Rennie Harris

Known for bringing social dances to the concert stage and coining the term Street Dance Theater Harris has broken new ground as one of the first Hip-hop choreographers to set works on ballet-based companies such as Ballet Memphis, Colorado Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco), Giordano Dance ChicagoLula Washington Dance Theatre, Cleo Parker Robinson, Dallas Black Dance Theater, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC) and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and more.   The first street dancer commissioned to create an evening length work on Alvin Ailey American Theater and to serve as a resident artist at the Alvin Ailey school for dance.  He’s received three Bessie Awards, five Black Theater Alvin Ailey Awards, a Herb Alpert Award, and nominated for a Lawrence Olivier Award (UK).   He’s also received a Life-Time Achievement Award in choreography (McCullum Theater 2019).  Harris was also voted one of the most influential people in the last one hundred years of Philadelphia’s history (City Paper), he’s been compared to Basquiat, Alvin Ailey and Bob Fosse.

In addition, he’s received a Guggenheim Fellowship, PEW Fellowship, a USA Artist of the Year Fellowship, a Governors Artist of the Year Award, and is noted as the first street dancer to receive two honorary doctorate degrees from both Bates College (Lewiston Maine) and Columbia College (Chicago Ill).  Recently Rennie Harris became a recipient of the Doris Duke Artist Award (2020).   He’s served as cultural ambassadors for Ronald Reagan’s US Embassy Tour in 1986 and invited to the White House by the President Clinton Administration to share in the recognition of African American artist making a difference in the world  (2001).   Rennie Harris Puremovement has performed for such dignitaries as the Queen of England and the Princess’ of Monaco and was chosen as one of four US companies to serve as cultural ambassadors for President Obama’s Dance Motion USA and toured (Middle-East) Israel, Jordan, Ramulah, Egypt, Palestine, and surrounding countries. Lorenzo “Rennie” Harris is atop the Hip-hop heap, its leading ambassador. Harris is a recent recipient of the Doris Duke artist award (2020) and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant.