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 Post subject: Renee Harris Puremovement - Asphalt Jungle
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2003 12:42 pm 
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Location: London
Rennie Harris Puremovement's

Students of the Asphalt Jungle

Peacock Theatre

21 - 25 October at 7.30pm and Saturday matinee at 3pm

Tickets £10 - £25. Ticket Office 020 7863 8000 www.sadlerswells.com

Rennie Harris, who brought his acclaimed, fast-moving, hip-hop rap sensation Rome & Jewels to the Peacock Theatre last year, returns with Students of the Asphalt Jungle in October. His company of seven energetic dancers perform a mixed programme of work previously unseen in the UK. Rennie Harris Puremovement blends diverse African-American traditions with contemporary hip-hop to explore the ideas, politics and sentiments of a changing society. For its Peacock Theatre performances the company presents four diverse pieces.

Continuum (1997) is a dazzling whirl of movement, which appears to have no beginning or end, creating an illusion of infinite motion. P-Funk (1992) is dedicated to other dancers who have lost their way or been killed on the streets. Their spirits are funkdefied or resurrected in a stunning display of virtuoso movement. March of the Antmen (1992) draws on the tone and aura of original music created by Harris' friend Dru Minyard whose life and death inspired the piece. Students of the Asphalt Jungle (1992) is a vibrant affirmation of African-American heritage through creative improvisation and physical heroism.

Rennie Harris is one of the US's leading choreographers. At the forefront of the hip-hop movement, he is credited with elevating it from the streets to an artform in its own right. Brought up in an area of Philiadelphia known locally as the Badlands, Rennie starting dancing in his living room aged eight, copying moves he watched on Soul Train. Whilst his contemporaries were on the streets involved in gangs and guns, Rennie was on the streets dancing. In his early days as a dancer he toured with Run DMC, Fat Boys, Kurtis Blow and Whodini, before leaving the commercial sector to form Rennie Harris Puremovement in 1992. In 2000 the Philadelphia Weekly voted him one of the most influential people in Philadelphia in the last 100 years and he has been compared to choreographic greats Alvin Ailey and Bob Fosse. Rome & Jewels, his original and exhilarating take on Romeo and Juliet, won a Bessie award for choreography and was nominated for an Olivier Award.

What they say:

'...the dancing is superb, since Rennie Harris Puremovement is dedicated to rediscovering hip-hop dance in a serious way.' Daily Telegraph

'His performers are so compelling we'd follow them anywhere.' The Observer

'His company is loaded with kinetic talent.' The Times

PRESS NIGHT: Tuesday 21 October, 7.30pm

For further press information, or to arrange interviews please contact Angela Dias, Sadler's Wells Press Officer, 020 7863 8114 or angela.dias@sadlerswells.com or www.puremovement.net

Pictures: Registered publications can download images from EPO ISDN Bulletin Board. Photographs available digitally via EPO Online 020 7968 1560 e: info@epo-online.com





Rennie Harris UK Tour Schedule

20 October - 15 November 2003



20 - 25 October

Peacock Theatre, London

Tickets: 020 7863 8222

27 & 28 October

Birmingham Hippodrome

Tickets: 0870 730 1234

30 October - 1 November

The Lyric Theatre, Belfast

Tickets: 028 9027 2626

3 & 4 November

The Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield

Tickets: 0114 249 6000

6 - 8 November

Manchester Contact,

Tickets: 0161 274 4400

11 & 12 November

Brighton Dome

Tickets: 01273 709709

13 - 15 November

New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

Tickets: 01473 295900


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 Post subject: Re: Renee Harris Puremovement - Asphalt Jungle
PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2003 2:12 pm 
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Location: London
Just a reminder to people to get their tickets for Puremovement! I haven't seen this production but if Rome & Jewels is anything to go by...


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 Post subject: Re: Renee Harris Puremovement - Asphalt Jungle
PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2003 5:04 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 3129
Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Review from the Times.

Quote:
HIP hop has embedded itself so firmly in the popular consciousness that it’s easy to forget where it’s coming from. Not MTV and glossy adverts, Hollywood glitter and gangsta chic. Rennie Harris’s show roots hip hop in the urban ghettos of America, amid the racism, poverty and violence that afflict the African-American community. It’s about as unglamorous as you can get.
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 Post subject: Re: Renee Harris Puremovement - Asphalt Jungle
PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2003 12:39 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 3129
Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Review from The Guardian.

Quote:
From the moment Rennie Harris's eight male dancers enter the stage it is clear that hip-hop dancing is not one thing, it's many. The Philadelphia-based troupe splice B-boy backspins with speed-stepping, acrobatics with robotics, body-popping and locking with capoeira. There are even fleeting glimpses of lindyhop, jazz and, in one ironic dig, Michael Jackson. The whole mix is held together by superlative physical control, attitude and virtuosity. The opening and closing sections are showcases for the dancers' displays of physical daring: gyroscopic headspins, upside-down backbends, bouncing handsprings, and somersaults that twist cat-like in mid-air and land in the splits.
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 Post subject: Re: Renee Harris Puremovement - Asphalt Jungle
PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2003 11:55 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Rennie Harris
On londondance.com Rennie Harris airs his thoughts on his work and dance:

Age - 39 years of age
Born - US, Pennsylvania North Philadelphia

Marital Status Single with kids

Base East Coast (Philadelphia)

When did you first see or experience dance?
I don’t really know...

click for more


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 Post subject: Re: Renee Harris Puremovement - Asphalt Jungle
PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2003 2:03 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Review from The Independent.

Quote:
Philadelphia-born Lorenzo "Rennie" Harris is a more obvious kind of message bearer. Through his shows based on the hip-hop moves he learnt in the Philly badlands as a boy, he hopes to promote cross-cultural understanding
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 Post subject: Re: Renee Harris Puremovement - Asphalt Jungle
PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2003 5:20 am 
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Posts: 107
Location: London, England
Rennie Harris Puremovement
Students of the Asphalt Jungle
Brighton Dome, 11/12 November 2003

Breakdance and ballet, they’re not that different really. They both evolved from social dance. They’re both languages based on a repertoire of specific, stylised moves. They both encourage dancers to express their personalities or characters. They both prize prime physical fitness. And they’re both about showing off. Whether it’s 32 fouettés or a 20-second headspin, we all know when to applaud.

There’s plenty of applause for Rennie Harris’ seven-strong company of fine dancers. There are whoops and cheers and a real feeling of celebration among the audience and on stage.

Celebrating hip hop culture and celebrating diversity are two of Puremovement’s aims. Here is a collection of expert movers who all arrived on stage via a different path. Some trained in dance or performing arts, others just danced in the streets and clubs, perfecting their popping, stepping, locking, house and b-boy moves (they don’t actually use the term breakdance).

But Puremovement aren’t just about pure movement at all. They’re not afraid to confront some ugly issues. Harris is on a mission to examine his culture (that of the African American male), to preserve it’s history and to educate the wider world. Sounds like a tall order for a bunch of guys just throwing some moves.

The b-boy is a familiar figure in popular culture. Hip hop music and style are massive in the UK, but what we see most often is the commercial side, obsessed with money, glamour and violence. This programme fleshes out the picture, spanning the feelgood roots of the block party and the expressive possibilities of dance theatre. From playful dance-offs to dark stories of abuse, racism and murder. Harris delivers monologues like a seasoned performance poet, ranting about brands, money, race, war, power and politics, throwing in snatches of Billie Holiday and Marvin Gaye for added impact.

There’s a healthy mix of a freestyle feel and choreographed movement (in Continuum and P-Funk) combined with more atmospheric, probing pieces (Endangered Species, March of the Antmen) but this doesn’t always hang together. Across the evening, the change of pace between the showy and the serious is jarring, and the political stuff feels a bit heavy handed. But why should they just give us what we expect?

Puremovement are always ready to deflect preconceptions. They don’t even dance to hip hop. The athletic finale and title piece, Students of the Asphalt Jungle, is pumped up by samba drums and house music – I guess because it’s faster than hip hop and therefore easier to raise the temperature. The moves are less predictable too and very gymnastic.

Jaws drop at the dancers’ amazing control. One balances in a handstand then tips his body over until his legs are parallel to the floor. He holds absolutely still before raising himself back to the vertical. Now that’s impressive. There are somersaults, flips, backspins, guys hopping on their hands, on one hand even, and crazy legs flying in every direction.

They still use the tradition form where each dancer takes a turn in the circle, trying to get one up on the last. And there’s a final, knowing entrance, when one dancer comes on and takes centre stage, points to his head and gives us what we’ve all been waiting for, a sense-defying headspin, complete with ultraviolet FX.

Puremovement know that their dance is much more than clever tricks, but they’d hate to leave an audience unfulfilled.


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