On the Rise: Dinita Clark Brings Lush But Gritty Attack to Rennie Harris's Movement

July 31, 2014

Dinita Clark holds nothing back in her work with Rennie Harris Puremovement. She’s fast, with a knife-edged clarity in her shapes. The slippery bounce in Harris’ house moves keeps her skittering along the floor. But you also see her modern dance training when a move sequences lushly through her body from her head to her toes.

Growing up, Clark, 31, had always done hip hop socially. The Philadelphia native trained in Horton technique, ballet and jazz in high school. While earning her BFA at The University of the Arts, she learned locking, popping and house from Moncell Durden, Steffan “Mr. Wiggles” Clemente, Terry Wright and others, building a rich repertoire of styles.

At a 2002 Philadanco summer intensive, she met Philadelphia choreographer Rennie Harris. A few years later, she joined his company. “She’s able to master or translate what I’m attempting to communicate physically,” he says. “That’s rare for choreographers—to find that dancer who embodies your thought.”

Whether freestyling in Harris’ work or at a dance club, Clark lets the music steer her emotionally and spiritually. Even in competitions, she and her husband, RHPM rehearsal director Kyle Clark, go in without a plan. “There’s beauty in not knowing what’s going to happen,” she says. That strategy has won them multiple honors, including this year’s top spot in the House 2×2 battle at Montreal’s Bust A Move festival.

Wherever she dances, she’s a magnetic presence, earning the handle “Princess Di” among her hip-hop peers. As Harris says, “Her worst show is going to be amazing.”