courtesy the Kimmel Center

Rennie Harris is one of the most sought-after hip-hop choreographers today. Growing up in Philadelphia, PA, he danced with several crews, including The Step Masters and The Scanner Boys. He started teaching at 15, and continues to teach hip-hop technique and history around the world. This year marks the 15th anniversary of Harris’ Illadelph Legends Festival, the longest-running festival of its kind, as well as the 20th anniversary of his company, Rennie Harris Puremovement (RHPM), which is known for critically acclaimed works like Rome & Jewels and Facing Mekka. In 2007, Harris founded a second company, Rennie Harris Awe-Inspiring-Works (RHAW), to educate and mentor young dancers. Harris has also set works on ballet, modern and jazz companies, including Pennsylvania Ballet and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. —Komal Thakkar

Dear Rennie,

I’m writing from 2012 to share some advice with you. 

Rennie Harris in Sixth Grade

Think about the harmful situations you’ve allowed yourself to be in. It’s OK to say no! You don’t have to do what others do to be considered “cool.”  

When introducing yourself, begin with “I am.” Be sure to look people in the eyes when speaking to them. Be honest, even if it’s uncomfortable. 

Seek the input of those who have experience in your field. You can’t do everything by yourself. And don’t be afraid of structure. It’s a “guide-line,” not a “God-line.” You can go off the path as long as you get back on it eventually.  

As a choreographer, make sure to create when you’re inspired—and find a choreographic mentor. Both will keep you from wasting time in the studio.

Most importantly, always remember: Movement is the manifestation of your reality. It’s not what you say but what you do that confirms you. Reality is defined as what is tangible, what we can see and feel. For example: The shirt you have on right now was once someone’s idea, but it required a physical action—sewing—to make that idea into reality. All your dreams can manifest if you take action. Don’t get lost in talking about it. Do it!

Rennie Harris 

Latest Posts


Boston Ballet principal Seo Hye Han as Cinderella in Sir Frederick Ashton's Cinderella (Liza Voll, courtesy Boston Ballet)

5 Principal Dancers on the Ballet Steps That Still Challenge Them

Their technique might seem effortless onstage, but even the most seasoned ballet professionals have that one step that still drives them crazy. We asked five principal dancers to open up about the skills they still find challenging, and how they're working to finesse them.

Keep Reading
Hosts Trevor Tordjman and Ariel Martin in "Disney Fam Jam" (Disney Channel/Eric McCandless)

Behind the Scenes of the Dance-Filled "Disney Fam Jam"

The ever-dancy Disney Channel just dropped yet another dancetastic show. "Disney Fam Jam," a family dance competition inspired by choreographer Phil Wright's viral parent-and-kid dance classes, premiered last night. Each episode features two families battling it out on the dance floor to see who'll earn a $10,000 prize. And the show is co-hosted by Zombies 2 stars Ariel Martin and Trevor Tordjman—standout dancers in their own right.

Keep Reading

Intern at Dance Spirit This Summer!

Are you a college student curious about what goes on behind the scenes at your favorite magazine? You're in luck—because Dance Spirit is searching for an editorial intern for summer 2020!

We'll be accepting applications through March 1. Internships pay an hourly stipend and require a minimum two-day-a-week, onsite commitment in our NYC office from June to August. (We do not provide assistance securing housing.)

If you're interested, please send a cover letter, resumé and two writing samples to Margaret Fuhrer at mfuhrer@dancemedia.com. Be sure to put "Summer Internship Application" in the subject line. All attachments must be formatted as PDFs.

We will interview selected candidates in March in person or by phone, and let candidates know by mid-April if they have been chosen. Please note that we do not accept high school students, or any students under 18, and that we give preference to college juniors and seniors.

We can't wait to meet you!

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search