Dance Appreciation (Online)
27 April 2011
The Impact of Rennie Harris
When one imagines the dance style of Hip-Hop, what most likely comes to mind is either a group of young men and women gathered in an alley, forming a circle and watching someone move their body to the beats of fast spoken rap lyrics, or one might envision the scenes of a 50 Cent music video with young women shaking their derrière in the camera. Rennie Harris, known by many as the ambassador of hip-hop community brings something very different to the table. Rennie Harris is more than a hip-hop artist. He is the interpreter of hip-hop as a cultural ritual, one that celebrates his community’s core values and heritage, and invokes its innate spirit, says scholar and dance critic Suzanne Carbonneau. In 1992 Harris founded Rennie Harris Puremovement, in his hometown of Philadelphia. Harris uses his style, referred to on RHPM’s website as“hip-hop dance theatre,” to be an activist in the community and promote dance, particularly hip-hop, to all ethnicities as an outlet for human expression, attempting to cleanse the genre of its stigma in todays society.
One thing that is truly impressive of Harris’ work is that he has created, perfected, and maintained a style, that continues to rise above the negative stereotype hip-hop is sometimes painted with in the media. In doing this he is maintaining the sophistication of the art of dance. As mentioned on his organization’s website,
In a society where hip-hop is often portrayed as a violent, undisciplined counterculture, RHPM deconstructs popular perception of this medium, expanding and challenging the boundaries and definitions of hip-hop in general. As hip-hop continues to be chosen as the modern generation’s medium of expression, RHPM works to honor its history, explore its ideas, and further its contributions to the surrounding community. (RHPM.org) The notion that this art form is being preserved...