Straight Outta Philly
featuring Rennie Harris Puremovement and Philadanco!
Two of Philadelphia’s most spectacular movement companies come together to communicate social and political ideas through hip-hop and contemporary dance in Straight Outta Philly.
“The evening had a wonderful flow,” writes a reviewer for The Philadelphia Tribune, “alternating between the hardcore, mind-blowing pace of the street dancers, to the controlled emotion and dynamic precision of the contemporary artists … . For the shared experience of the pure joy of dance, it doesn’t get any better than Philadanco and Rennie Harris Puremovement.”
Nuttin’ But a Word!!!, choreographed by Harris and performed by his company, takes its title from an African-American expression about someone’s words being hollow.
A Movement for Five, choreographed by Dawn Marie Bazemore and performed by Philadanco, was inspired by the case of five New York City boys wrongly accused of a serious crime.
A Day in the Life, created by Harris and performed by two male dancers, is excerpted from a suite of works suggested by the choreographer’s “personal abuse and my current and past state of consciousness politically, socially, and economically.”
Folded Prism, choreographed by Thang Dao, finds Philadanco evoking “a dreamlike state where the dancers seemed to move as flawless, pristine bodies,” observes a critic for The Dance Journal.
The companies unite for the finale, Philadelphia Experiment, choreographed by Harris and danced before a backdrop of images reflecting the history and energy of the City of Brotherly Love.
“Philadelphia Experiment offered both a celebration of Philadelphia’s culture and a defiant stand against its social shortcomings,” notes the Journal writer. “… With the supremely talented, highly trained contemporary dancers out of their theatrical garb and dancing side-by-side with RHPM’s hip-hop dancers, it was impossible not to compare and contrast,” writes the Tribune critic. “While the street dancers danced ‘down in the floor’ with total abandon, the contemporary dancers instinctively ‘pulled up’ and made it look pretty. It was an interesting juxtaposition, and watching them ‘battle’ was absolutely thrilling.”
Richard and Sally Kalin
This presentation is part of the Center for the Performing Arts Diversity and Inclusion Collaborative, which seeks to: immerse an array of people in the performing arts; educate the community about cultures and art forms different from the familiar; influence thinking so we become a community that embraces diversity and promotes inclusion; ensure the activities of the collaborative have a sustainable impact on the community. Funds from across Penn State and throughout the community support the initiative. The University’s Equal Opportunity Planning Committee provides lead funding. Sandra Zaremba and Richard Brown provide support.