BWW Review: Going to the Roots of Hip Hop with RENNIE HARRIS PUREMOVEMENT

BWW Review: Going to the Roots of Hip Hop with RENNIE HARRIS PUREMOVEMENT

BWW Review: Going to the Roots of Hip Hop with RENNIE HARRIS PUREMOVEMENT

Friday, June 1, 2018 kicked off Rennie Harris Puremovement's New York engagement and return to the New Victory Theater, right in the heart of Times Square. The program featured the world premiere of the company's evening length piece: Rennie Harris: Funkedified in a multi-media work highlighting a variety of street dance styles such as Campbell locking, popping, waving, breaking, and social dances from the 1970s in collaboration with the internationally-acclaimed Hood Lockers.

The dance is set to a digital landscape of African American communities in the 1970s and the political turmoil and atmosphere of his childhood growing up in Philadelphia, PA. Here, Dr. Harris pays homage to the roots of hip hop in a celebration of funk music and street dance. The stage also featured a live funk band playing music of legends such as James Brown, George Clinton, and Dennis Coffrey.

This dance was a lot of fun! It was filled with so much high energy it made you want to get up on stage and dance along. The dancers of Rennie Harris Puremovement are very talented. The breaking was so cool with their fancy footwork on the floor and spins on their heads. The poppers were just amazing. The way they can make their bodies move with such accuracy and explosion is remarkable. Not to mention the fierce vogue moves that were performed as well. The Hood Lockers were absolutely jaw-dropping! I personally appreciated their outfits because they were historically true to what was worn in the 70s.

I want to say thank you to Dr. Harris for his work and dedication to elevating the value of the street dance culture, but also for reminding us of the roots of hip hop. Today, with the help of social media, we often focus our attention on the here and now, and forget how we got here. This was a great reminder of the history and foundation of hip hop dance and modern culture.

Rennie Harris Puremovement is a dance company that is dedicated to preserving and sharing the street dance culture that was founded and currently directed by Lorenzo "Rennie" Harris Ph.D.. The company was created on the belief that hip hop is one of the most important original forms of expression in the United States for the new generation. Since the age of 15, Dr. Harris has been teaching and advocating about the significance of street dance, which has often been characterized as a contemporary American indigenous form that expresses universal themes bridging man-made divides.

Rennie Harris Funkedified will continue its run at the New Victory Theater now through June 10th located at 209 West 42nd Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues). For tickets and more information, please visit the New Victory Theater's website at office or call the box office at 646-223-3010. You definitely won't want to miss it!

Photo Credit: Brian Mengini


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Caryn Cooper Caryn Cooper is an arts administrator, educator and performer from Long Island, NY. She began her dance training at a young age studying ballet in the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) technique and other dance forms such as tap, jazz, hip hop, modern and West African. She has had the opportunity to perform at various venues in the Greater New York City Area including, Radio City Music Hall, Tilles Center for the Performing Arts, the 92Y, Ailey CitiGroup Theater, Central Park, and The Wild Project. Administratively, she has worked for a number of arts organizations including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ballet Hispanico, and the New York City Center. Currently at Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts, she works to plan arts education programs for schools and seniors in underserved communities throughout Queens and the New York City Metropolitan area. Caryn is currently a Moving for Life Certified Instructor (MFLCI) where she uses dance to help breast cancer recovery patients and those dealing with pain caused by chronic illnesses. She is currently pursuing a certification as a BodyMind Dancing (BMD) Instructor, under the direction of Dr. Martha Eddy, to guide students as they reflect and learn about the 3-dimenionality and repatterning of the body. Caryn is a member of Americans for the Arts, the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO), the New York State Dance Education Association (NYSDEA), and sits on the Young Professionals Committee of The Possibility Project and the Board of Trustees for Moving for Life, Inc. She is also a Contributing writer for BroadwayWorld Dance. She is the proud recipient of the 2016 Field Diversity Award and the 2017 Jessica Wilt Memorial Scholarship through the Americans for the Arts.