of the potential meanings behind the show’s title. The other love that Abraham explores is the love these Black American dancers feel for their homeland – a love that, as a chastening voiceover reminds us, isn’t always reciprocated. It’s great to see A.I.M, one of America’s foremost dance companies, using their voice on this international platform to decry this gross injustice.