Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts
Hip Hop performer Rennie Harris and choreographer Michaek Sakamoto will perform the dynamic dance duet, Flash, in the final production in the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago's season (photo courtesy of The Dance Center).
Columbia College's Dance Center to Showcase Unique "Conversation" Between Hip Hop and Butoh Dance in Flash
The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago will conclude its 2015–16 season with the choreographer-performer duo of Rennie Harris and Michael Sakamoto, performing their dance-theater duet, Flash.
Written, choreographed and performed by Harris and Sakamoto, Flash is conceived as a “conversation” between the artists’ respective aesthetics (hip hop and butoh), cultural backgrounds (African-American and Japanese-American) and personalities. Hip hop and butoh were both born from marginalized, postwar urban subcultures, and each embodies a philosophical approach to the creation of cultural identity through dance. In this work, Sakamoto and Harris combine their respective approaches to manifesting a body in crisis. Flash is an interdisciplinary performance project incorporating butoh and hip-hop dance, multimedia and other theatrical elements to address the intersection of urban and environmental crisis, social resistance and corporeal identity.
Rennie Harris is the founder and artistic director of Rennie Harris Puremovement, a hip-hop dance company dedicated to preserving and disseminating hip-hop culture through workshops, classes, hip-hop history lecture demonstrations, long-term residencies, mentoring programs and public performances. Harris founded his company in 1992 based on the belief that hip hop is the most important original expression of a new generation. With its roots in the inner-city African-American and Latino communities, hip hop has become one of the most indigenous contemporary form that expresses universal themes extending beyond racial, religious and economic boundaries and, because of its pan-racial and transnational popularity, can help bridge these divisions.
Michael Sakamoto is an interdisciplinary artist and scholar active in dance, theater, performance, media and photography. His solo, ensemble and visual works have been presented in 14 countries throughout Asia, Europe and North America. His research and performance interests include contemporary imaginings of the butoh-based “body in crisis,” corporeal and mediated embodiments of self-reflection and social resistance and performing the cultural commons and cultural sustainability.
A post-performance conversation with the artists will take place Thursday, March 31, 2016. The ancillary event is free to ticket holders. Additional residency activities with community partners and Columbia College Chicago students will take place throughout the week leading up to the performance weekend.