Rennie Harris

(28 January 1964)

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Puremovement
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Performance-of-Facing-Mekka
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Lorenzo (Rennie) Harris was born and raised in an African-American community in North Philadelphia. Since the age of 15, Harris has been teaching workshops and classes at universities around the country and is a powerful spokesperson for the significance of “street” origins in any dance style.  In 1992 Harris founded Rennie Harris Puremovement, a hip-hop dance company dedicated to preserving and disseminating hip-hop culture through workshops, classes, hip-hop history lecture demonstrations, long term residencies, mentoring programs and public performances. 

Harris founded his company based on the belief that hip-hop is the most important original expression of a new generation. With its roots in the inner-city African-American and Latino communities, hip-hop can be characterized as a contemporary indigenous form, one that expresses universal themes that extend beyond racial, religious, and economic boundaries, and one that (because of its pan-racial and transnational popularity) can help bridge these divisions. Harris’ work encompasses the diverse and rich African-American traditions of the past, while simultaneously presenting the voice of a new generation through its ever-evolving interpretations of dance. Harris is committed to providing audiences with a sincere view of the essence and spirit of hip-hop rather than the commercially exploited stereotypes portrayed by the media.

Harris’ artistic philosophy reflects a deeper humanitarian vision that we as a universe of people can never overcome racial or ethnic barriers without knowing and respecting our own distinct cultures.  Harris grew up entrenched in hip hop as an African-American and Latino art form, in all its forms — music, dance and language. Harris has embraced the culture and sought to honor the legacy of hip hop. He truly believes that hip hop is the purest form of movement in that it honors both its heritage from African and African American-Latino forms, and honors the individual.