Published on December 18, 2011
Paula Court

"Live! The Realest M.C."

Live! The Realest M.C.

Presented by The Kitchen, December 8-10, 2011

Concept, Direction, and Choreography: Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion

Performers: Kyle Abraham, Rena Butler, Chalvar Monteiro, Elyse Morris, Rachelle Rafailedes, Hsiao-Jou Tang, and Maleek Malaki Washington

Filmmaker: Carrie Schneider

Lighting Design: Dan Scully

Costume Design: Kyle Abraham and Kristi Wood with additional support by Maribeth Maxa, Liz Prince and the staff of Perry Mansfield

©Tara Sheena for The Dance Enthusiast

I enter the Kitchen on Thursday, December 8th to the pre-show music of pop songstress and icon of the gay community, Robyn.

Kyle Abraham, donned in a gold sequin racer back top and metallic gold pants, begins Live! The Realest M.C. with an electric solo:  filling the space with subtle pops and locks, game for explosion at any second. Effortlessly balancing on his toenails, he is at once vulnerable and mighty.
Outfitted in old school Adidas jumpsuits, Elyse Morris, Maleek Malaki Washington, and Chalvar Monteiro charge through the space, while Abraham backs away, to shed light on a moment of nostalgia.
A video backdrop ,impressively designed by Carrie Schneider, reveals the daily adventures of a young boy in urban America. Running through the city streets, jumping fences, and chasing friends.  This is just one of many memorable vignettes Abraham provides his audience.
In a standout moment,  Monteiro enters the space, clad in short shorts that put Daisy Duke to shame, to give us his own brand of voguing. Strutting and shaking through the space, Monteiro is unapologetic about the sky-high battements (kicks) punctuating his smooth, sassy movements. He displays a decidedly feminine aesthetic, further emphasizing Maleek Malaki Washington’s overpowering masculinity. Stopping short of satire, the gender economics of hip-hop culture materialize.


Hsiao-Jou Tang and Rachelle Rafailedes offer a different brand of swag and sass. The ladies engage in a fast-paced series of  leg tosses and quick spirals enlivening the  pounding  bass in the diverse musical score edited by Herman “soy sos” Pearl. At a split second’s notice, they slow down to a pedestrian gait, almost as if their flurry of movement never happened.

The dancers are "fierce" and  the lighting ,designed by Dan Scully, is expertly crafted. The lens of hip-hop culture—dominated by hyper -masculine figures and song lyrics that border  misogyny—provides an intriguing choice through which to witness Abraham’s personal journey.His struggle with sexuality and identity guide not only his aesthetic choices, but the relationship between the bodies onstage: A homosexual self; a hypermasculine self; a flamboyant self; an emotionally damaged self. Are they allies? Enemies? Neither? Both? The struggle never found resolution.

Still Live! The Realest M.C. is completely entertaining in its present tense, and utterly thought provoking in its aftermath. Not much more I could ask for from performance on  a frigid December evening in the concrete jungle.
Catch Abraham.In.Motion this month at FOCUS Dance at the Joyce Theater
(175 Eighth Avenue, NYC) January 4th and 8th at 7:30pm. For More information Click here



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