19 September 2005
most people would never look at this and think of it as modern dance and I know why. because when the average person thinks of modern dance, they think of strange people in black leotards on all fours, barking like dogs to the sound of discordant flutes and cymbals. or overly dramatic dancers in flowy gowns gesturing wildly. I'm not saying these stereotypes don't exist-- too many times I have found myself in a dark theatre, rolling my eyes or trying to hold back giggles in the middle of a performance dripping with symbolism and/or pretension. and I've danced in a couple of pieces that I am not particularly proud of. BUT. when modern dance is good, it is SO GOOD. really and truly, because modern dance, in essence, refuses to be defined. and because there really aren't any rules, there's endless room for experimentation. my favorite artists and companies are often blending and layering so many elements of movement... african, hip hop, jazz, pedestrian, ballet, release, capoiera, modern and more. this is what keeps my mind and body engaged, this is why I can't seem to get enough. I get excited when I see things come together that are not supposed to come together. I think this is why I love collage so much (ephemera and photography and paint and whatever, all coming together to evoke a sense of something). and why I love underground hip hop, love to listen to my brother's music (beats and fragments from so many different genres of music all coming together to sound like something completely different and original and fresh... hello, DJ dust). nothing inspires me more than to see choreographers turn perceptions of dance upside down and inside out. that's when things get really interesting. because you can find art in the most furious back spin and you can be moved to tears by the simplest hand gesture.
rennie harris puremovement is a company out of philadelphia that I have fallen in love with. I am giddy over the marriage of hip hop movement and modern and more than happy to fork over hard-earned dollars in exchange for a ticket to the show (counting the days til they hit atlanta's rialto on november the 5th). I think I know what I'm going to see (fortunate enough to have seen them perform once before), but really, I don't. sure, the dancers will be electric and the choreography will be brilliant but the sub-context will have me thinking about stuff for days. and days. in both big and small ways, it will change the way I move, the way I dance, the way I teach, the way I choreograph, the way I think.