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Rennie Harris Funkedified Brings The 70s and Funk to Ford Theatre in Hollywood for a Night of Dance and a Poppin’ Night Out
By Saybin Roberson, Contributing Writer
Published July 12, 2019

Rennie Harris (Courtesy Photo)

Rennie Harris Funkedified is a throwback to a simpler time, street dance meets funk, the original hip-hop dance style reincarnated. Showing July 20, 2019, at Ford Theatres in Hollywood, Rennie Harris Funkedified is sure to get you in the dancing spirit!

Conceptualized and choreographed by Rennie Harris himself, the self-taught street dancer will take you down memory lane as he recollects his childhood in North Philly and the rise of funk music in the 70s.

Beginning as a workshop in Washington, D.C. two years ago, Rennie Harris Funkedified grew into a full-fledged show premiering in New York at New Victory Theater, complete with funky sounds from James Brown, George Clinton, and Roger.

“The idea was based on me growing up in the era of funk,” Harris states of the inspiration of the behind the show. Noting that the dance style popping, breaking, and locking in which he has perfected, is true funk. Explaining, “with Rennie Harris Funkedified, I’m basically using the movement that was popular in the 70s.”

To contextualize, Harris explains the difference between funk and hip-hop dance, the era and utensils used to create the sound of music such as the 808 drum machine that truly separated the two genres. In the 70s, rap lyrics were placed on top of funk beats, and street dancing as Harris knows to be true, is that of funk. To the blind eye, it is hard to see the difference between the two, however, Harris focuses on the message, rather the delivery to seal the deal each time.

Rennie Harris Funkedified Dancers Marcus Tucker (Left), Andrew Ramsey (Top), Joshua Culbreath (Bottom), Richard Evans Jr (Right) shot by Brian Mangini

The message goes back to Harris’s narrative. “I’m talking about me growing up in the era of funk and how that affected me; you hear my voice talking,” he says. The use of voice will help tell a story of the neighborhood and the world during his youth.

“In the African American and Latino community, Brown and Black folk, it’s [dance] a part of culture so it’s really no beginning and when you start,” he says when asked how long he’s been dancing. As a professional dancer, his career began at 14 years old opening up for rappers with his dance group. Going on his first tour in 1983 that went across the country and beginning his career in choreography in 1991.

Harris has gone on to make major moves in his career, opening his own company Rennie Harris Puremovement based in Philadelphia, internationally known for bringing street dance to the theater 30 years ago. He also has Rennie Harris Awe-Inspiring Works (RHAW), also located in his home of Philadelphia, Colorado and Los Angeles, a training school for all age ranges of dancers with goals of entering Rennie Harris Puremovement dance company.

“It’s crazy I’m still doing this,” he says as he thinks back on his career. It’s been such a journey for Harris who lives most of his time in the moment, as present as possible, adding, “being in the moment is my vacation.” As a choreographer and responsible for artistic direction, Harris enjoys being able to take this step back into the past to create Rennie Harris Funkedified.

Rennie Harris Funkedified dancers Andrew Ramsey (Top) and Joshua Culbreath (Bottom) shot by Brian Mangini

Harris carries his shows with humbleness, putting hard work, consistency, and discipline at the forefront. Allowing truth to speak to his artistry, he is able to create time after time shows that speak to the audience as Rennie Harris Funkedified will!

As for the current show Rennie Harris Funkedified, Harris simply puts it, “come out, have a great experience and be in the moment!”

To get tickets to the Rennie Harris Funkedified visit https://www.fordtheatres.org/calendar/rennie-harris, proceeds will benefit the Ford Theatre Foundation.

Categories: Entertainment | Music
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