"Structure's a guideline; it shouldn't control every thing. Making work, the only thing that's real is what's happening now. I have few laws: (1) you remember everything that's good; if I don't remember it, and especially if the dancers don't, it wasn't that dope; (2) don't force anything. If I'm just making people do the same shit over and over that means that I can't see the next step, and it's time to change the space, do something else; (3) learn the rhythm first, the choreography last. As long as there's a pulse the body will respond, and if the body knows it, you always will. Stay away from the urge to count; the rhythm is a feeling, a quality, it moves you."

Rennie Harris walks the tightrope between what he calls the "truth of hip-hop" and the "formality of the theater stage." A self-taught dancer who performed under the tag "Prince of the Ghetto," and opened for both Grandmaster Flash and Run DMC, Harris, versed in the hip-hop styles of Stepping, Poppin, Boogaloo, B-boy, Campbell Locking, Hip-Hop and House, moved from the tradition of hip-hop to choreographing it as a concert dance form. His early solos wove gestures of psychic fragmentation with autobiographical text. In his group works, he draws on what he terms "the tension of individuality" and multiple vocabularies from the African diaspora. In Rome and Jewels, iambic pentameter meets the rhyming syncopation of street slang. His newest piece, Facing Mekka, contains dances for women as a counterweight to the machismo of the hip-hop world

Born 1964, Philadelphia, PA
Lives in Philadelphia, PA
1982 West Catholic High School for Boys
1991-92 Founded Rennie Harris Pure Movement Dance Company

2003 Facing Mekka, an evening length spiritual journey. Funded by Dance Advance, a program of the PEW Charitable Trusts
2001 CHUB, produced by Dance Umbrella. A continuation of Jazz, Tap, Hip-Hop, the festival traveled to Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and the Spoleto Festival in Italy
2001 Legends of Hip-Hop~Honoring the Source, a celebration of hip-hop dance's innovators, creators and pioneers. Touring company premiered at Colorado Dance Festival
2000 Rome & Jewels, an evening length hip-hop opera. Funded by National Dance Project, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts. Premiered Wilma Theater, Philadelphia. Continues to tour world-wide
1998 Jazz, Tap, Hip-Hop, produced by Dance Umbrella, collaboration with tap artist Herbin Van Cayseele. Premiered at Jacob's Pillow, Lee, MA and had a subsequent New England tour
1997 March of the Antmen, inspired by the life and death of Dru Minyard. Premiered at the Painted Bride Arts Center, Philadelphia, PA
1997 Surrender, commissioned by dancers of Pennsylvania Ballet for "Shut Up and Dance!" Premiered at Forrest Theater, Philadelphia, PA
1997 Hip-Hop and Holler!, commissioned by Philadelphia Dance Projects, collaboration with Grisha Coleman. Premiered at the Painted Bride Arts Center, Philadelphia, PA and Aaron Davis Hall, NYC
1996 John Coltrane Project Commission, collaboration with Rennie Harris Puremovement dancers and Positively to the Point dancers. Premiered at Annenberg Center, Philadelphia, PA
1995 Lorenzo's Oil, commissioned by Philadelphia Museum of Art, collaboration with Antonio Guerra. Premiered at "John Cage: Rolywholyover A Circus," Philadelphia, PA
1995 Fallen Crumbs from the Cake, commissioned by Pennsylvania Prison Society. Premiered at Holmesburg Prison, Philadelphia, PA
1995 Students of the Asphalt Jungle, commissioned by Chuck Davis' DanceAfrica America. Premiered at Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY
1994 State of Mind II, commissioned by Ivrim Festival, collaboration with Myra Bazell. Premiered at Painted Bride Art Center, Philadelphia, PA
1993 P-Funk, a work dedicated to other dancers who have lost their way or been slain on the streets. Premiered at Annenberg Center, Philadelphia, PA
1992 Endangered Species, commissioned by "Mime Now." Premiered at Movement Theater International, Philadelphia, PA

2002 Laurence Olivier Award Nominee
2001 Bessie Award for Choreography, Rome & Jewels
2001 Black Theater Alvin Ailey Award (Chicago)
2000 Voted one of "100 Most Influential Philadelphians in last 100 years," Philadelphia Weekly
1999,97 Dance Advance Grant, PEW Charitable Trusts
1996 PEW Fellowship in the Arts for Choreography
1996 City of Philadelphia Cultural Fund Grant
1995 Philadelphia Repertory Development Initiative Grant
1994 Susan Hess Choreographer's Project
1993 Winner, New Mime Festival, Movement Theater International, Philadelphia, PA
1992 Philadelphia Repertory Development Initiative Grant