Kyle Abraham’s AIM, “Our Indigo: If We Were A Love Song.” PHOTO: Christopher Duggan

When famed choreographer Kyle Abraham traveled to Boston with his company, AIM (for Abraham in Motion) by Kyle Abrahamin November 2012, he and his dancers performed the Boston premiere of “The Radio Show” at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, an evening-long work spanning a wide range of musical veins.

Last weekend, AIM returned to the AIT/Boston with choreographed works on a narrower band of music – introspective ballads.

BeAhead of the first performance on Friday night, John Andress, ICA/Boston’s Performing Arts Curator, announced a COVID-induced pivot: Because a dancer tested positive, the program’s third work didn’t could not be played. In his place, he would host an onstage conversation with Abraham, a workaround that was met with enthusiastic applause.

Opening the program was a 2011 work, “The Quiet Dance,” performed to a recording by pianist Bill Evans playing his arrangement of Leonard Bernstein’s “Some Other Time” from Bernstein’s musical “On the Town.” in 1944. Abraham’s choreography finds melancholic vein in the ballad, a farewell song as three sailors leave their new romantic partners to ship.

Choreographer Kyle Abraham in a post-performance conversation with John Andress and audience members. PHOTO: Susan Saccoccia

Dan Scully’s emergency lighting and Kristi Wood’s simple, fitted costumes emphasized the lyrical syncopation of legs, arms and torso. The work began in silence, on a dark stage. Then soloist Catherine Kirk appeared, sleek and elongated, and showcased a vocabulary of fluid fraying and fraying movements echoed by four dancers who joined her – Tamisha A. Guy, Keerati Jinakunwiphat, Claude “CJ” Johnson and Donovan Reed . Punctuating the flowing, modernist momentum with deep, angular curves and nurturing gestures such as cradling a baby and stroking, the dancers delivered a haunting and healing performance.

Almost twice as long at 26 minutes, 2021’s work “Our Indigo: If We Were a Love Song”, came next. This sequence of six solos, duets and trios was choreographed by Abraham and company to rhythmic selections from Nina Simone’s songbook. The dark, form-fitting costumes of Abraham and Karen Young highlighted the sculpted bodies of the dancers.

In the fabulous opening segment, the seven-member ensemble formed a slow hhuman knot to Simone’s rendition of the traditional folk song, “Black is my true love’s hair color”. Jae Neal followed with an intense solo on Simone’s melancholic “Keeper of the Flame”.

Defying the defeatist lyrics of the Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart ballad “Little Girl Blue” with her stunning solo over Simone’s undulating chords, Gianna Theodore rose from the floor using only her hands, performing arcs, twists, backbends and spins inspired by breakdance. but beyond. Her fearless precision was a triumphant counterpoint to this portrait of an abandoned woman.

Mirroring each other in their duet for “Don’t Explain,” Neal and Reed created suave dance drama with a choppy, jerky exit that acknowledged the pain.

With its tempo of quick spins and breaks, Jinakunwiphat’s solo on “Wild Is the Wind” evoked fury as a force of nature. Kirk delivered a dark solo to Simone’s a cappella setting of “No Images”, a poem by Harlem Renaissance writer William Waring Cuney with the refrain “she thinks her brown body has no glory”.