Event Archives

Artist-in-Residence: Rennie Harris


Rennie Harris, founder and artistic director of hip-hop dance company Rennie Harris Puremovement, chats with Thomas DeFrantz, chair of the Department of African and African American Studies at Duke and a professor of dance, in a conversation exploring Harris’ career and work, and the global influence of hip-hop dance and culture, moderated by Duke professor Mark Anthony Neal. Rennie Harris Puremovement performs on Friday, October 23 and Saturday, October 24 at Duke’s Reynolds Theater.


Rennie Harris is one of the great veterans of hip-hop dance, having broken down barriers between the vocabulary of the street and the vocabulary of the concert hall for nearly forty years. At the age of twelve he formed his first crew, and by the age of twenty-five he had shared the stage with many of hip-hop’s founders, including Run DMC, Sugarhill Gang, Salt ’n’ Pepa, and Kurtis Blow. He comes to Reynolds Theater with his company Rennie Harris Puremovement, repeat Bessie Award-winners whom The New York Times call “phenomenal” and “seemingly without a semblance of gravity.”

As hip-hop rose to the mainstream and splintered into factions, Harris evolved, breathing new life into popping, locking, breaking, and voguing. The New Yorker calls Harris “the most respected — and the most brilliant — hip-hop choreographer in America.” Puremovement’s program begins with the new four-movement work Nuttin’ but a Word, which, as Harris says, aims to “challenge the hip-hop puritans at every turn.” After intermission the company perform two Rennie Harris classics: Continuum and Students of the Asphalt Jungle.


Wednesday, October 21, 12 – 1 PM
John Hope Franklin Center, 2204 Erwin Road, Rm. 240, Durham (Directions)
Free & open to the public; a light lunch will be served and parking is available in nearby parking decks.
Presented in collaboration with the John Hope Franklin Center, the Department of African and African American Studies, and the Dance Program at Duke University.

Made possible, in part, by support from the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources; a Visiting Artist Grant from the Council for the Arts, Office of the Provost, Duke University; and support from the Dance Program at Duke University.

  • Wed, Oct 21, 2015 at 12:00pm