Rennie Harris PureMovement.The Joyce Theater New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of , New York May 13-18, 2003
Who could imagine that the next move on the cutting edge of concert dance would come from the hip-hop nation--and a Philadelphian? Rennie Harris PureMovement is the name, and hip-hop's his game. Harris's newest work, Facing Mekka, could be subtitled "Searchin' for My Soul," to borrow the title from Amel Larrieux's recent pop song. Throughout, PureMovement shows vital connections between hip-hop, African dance, and world music and religions.
On opening night, the exuberant audience broke out in spontaneous cheers as the six female dancers made their first entrance, with the inimitable Tania
1. Ready for marriage; of a marriageable age or condition. Used of young women.
2. Sexually mature and attractive. Used of young women. warriors, their arm thrusts, leaps, and subtle contractions bespoke power and ascendance--a refreshing divergence from MTV's reigning female image. Seven extraordinary men completed the dance contingent. Darrin M. Ross's soundscape--sometimes almost deafening--engulfed the spectator in a boundary-blurring score played and sung onstage by Grisha Coleman, Philip Hamilton, Kenny Muhammad, and Lenny Seidman and augmented by recorded sounds.
The intermission-less, ninety-minute work is seamlessly episodic. After the hard, fast dancing and multiple entrances and exits of the first "movement," an Afro-Cuban/Brazilian section followed. The splendidly capable Ron Wood and Duane Lee Holland Jr. performed a capoeira cap·o·ei·ra
An Afro-Brazilian dance form that incorporates self-defense maneuvers.
[Portuguese, from earlier *capon, capon, from Vulgar Latin phrase in half-time. DANCERS PROPELLED THEMSELVES ACROSS THE STAGE ON HANDS AND FEET IN A SLOW-MOTION RENDITION OF THE B-BOY FLOOR SPIN WHILE, LIKE A GHOSTLY AFTERTHOUGHT AND DRESSED IN THE LONG, BLACK COAT WORN BY SUFI DERVISHES, HARRIS CROSSED THE STATE PERFORMING HIS CELEBRATED LOCKING-POPPING MOVEMENTS.
Pulsing in rhythm to the music, the intentionally fuzzy projections by collagists John Abner and Theodore A. Harris and videographer A person involved in the production of video material. Videographers shoot the images with a video camera (analog or digital) and may perform minimal or extensive editing of the resulting footage. Tobin Rothlein were most effective in the opening. Later, the calm surface of a body of water flooded the backdrop, mirroring the female chorus who moved in ripples of consummate grace, control, and sensuality, free of vanity or stereotypes of women as sex objects.
Mekka's cross-cultural currents were exhilarating and dizzying: Muhammad intoning an Islamic prayer; Seidman chanting words from the Cabala cabala: see kabbalah.
Jewish oral traditions, originating with Moses. [Judaism: Benét, 154]
See : Mysticism ; Wood dancing like a shaman clearing the air, then playing the berimbau be·rim·bau
A musical instrument with a gourd resonator and a single steel wire stretched across a long pole or stick.
[Portuguese, from Kimbundu mbi-rimbau : mbi-, n. pref. (capoeira's one-stringed instrument) in duet with the tabla tabla
Pair of small drums, the principal percussion in Hindustani music of northern India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The higher-pitched daya, played with the right hand, is a roughly cylindrical one-skinned drum, usually wooden, normally tuned to the raga's tonic. ; Harris and Isaac inhabiting a black mesh floor-to-ceiling "cage" that occupied center stage for the final movements. Climactically, Isaac extricated ex·tri·cate
tr.v. ex·tri·cat·ed, ex·tri·cat·ing, ex·tri·cates
1. To release from an entanglement or difficulty; disengage.
2. Archaic To distinguish from something related. herself from the cage in an exquisite dance of liberation that, taken with Wood's performance, was one of Mekka's highlights. (Harris ultimately was trapped inside.)
This multimedia event conveys mixed messages, reaching beyond emotional narrative, cause and effect, joy or sorrow, black or white, or easy solutions. It's an odyssey in sound and movement, a search for spiritual self. The performers' focus was contemplative, almost meditative. Harris's Rome and Jewels evolved considerably after its premiere (see Reviews, DANCE MAGAZINE, September 2000, page 86). Certainly he'll edit, tighten, and strengthen Mekka. Even now, rough around the edges but all heart at the center, it's a winner.