Philly Hip-Hop Dance Festival Gets a Miami Makeover

It's time to get serious about locking, popping, hip hop, house, and b-boy/b-girl moves at the 2011 Illadelph Legends Hip Hop Festival, from this Sunday to August 7. Founded by hip-hop choreography star Rennie Harris, this festival has been taking place for a dozen years in his hometown of Philadelphia. This year, for the first time, it moves to South Florida, to two spanking new locations at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center and Miami Light Project. The festival includes workshops, demonstrations, open jam sessions, and panel discussions, from some of the biggest leaders and originators in hip-hop dance. The emphasis is on reaching out to a young generation, and on highlighting the African-American and Latino roots of the genre.

For its Miami inaugural, the festival has invited performers who live or have lived in area, says executive director of Rennie Harris Puremovement, Jeri Rayon. Performers include Joel "Teknyc" Martinez, Teo Castellanos, Teresa Barcelo, and Rubi Golben.

So, why Miami?

"In 2003 Miami Light hosted an International Hip Hop Exchange, where

Rennie performed and it was phenomenal," recalls Rayon. Later that same

year Rennie Harris Puremovement also performed, "where we experienced an

amazing reception and met so many unique artists. As result, we became

really interested in Miami 's hip-hop platform."

Illadelph Legends Miami is an opportunity to incorporate the historical

components of South Florida. "I think a lot of people are aware that

Miami is heavy with bboys and bgirls, but the house dance movement is

live and the hip-hop theater movement is phenomenal."

The long relationship with Miami Light was also a draw, which is why the

Art of Hip Hop panels will be held at the space in the Goldman

Warehouse during the festival. The South Miami-Dade center was picked as

a venue because it is new and just developing a base.

Harris and Rayon

make a point of visiting such newcomers, "as every space has a different

audience that has its own unique character" that they could be part of

forging." Miami is the new frontier. "For every Miami's artists names we know,

there are dozens we don't know that are perfecting their craft. If

anything, it would be great to work through their journeys with them,

now that Miami's performing arts arena is being widened."

Not that the Rennie Harris companies (RHAW, the second company,

performed at the Arsht Center last winter) will be foregoing Philly.

"Philadelphia will always be our home base, but Rennie has begun to see

Miami as our branch. We are not sure where we are going as of yet, but

what we do know if that we look forward to sharing the tapestry of

Miami's hip-hop theater."

Illadelph Legends Hip Hop Festival runs from July 31 to August 7 at the

South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, 10950 S.W. 211th St, Cutler Bay,

and Miami Light Project, 404 NW 26th St., Miami. It takes place from

9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily; for registration (day passes cost $100),

location, and specific events, contact Illadelph@rhpm.org;


The Art of Hip Hop reception hosted by Miami Light, featuring Tweety, Hot Red, Rudi Goblen, Zulu Gremlin, Rennie Harris, Teknyc, Teo Castallanos, Teresa Barcelo, and Soul Nation, starts at 6:30 p.m. on August 2 at the Light Box at the Goldman Warehouse; free, but rsvp required, illUnit@rhpm.org.

-- Anne Tschida, artburstmiami.com

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