Rennie Harris PureMovement | Dance Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Rennie Harris PureMovement 

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Rennie Harris PureMovement

It's easy to think of Rennie Harris, a young hip-hop artist from Philadelphia, as a new sort of teacher, a straightforward ambassador from the ghetto--especially now that he's performing in the rarified confines of a Chicago museum. But though his style is up-to-the-minute, the idea of taking movement out of the ghetto and onto the concert stage is not: it's been going on at least since Eleo Pomare impersonated a junkie in the 60s. What Harris has to offer white culture is more than a didactic, voyeuristic peek at the dusty cliches of inner-city life: dance can give us a unique insight into other cultures that goes beyond sociology and anthropology to embrace the ambiguities and mysterious intersections academic analysis can't plumb. Harris's cool, streetwise moves offer a glimpse into a vibrant, contradictory, living culture that mainstream white culture will never be able to get inside except through intuition and gut empathy. Maybe. Anyway, it's worth a try. And Harris and his dancers are just plain fascinating to watch, with their individual interpretations of the lockstep motions of street dance. Rennie Harris PureMovement wowed the crowd at DanceAfrica two years ago; I can't wait to see how they've evolved since. Thursday, February 26, through Saturday at 8, and Sunday at 3 in the theater of the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago; $12-$15. Call 312-397-4010 for tickets and information. --Laura Molzahn

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Bob Emmott.

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