First there was Charles “Teenie” Harris, who singularly documented Pittsburgh’s Hill District through a multitude of photographs from ©1935 to ©1975, a documentation of African American life that cannot be found anywhere else. Then came August Wilson from 1982 until his death in 2005 with a collection of ten award-winning plays, nine of which brought the Hill District to life from the 1900’s to the 1990s. He was awarded two Pulitzers.
Now a Pittsburgh trifecta is complete, from photography to writing and now dance. Native Kyle Abraham has been given the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Award and is carrying on that unparalleled tradition of city-specific art. Memories of Pittsburgh, particularly the East End, permeate his works. Yet they stand on their own because he has folded street dance into concert art without losing his singular take on the emotional core of human interaction.
Click on MacArthur for his interview and bio.
We can also lay claim to choreographers Martha Graham and Paul
Taylor, who went on to embrace the world. Hopefully we can keep the Kyle connection and show him the love he deserves now.
One thing is for certain — no other American city has been depicted and will continue to live on in quite the same fashion.