Choreographer and hip-hop ambassador Rennie Harris stages real-life situations drawn from his reality growing up in North Philadelphia in the Rennie Harris Awe-inspiring Works company (RHAW). His mission: To spread peace and love, while "challenging realities through my work," he writes in RHAW's program. "This is my small but necessary contribution to the world at large."
As well as RHAW -- founded in 2007 -- Harris directs Rennie Harris Puremovement (RHPM), founded in 1992. RHAW will be performing at the Carnival Studio
Theater from February 10-13.
Harris's first loyalty is to education. RHAW developed as a training
company to meet an overwhelming interest from teens and young adults who
wished to be part of RHPM. The younger group provides master classes
and lecture-demonstrations in schools and for the general public in
addition to their concert performances. Both Philadelphia-based
companies primarily perform the work of Harris,
its artistic director, but RHAW receives additional guidance from Rodney Hill, their company
RHAW dancers rehearse during evenings -- some are
simultaneously in college, others are working -- and tour all over the
country. "Everybody in Rennie Harris/RHAW is very young, so they're
highly energetic," Hill says. "All of them have a raw look to them, from
their costumes to the way they dance." The works are carefully
choreographed, however, and the dancers are accomplished. RHAW has
visited the prestigious Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival and performed in
Philadelphia's Kimmel Center. Check out a video of Rennie Harris' Puremovement below:
Ten pieces, many of them short,
comprise RHAW's Miami engagement. Musical contributions include Michael
Jackson, Mandrill, and the mixings of DJ Lee. "Bohemian Rhapsody," a
work set to Queen, tells the story of a young person caught up in a
tragic situation. "Peace and Love" addresses fighting within intimate
relationships and bullies at school, but ultimately expresses Harris's
purpose in performing: "Bringing our love back to the community."
Rennnie Harris Awe-inspiring Work will be at the Carnival Studio
Theater at the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts (1300 Biscayne
Blvd., Miami), Feb. 10 through 12, at 8 p.m.; Feb. 13 at 2 and 7 p.m.
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Tickets cost $40 and $45. Call 305-949-6722 or visit arshtcenter.org.
-- Emily Hite, arburstmiami.com