Rennie Harris' "Legends of Hip hop"

Rennie Harris’ “Legends of Hip Hop”
REDCAT at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, CA
November 3–7, 2004
Reviewed by Victoria Looseleaf


Rennie Harris wants the world to know about hip hop—that it’s not just street dance but also a culture, a way of life, with a history that’s longer than one might realize.

Wanting to spread the “h” word, Harris founded his Philadelphia-based troupe, Puremovement, in 1992. But during the last seven years the award-winning dancemaker has also toured with an all-star lineup in “The Legends of Hip Hop.” The high-voltage show features Harris as emcee, some cool ’70s film footage, and a zoomin’ roster of nearly two dozen dancers and musicians.

Although Harris doesn’t get down with dancin’, his crews do. Don Campbell, the eternally young godfather of locking, jammed with his signature funky robot moves. Elsewhere, Sugar Pop, Mr. Wiggles, Skeeter Rabbit, and Poppin’ Pete—the Electric Boogaloos—kicked it up a notch with their leader, Boogaloo Sam. Zoot-suit clad, they torched the stage with sliding legs, deft slo-mo popping, and classic split jumps (easily traceable to those iconic tappers, the Nicholas Brothers).

But the night belonged to the new generation, especially the megawatt B-Boy Crew—six dudes who ruled with armless flips (“floats”), adrenaline-fueled head-spinning, and leg-whipping midair drills, their unison noggin-twirling finale nothing short of mind-blowing.
Hip hop is also about the music. Three virtuoso DJs—Evil Tracy, Razor Ramon, and Swift—each on his own criblike platform, may have been deafening, but their vinyl scratchings were akin to Heifetz noodling on a Stradivarius—if the fiddler had also plunked out tunes using his back and butt.

Anointed S, another musical novelty, solo vamped with a microphone that had some audience members reaching for earplugs. Alternately sounding like 1,000 subways or a frog ribetting, a little of S’s sonic bling went a long way. So, too, did Tokyo City Lockers, a sextet decked out in baggy knickers with lamé cummerbunds and striped leggings. Their East-meets-West sensibility, with karate-inspired kicks accenting isolated body-part moves, proved more filler than phenom.

Although “Legends” isn’t the groundbreaker that Savion Glover’s tap extravaganza Bring in ’da Noise, Bring in ’da Funk (another African American show with a historical bent) was, Harris and pals deserve piles o’ props.

Editors’ List: The Goods

What's better on your morning commute than listening to a podcast, you ask? We'd say, listening to a dance podcast!

Lucky for us, there are more dance podcasts than ever. We're here to provide a guide to our current top dance podcast picks.

Keep reading... Show less
The USC Kaufman graduating class with Mikhail Baryshnikov. Gus Ruelas/USC

Just four years ago, the University of Southern California's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance welcomed its first class of BFA students. The program—which boasts world-class faculty and a revolutionary approach to training focused on collaboration and hybridity—immediately established itself as one of the country's most prestigious and most innovative.

Now, the first graduating class is entering the dance field. Here, six of the 33 graduates share what they're doing post-grad, what made their experience at USC Kaufman so meaningful and how it prepared them for their next steps:

Keep reading... Show less
The Creative Process
Rena Most at work backstage. Photo courtesy ABT

Every dancer knows there's as much magic taking place backstage as there is in what the audience sees onstage. Behind the scenes, it takes a village, says American Ballet Theatre's wig and makeup supervisor, Rena Most. With wig and makeup preparations happening in a studio of their own as the dancers rehearse, Most and her team work to make sure not a single detail is lost.

Dance Magazine recently spoke to Most to find out what actually goes into the hair and makeup looks audiences see on the ABT stage.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancers Trending
James Yoichi Moore and Noelani Pantastico warm up onstage. Angela Sterling, Courtesy SDC.

On a sunny July weekend, hundreds of Seattle-area dance fans converged on tiny Vashon Island, a bucolic enclave in Puget Sound about 20 miles from the city. They made the ferry trek to attend the debut performance of the fledgling Seattle Dance Collective.

SDC is not a run-of-the-mill contemporary dance company; it's the brainchild of two of Pacific Northwest Ballet's most respected principal dancers: James Yoichi Moore and Noelani Pantastico. The duo wanted to create a nimble organization to feature dancers and choreographers they felt needed more exposure in the Pacific Northwest.

Keep reading... Show less


Get Dance Magazine in your inbox