Rennie Harris presents "Hip Hop Legends"
7 p.m. Saturday
George Mason University Center for the Arts
When you're looking to get down and funky to the rhythm of hip-hop culture, maybe George Mason University's Center for the Arts isn't the first place you'd think to go. But that makes the arrival of "Hip Hop Legends" this weekend even better.
This co-presentation with the Washington Performing Arts Society is a great chance to see how the popular urban dance style incorporates elements of African dance, martial arts and acrobatics. And you can see it performed by a mixed company of old-timers and young Turks in a stylish multimedia showcase.
Philadelphia-based choreographer and Puremovement dance company director Lorenzo "Rennie" Harris sees hip-hop as a modern art form that has been exposed, championed and too frequently exploited via media stereotypes.
His show celebrates the evolution of hip-hop music and dance in its most joyful form, paying homage to the past and forecasting its future evolution by bringing together old-school innovators and contemporary "B-boys."
The legends touring in this edition of the show include Don Campbell, creator of the "Campbellock," also called "locking," which is a signature step for video stars such as NSync, Britney Spears and Janet Jackson.
On hand (or foot?), too, is Boogaloo Sam, founder of the Electric Boogaloos, a group of delightfully named dancers such as Poppin' Pete, Skeeter Rabbit, Suga' Pop and Mr. Wiggles.
The multimedia element includes interviews and archival video clips showing the legends in their early days. They also perform live alongside the younger dancers, while local artists and Harris's own company join in for freestyle sections throughout the evening. It's a high-tech take on the old-fashioned variety show with a touch of competitive one-upmanship.
Of course, there's music, too, from some great DJs, and composer/vocalist Kenny Muhammad, a k a the Human Orchestra, who uses his own body as an instrument to create a rhythmic mix of African, classical, jazz reggae and hip-hop elements. Muhammad has toured with such acts as Public Enemy and Jermaine Jackson, and was a three-time consecutive winner on "Show Time at the Apollo."
From the street to the stage, this is hip-hop like you've never experienced it before.
-- Marianne Meyer
The GMU Center for the Arts complex is on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University, at Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is available in the deck adjacent to the Concert Hall, and free parking is available in university lot K. Tickets for this event range from $20 to $40. As one of the center's "family friendly" events, tickets for children 12 and younger are half-price. Tickets can be charged by calling 703-218-6500 or ordered online at www.tickets.com. Visit www.gmu.edu/cfa/ or www.wpas.org for more information.
Send your Live! ideas to email@example.com. Pretty please?