By Brittany Worthington, Marketing Student Assistant
Jeremy “Jae” Neal, accomplished dancer and member of the Abraham.In.Motion. dance company (A.I.M.), arrives in Austin this September to take the stage in Live! The Realest MC. Neal is excited to return to Austin, where he previously performed at SXSW. “It’s my favorite city in Texas! I have a little more time there this visit, so I’m looking forward to seeing more of what’s out there.”
After earning a degree in dance at Western Michigan University, Neal moved to New York City and has spent the last seven years with A.I.M. He will perform the lead role in Live! The Realest MC, originated by Abraham.In.Motion’s Artistic Director and Founder, Kyle Abraham.
While Neal has performed the role in workshops and smaller showcases, this will be the first time he has taken the lead in front of a large-scale audience. “There’s definitely some anxiety of responsibility, but also excitement,” said Neal. The program, Live! The Realest MC, is the company’s unique, urban spin on the story of Pinocchio plight to become a real boy. “[Live! is] about what it means to be a real man in an urban environment. Specifically a gay, black man,” said Neal.
For Neal, the performing arts is “literally a stage where we can question things that might be too difficult to talk about in everyday conversations.” The company’s programs often center around social and political issues dealing with race, gender, and identity. Neal credits Abraham for elegantly weaving personal stories and political issues into the company’s performance narratives that connect with audiences, allowing the dancers to “challenge, question, and push” their boundaries and beliefs.
While the dancers incorporate a variety of modern and post-modern movements, the performances are deeply “rooted in human movements” said Neal, which helps audiences to recognize, identify, and relate to this physical mode of storytelling. For audience members who are new to dance, Neal encourages them to “come with openness.” Dance is just as much about the emotional and mental as it is about the physical, and it’s the emotion translated through the dancer’s bodies that leaves its impression upon audiences, transporting them out of their seats and into the story.
Live! The Realest MC
Friday, Sep 29, 8 pm
Saturday, Sep 30, 1 pm