Rennie Harris Puremovement

Welcome to the “meet your neighbor” edition of DanceWatch. Yup, that’s right, you are surrounded by a sea of amazing, talented artists, and they all seem to be popping up THIS weekend. And, the “neighborhood” may be much bigger than you think—at least it was for me.

Opening Thursday, at Portland State Universities’ Lincoln Performance Hall, is LIFTED!, a new dance work by Philadelphia hip-hop legend Rennie Harris (Rennie Harris Puremovement), presented by White Bird, that addresses issues of morality, spirituality, and community, through the lens of house music and dance. The narrative follows a young man as he loses his parents, moves in with his aunt and uncle, rebels, finds the church, and ultimately finds his place in a new community. LIFTED! portrays universal themes of loss, abandonment, and redemption, and uses gospel music as a means of comfort and a way to connect to our spirituality.

LIFTED! by Rennie Harris Puremovement. Photo courtesy of White Bird.

LIFTED! will be performed by 15 dancers alongside Portland gospel singer Alonzo Chadwick and a choir of singers. The work also features two gifted Portland dancers: Donna Mation, the artistic director of Axé Didé and owner of Center Space Studio in Southeast Portland; and dance artist Rashad Pridgen, who presented his film Global Street Dance Masquerade #GSDMQ8, just last weekend at the Portland Art Museum.

Eugene dance writer Rachel Carnes who has a 20-year history with Rennie Harris, interviewed him back in September 2017 and shares his history, the history of the hip hop movement, and that conversation with you, in her story, Rennie Harris, moving pure for ArtsWatch.

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