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Rennie Harris

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NEWS
February 23, 2009 | By Merilyn Jackson FOR THE INQUIRER
Two sides of Rennie Harris showed up at Puremovement's show Friday and Saturday at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater - the lite and the dark. The show, which included a sneak peek at a developing piece and the premiere of 100 Naked Locks, opened with Something to Do With Love, Volume 1, the first of a soon-to-be-three-part dance first conceived in 2006. As with the hip-hop piece, 100 Naked Locks, which was presented here in progress two years ago, Harris often shows partially finished works that he tweaks along the way. For his fans, it's an appetizer for the next banquet.
NEWS
March 8, 1996 | by Renee Lucas Wayne, Daily News Staff Writer
Rennie Harris in motion is the antithesis of Rennie Harris at rest. At rest, the acclaimed 31-year-old hip-hop choreographer is a study in long, lean, smooth lines, content to be one with the chair. Even his hair is contained, shoulder-length dreads momentarily restrained by a knit skullcap pulled down low. Eyes closed, his head bobs to an unknown track emanating from headphones connected to an unseen tape player, some smooth groove with the power to transport him away from the reality of the cold, cluttered office where he waits.
NEWS
June 26, 2007 | By Lisa Kraus FOR THE INQUIRER
On the street, Rennie Harris went by the nickname Prince. Now, following a triumphant run at the Kimmel Center to celebrate his company Puremovement's 15th anniversary, he might just be crowned King. This North Philadelphia native is a master at transforming the turbulence and difficulty of our world and his own challenging past into world-class hip-hop spectacle. Facing Mekka, seen in its Philadelphia premiere on Friday, the final night of the company's three-show run, fuses movement and musical influences from around the globe with a flickering stream of video imagery that brings all of civilization and history on stage.
NEWS
April 23, 2012 | By Ellen Dunkel, FOR THE INQUIRER
Philadanco, by its very name — the Philadelphia Dance Company — embraces its hometown. And if ever there was a dance company to love back, it's this one. The dancers are sublime, the works accessible, and some of the best American choreographers regularly make new pieces for Danco to premiere for Philadelphia audiences. When the company tours the world — it was most recently in Macedonia — it's as an art ambassador from the City of Brotherly Love. The troupe opened Friday night at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater with a program called "The Philadelphia Connection.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 16, 2000 | By Elizabeth Zimmer, FOR THE INQUIRER
In a program note to Rome and Jewels, which had its world premiere Wednesday at the Wilma Theater, director-choreographer Rennie Harris declares: "I am tired of understanding everything I watch. " Harris and his local hip-hop troupe Puremovement have launched a remarkable project, not always easy to understand but accumulating force and power from its fusion of Shakespeare and African American cultural forms. Both street kids and scholars will find themselves laughing at familiar codes.
NEWS
August 16, 2005 | By Lisa Kraus FOR THE INQUIRER
What makes a great hip-hop dancer? Rennie Harris knows, and he's not keeping it a secret. At the end of a long day of dancing he tells his students: "Hip-hop dance is not about the moves, it's about the spirit. You're reaching for the next spiritual plane on the dance floor. " You know he means it because each time he erupts into movement, with dreadlocks flying and feet swiveling impossibly fast, he burns so bright you can't peel your eyes off him. Harris' class was one of a dozen on offer Aug. 8, the first day of the weeklong Illadelph Legends of Hip-Hop Festival.
LIVING
April 7, 1994 | By Deni Kasrel, FOR THE INQUIRER
At the Chester Valley Dance Academy near Exton, blond and light brown ponytails are bobbing to the crunching beat of Janet Jackson's "If. " Rennie Harris is teaching a class in "street funk" to about two dozen girls who are practicing a routine for their spring recital. "You gotta get your funky chicken outta here, girl," Harris playfully tells a student whose gestures are a bit gawky. "Get down like this. Plie," he says, stretching out his arms and bending his knees.
NEWS
May 15, 2002 | By Merilyn Jackson FOR THE INQUIRER
Raphael Xavier broke into Rennie Harris' hip-hop Puremovement dance company four years ago, when he came up to Philadelphia from his hometown of Wilmington. As Thibault in Harris' spoken and danced version of Romeo and Juliet, called Rome and Jewels, Xavier became a star in the currently touring, worldwide hit. Now he's breaking out on his own. Feeling that he has a lot to say, the 31-year-old Xavier has created the sound structure, choreography and story line for a full-length dance theater work about a shipwreck and the men who survive it - or don't.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 27, 1996 | By Miriam Seidel, FOR THE INQUIRER
In a sprawling, exhausting and exhilarating evening of dance, Rennie Harris affirmed his place at the forefront of Philadelphia choreographers. Harris and his PureMovement Ensemble blazed across the Painted Bride's stage Thursday night, opening the Bride's Five on the Black Hand Side Festival celebrating the African American male voice in the arts. Harris and his dancers are virtuosos of hip-hop, their skills honed in clubs more than modern-dance studios. But don't think of them as a kind of crossover phenomenon, diluting their work.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 10, 1997 | By Miriam Seidel, FOR THE INQUIRER
Don't try to pin down Rennie Harris. His latest, the current evening-length collaboration between his PureMovement ensemble and Grisha Coleman's HotMouth, a New York-based vocal group, shows Harris pushing his hip-hop-based idiom deeper into new artistic territory. Though presented at the Painted Bride as a series of separate pieces, the evening flows together dynamically, and particularly in its first half, feels like an integrated dance-theater work. A fugue of birdlike, African-inflected calls summons and accompanies the first bouncy duet, which opens up to the full, blended company of 14 doing a strong, stately two-step stomp.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
February 3, 2015 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
IF ONE WORD could describe the character of Doris Harris it's "selfless. " That was the first word that came to the mind of her daughter Takada when asked to describe her mother. "Selfless. " Doris seemed to spend much of her time in service to others. She had seven children of her own, but she believed that all the children in her North Philadelphia neighborhood were hers. She was determined to see to it that all the children in what was perceived as an "underserved" neighborhood had clothing.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 16, 2014 | By Merilyn Jackson, For The Inquirer
It is not a stretch to recognize the similarities between hip-hop dance and Japanese butoh . As Rennie Harris said after the local premiere of Flash on Friday at the Painted Bride, both are forms of crisis and contradiction and grew from mid-20th-century historical and social contexts. Each seeks a new aesthetic. Master practitioners Harris and Michael Sakamoto have been exploring their genres for years - the moves and motives of what they do as a way to reflect on who they are now. They achieve some insights into themselves, how they relate to each other, and how their art forms engage with, mirror, and change each other - and maybe us. They explore their psyches through recorded interior monologues, dialogues, the languages of their inventive movement, even lullabies.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 13, 2014 | By Monica Peters, For The Inquirer
Check out a dance theater duet as the worlds of hip-hop and butoh meet Friday and Saturday during Flash at Painted Bride Art Center. The performance features dancers Rennie Harris and Michael Sakamoto. In the interdisciplinary show the artists communicate through dance and find commonalities and shared cultural experiences between African American and Japanese cultures. The multimedia show takes the audience on a journey with doses of humor; it also has remakes of pop, funk and hip-hop songs from "back in the day. " "Flash" featuring Rennie Harris and Michael Sakamoto, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine St. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 day of show.
NEWS
October 24, 2014 | By A.D. Amorosi, For The Inquirer
Karl Jenkins - also known as hip-hot artist Dice Raw - is standing onstage at the Freedom Theatre as a whirlwind of activity goes on around him. Dancers and actors are to the left as choreographer Rennie Harris busies himself with legwork. Director Ozzie Jones is stage right, consulting writer Phillip S. Brown's script. As Dice Raw, Jenkins deals with this kind of maelstrom regularly. He's the rapping wingman for the Roots and holds down a solo career in hip-hop. But with the 2013 release of the album Jimmy's Back , Raw opened a powder keg of anti-prison rhetoric, one set to explode onstage Friday and Saturday at Freedom, when his performance art/hip-hop musical/dance presentation The Last Jimmy debuts at the North Philadelphia venue.
NEWS
April 20, 2014 | By Merilyn Jackson, For The Inquirer
To a packed house, Philadanco brought back Donald Byrd's 1995 BAMM at its spring offering at the Kimmel's Perelman Theater Thursday night. I first saw it in 2004 with the now-retired force of nature Odara Jabali-Nash as the center of its centrifugal force. This time, six dancers revolve around veteran company dancer Roxanne Lyst like numbers on a spinning clock. The missing hands of this no-tick-tock clock are Mio Morales' quick-pulsed percussive score, which ultimately hurls the dancers from the circle and into various patterns around the stage.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 4, 2013 | BY LAUREN McCUTCHEON, Daily News Staff Writer mccutch@phillynews.com, 215-854-5991
WHEN a scantily clad woman performs on a pole, you don't expect onlookers to get all emotional. You expect leers. Cheers. Even jeers. But tears? Not so much. Still, peepers moistened more than once on a recent Saturday in Manayunk, when a few dozen students at Awakenings Pole Fitness pulled off backbends, arabesques and other positively poetic dance moves - all while clinging to shiny brass posts. In the evening's first solo, a Rubenesque blonde lovingly dedicated her elegant aerial postures to her boyfriend, who sat in the front row. Later that night, advanced students from Awakening's King of Prussia studio swung around, upside down, to A Perfect Circle's deep, dark version of John Lennon's "Imagine.
NEWS
March 25, 2013 | By Nancy G. Heller, For The Inquirer
"A dynamic meditation on the journey from external division to internal oneness. " According to the news release, that was the theme of "ONE-Immortal Game," which received its world premiere by the Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers at Drexel University's Mandell Theater Friday night. It was also the focus of the evening's second work,   "Mandala Project. " Though such thematic relationships can be satisfying, repeating certain elements (like Tibetan chanting) in both pieces seemed unwise.
NEWS
January 27, 2013
Sunday Drawing room war Oscar Wilde's comedy An Ideal Husband is a frothy concoction of dinner parties, compromising letters, fraudulent land schemes, and blackmail in late Victorian London. But the froth covers more serious reflections on aristocratic hypocrisy and the battle of the sexes. The show goes on at 2 and 7 p.m. at the Walnut Street Theatre , 825 Walnut St., and continues on a Tuesday-through-Sunday schedule to March 3. Tickets are $10 to $85. Call 215-574-3550. Chamber music Conductor Michael Stern leads the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra in Bottesini's Double Bass Concerto No. 2 in B minor , with soloist Joseph Conyers , plus works by Prokofiev, Hugo Wolf, and Schubert, at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater, Broad and Spruce Streets, at 2:30 p.m. Sunday and 7:30 p.m. Monday.
NEWS
April 23, 2012 | By Ellen Dunkel, FOR THE INQUIRER
Philadanco, by its very name — the Philadelphia Dance Company — embraces its hometown. And if ever there was a dance company to love back, it's this one. The dancers are sublime, the works accessible, and some of the best American choreographers regularly make new pieces for Danco to premiere for Philadelphia audiences. When the company tours the world — it was most recently in Macedonia — it's as an art ambassador from the City of Brotherly Love. The troupe opened Friday night at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater with a program called "The Philadelphia Connection.
NEWS
April 8, 2012 | By Brian Schaefer, For The Inquirer
TEL AVIV - After coughing regularly for half an hour, Rennie Harris, artistic director/choreographer of Philadelphia-based hip-hop company Rennie Harris Puremovement, paused a hotel-lobby interview last month to order a cup of tea. "It's sandstorm season in Cairo, or something," he apologized. Harris had just finished the first leg of his company's frenetic March 9-to-April 6 DanceMotion USA tour of Egypt, Israel, and the Palestinian territories, during which he and his dynamic dancers taught, performed, loved the food, loved the people, and spread the hip-hop gospel: Be young, be free.
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