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New York-Based Dance Company A.I.M Puts the Power of Dance on Display at the Schaefer Center on February 5

The Schaefer Center Presents series, presented by Appalachian State University’s Office of Arts and Cultural Programs, is proud to welcome acclaimed dance company A.I.M (Abraham in Motion) — which draws with equal authority from ballet and hip-hop — on Wednesday, Feb. 5 at 7pm at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts. The program features two of the New York-based company’s crowd-pleasing pieces — a duet excerpt from the emotional and intimate “Dearest Home” and the percussive, urgent “Drive” — as well as two recent premieres — the hoops-influenced “Big Rings” and the groundbreaking “Solo Olos.”


  • “Big Rings” — Inspired by the movie Space Jam, and employing music by Alan Parsons Project and Chance the Rapper, dancers run basketball drills to highlight the “energy and teamwork” required to perform at the highest level.
  • “Solo Olos” — Set to choreography by the legendary Trisha Brown, “Solo Olos” premiered to rave reviews last October at the Joyce Theatre. The unique and challenging concept draws upon five dancers whose movements are woven together by a lone caller (the only sound element) who spontaneously calls the movements that are exclusive to each night and moment. A.I.M dancer Catherine Ellis Kirk describes it as “hypnotic,” “collaborative,” and “humanizing.”
  • Duet from “Dearest Home” — This meditative piece — “a wrenching, sometimes joyful, often thrilling journey through the thickets of intimacy” — is performed in complete silence, drawing on Abraham’s personal experiences with love, longing and loss.
  • “Drive” —Kyle Abraham’s artistic and humanistic work is sonically rooted in hip-hop and celebrates openness and individuality. Says Kirk, “It’s a “very lights-camera-action, kind of ‘go-off’ piece. It’s kind of a proclamation, saying ‘celebrate and enjoy black bodies and different sexualities working together and touching each other.’ It’s important for the world to see because it evokes a sense of community.”


A Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award winner, Doris Duke Artist Award winner, and MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, A.I.M. artistic director and choreographer Kyle Abraham’s “skill as a dancer is a fact,” proclaims The New York Times. One of today’s most in-demand choreographers — the first black choreographer commissioned to create a work on New York City Ballet in over a decade — Abraham was born into the hip-hop culture of late 1970s Pittsburgh and incorporates an artistic upbringing of classical cello, piano, and the visual arts into his work, all of which offers a rumination on history, identity and community. Comprised of a diverse representation of dancers, A.I.M melds modern, classical, street, and hip-hop movement into pieces that are evocative and timely, tackling issues involving race, violence, love, longing and loss, and community.

In 2011, OUT Magazine labeled as the “best and brightest creative talent to emerge in New York City in the age of Obama” and the copious accolades that followed that proclamation underscore the praise. Abraham’s numerous honors include the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award in 2012, being named a MacArthur fellow in 2013, and receiving in 2016 a Doris Duke Artist Award, given to those who foster continuing excellence in the performing arts. In 2016, he premiered Untitled America, a three-part commissioned work for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; and he recently premiered the Bessie-nominated The Runaway for New York City Ballet’s 2018 Fall Fashion Gala, which was recognized as “Best of Dance for 2018” by The New York Times. In Fall 2019, he choreographed Ash, a solo work for American Ballet Theater Principal Dancer Misty Copeland; Only the Lonely, a newly commissioned work for Paul Taylor American Modern Dance; and The Bystander, a new commission for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago to rave reviews.


Tickets: $25 adults, $15 local residents/faculty/staff, $5 students


A.I.M.’s performance and residency program is funded in part by a grant from South Arts in

partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council.



Next up on The Schaefer Center Presents… 2020 Spring Season



Saturday, Feb. 22 at 7pm

A fusion of Ireland’s vibrant and longstanding dance form and elements of American innovation, Trinity Irish Dance Company dazzles audiences with its hard-driving percussive power, lightning-fast agility, and aerial grace. Artistic director Mark Howard’s uniquely Irish-American company was the birthplace of progressive Irish dance, which opened new avenues of artistic expression that led directly to commercial productions such as Riverdance.

Tickets: $25 adults, $20 faculty/staff, $10 students



Tuesday, March 24 at 7pm

This captivating documentary-style play is based on personal interviews with seven remarkable women from around the world who faced life-threatening obstacles before bringing heroic changes to their home countries. Seven female playwrights — Carol K. Mack (who conceived the play), Anna Deavere Smith, Paula Cizmar, Catherine Filloux, Gail Kriegel, Ruth Margraff, and Susan Yankowitz — collaborated to create a tapestry of stories that weave together the words of these women, dramatizing their struggles and triumphs over resistance, death threats, entrenched norms and pervasive violence. Seven makes the powerful and timeless statement that even in the darkest times, one person, one voice, and a single act of courage can change the lives of thousands. 

Tickets: $25 adults, $20 faculty/staff, $10 students



Saturday, April 4 at 7pm

Carrying on the family legacy, Cash comes to Boone promoting She Remembers Everything, a poetic, lush and soulful collection of songs that address a flawed and complicated world, reflecting upon the blessings and bruises of life through the prism of one of the country’s preeminent singer/songwriters. Cash has released 15 albums of extraordinary songs that have earned four Grammy Awards and 11 nominations, as well as 21 top 40 hits, including 11 No. 1 singles.

Tickets: $40 adults, $35 faculty/staff, $20 students




A faculty/staff and retired faculty/staff discount for select shows is available when tickets are purchased over the phone or at the box office. To purchase tickets, stop by the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts Box Office, call 800-841-2787 or 828-262-4046, or visit http://theschaefercenter.org.


About “The Schaefer Center Presents”

The Schaefer Center Presents… is a series offering campus and community audiences a diverse array of music, dance and theatre programming designed to enrich the cultural landscape of the Appalachian State University campus and surrounding area. By creating memorable performance experiences and related educational and outreach activities, the series promotes the power and excitement of the live performance experience; provides a “window on the world” through the artistry of nationally and internationally renowned artists; and showcases some of the finest artists of our nation and our region. Musical events range from symphony orchestra and chamber music performances to jazz, folk, traditional, international, and popular artists. Theatre productions run the gamut from serious drama to musical comedy. Dance performances offer an equally wide array of styles, from ballet to modern dance to international companies representing cultural traditions from around the world. For more information, visit http://theschaefercenter.org.



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