Students, major hip-hop company premiere ‘Heaven’
Artist-in-Residence Rennie Harris’ Puremovement comes to Boulder
In a first for the world-renowned hip-hop pioneer, members of Rennie Harris Puremovement — the first and longest running hip-hop dance touring company — will premiere Harris’ groundbreaking work, “Heaven,” with dance students from the University of Colorado Boulder.
“This is the first time members of my company have premiered work with university students,” says Harris, Artist-in-Residence at the CU Department of Theatre & Dance. “This is unique.”
“Heaven,” set to Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring,” tells the story of an old man enraptured by the idea of a beautiful afterlife and his wife, who loves him so intensely that she is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Harris first explored the idea with a 10-minute piece set to “Rite of Spring” in 2006 in New York. Though at first dissatisfied with the result, he changed his mind after seeing it performed.
“I thought, ‘This is really dope,’” he says.
Inspired by an Asian film, he conceived the storyline for a longer piece, focusing on the element of sacrifice in the original. “Heaven” is told in both Japanese and English.
“It wasn’t so much about ‘Rite of Spring’ as … we’ll do the sacrifice and use the music,” Harris says.
For the Boulder premiere, Puremovement dancers and CU dance students will use classic breaking techniques.
“I’m using the style of hip-hop — breaking and popping — to tell this story,” Harris says, “and general pedestrian movement.”
Harris and Puremovement also have been shining on the world stage of late, having been chosen for the second season of the U.S. State Department’s DanceMotion program. Through the program, four dance companies are serving as cultural ambassadors to 14 countries in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.
Rennie Harris’ “Heaven”
A hip-hop take on Stravinsky’s ‘Rite of Spring’
Where: University Theatre, University Theatre Building, CU-Boulder campus
When: April 19-21 @ 7:30 p.m. and April 22 @ 2 p.m.
Tickets: $12 CU students, $13 Faculty & Staff, $5 high-school students,
$15 general admission
Box Office: 303-492-8181; or go to http://theatredance.colorado.edu