About the Grant

$35,000 to support The Social (MAP 2014)
$5,000 to general operating expenses for Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

About the Project

An interactive new dance work by Kyle Abraham, The Social investigates the whimsical, unlearned dance vocabulary of American social dances through the decades, resurrecting these dances and bringing their movement styles together for a participatory performance rooted in rave culture. Based on his extensive interviews and community-based activities with people living in cities across America—in places like New York, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Birmingham, Chicago, Detroit, and San Francisco, among others—Abraham explores the political import of social dance in marginalized communities, facilitating dialogues between people of different neighborhoods and generations and looking at dances as diverse as the cotillions of the South and the Motown and rich electronic music scene of the Midwest. Traveling around the country with a small research team of one to two dancers, a dance scholar, and a videographer, Abraham will document his many interviews and community activities in text and on film, later translating this content into a documentary film and a book rich with imagery and writings to accompany the performance work that evolves from this intensive research process.

Premiering in spring 2016 at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, The Social will be a freeing celebration of memories associated with attending that first school dance, church function, or house party. Like in real-life social dance, Abraham’s choreography will incorporate an “unstructured structure,” being intentional and choreographed but also free from convention, so he can reconnect himself and his audiences with the pleasure, memories, and unifying energy of our social dances.

Related Websites

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Kyle Abraham


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