In Her Shoes: Dancer Rena Butler Breathes Passion And Personality Into Every Step

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Rena Butler, Dancer/Artistic Collaborator for Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion

In her senior year at SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance, Rena asked Amber Lee Parker (who formerly danced for Kyle Abraham) to choreograph her senior repertory solo. Amber showed Rena some choreography from Abraham’s Bessie Award-winning piece, The Radio Show. Who happened to be in the studio watching? The man — the legend — himself. A week later, Kyle asked Rena to come to rehearsal; their relationship grew, and Rena is now in her second year with his acclaimed troupe, Abraham.In.Motion.

Hands down, best professional advice you ever got:
“Show yourself. If you are a beast, be a beast. If you’re a mouse, you’ll be a mouse.”

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What's your favorite thing to wear to work?
“Anything sporty that can wick sweat away. Woo!”

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What skill or habit do you think is vital for success?
“Laying low to conserve the energy, because when you’re ready to step up, your strengths are already there.”

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What moments on the job do you find most rewarding?
“Those totally unexpected moments of connectivity: being on stage in a moment with your partner, and then realizing that your partner is your mother, a boyfriend, or someone directly connected to your life. The fact that the physicality and content of the work can bring you deeper into yourself is just extraordinary to me. The opportunity to tap into something deeper that you never knew was there—that’s where it’s at.”

Photographed by Sunny Shokrae


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