Aptly named, watching Kyle Abraham’s Love Letter (on shuffle) feels like listening to a playlist. The sections shared thematic qualities but felt disconnected especially so with every blackout at the close of a song, the visual interpretation of hitting next.
Abraham paired up with designer Giles Deacon and music by James Blake, both previous collaborators. Deacon’s costumes featured abstract Renaissance prints as well as nods to the time period’s wardrobe with ruffles, bows, and extra-large romantic tutus. With falsetto notes and bubbly electronics, Blake is inspiring accompaniment.
Jonathan Fahoury absorbs Abraham’s technique, expertly switching from balletic gargouillades to rippling undulations and electric locking. But the highlight of the work are the three central pas de deux.
Quinn Starner and Cainan Weber are the sweet, young, enamored couple – Starner often running to the side to giggle with girlfriends. The work here is quick, twisty, and bright with the two playing off each other, an on-stage frolic.
Emily Kikta and Peter Walker, both expansive and long-legged, show a more mature relationship. Blake poetically lulls:
“I reserve a table for old time
Back then, it wouldn’t have even crossed my mind
But I promise you, your place is safe”.
The third coupling featured Fahoury and Harrison Ball. Their repeated theme step is a synchronized adagio, hands on each other’s shoulders and standing side by side, they slowly developpé their legs in the air. This duo feels a bit more troubled, a bit more challenged by a mysterious pressure. Their foreheads press against each other in beautiful simplicity and a last embrace is what closes the number.
Three new works, three peaceful endings. It’s rare to see a mixed bill of new works that end with similar closing tones. Almost like we’ve been yearning for some stillness.