The manager of Philadelphia-based dance companies Rennie Harris Puremovement and Rennie Harris Awe-Inspiring Works, Rodney Hill, will be conducting master dance classes from Nov. 10 through Nov. 12 at the Robinson Center. The classes will be followed by a performance by the professional dance troupe Rennie Harris Puremovement at the Lied Center on Friday.

“They’re really powerful and beautiful, and there’s so much nobility and eloquence about how they move,” said Michelle Heffner Hayes, chair of the KU Department of Dance. “They always present it in a historical context, and it’s always about social activism. It’s amazing, it’s amazing what they do.”

Hayes had worked with the company early in her career and said she was greatly influenced by the three-year project she did with them.

“It changed the way I thought about the role of the arts in communities and how hip-hop can speak to the world,” Hayes said.

This is the first time the KU Department of Dance is partnering with the Lied Center, and Hayes said she is thankful that the center was open to collaborating.

“I’m so excited that people in this region are finally getting to see this company, because they do phenomenal work all over the US and all over the world, and I want Kansas to be a part of that.”

 Hayes expects positive results from the event. She said the only challenge was the labor it takes to put on the program.

“We do this kind of work because we love it, not because we expect it to be easy,” Hayes said.

 Free and open to the public, the classes will take as many walk-ins as the space allows. Currently more than 20 people are signed up, including senior dance majors Kelly Casper from Rogers, Minn., and Krisa Farrington of Overland Park. Farrington is a contemporary dancer and Casper is a modern and ballet dancer, but both said they are willing to learn a new style of dance. 

Casper said she looks forward to meeting new choreographers from around the country.

“Philadelphia is an area of the nation that I’m not quite familiar with, so I think it’s really great to make contacts wherever you can and just kind of get a taste of what their life is like,” she said.

 — Edited by Yu Kyung Lee

Master Class Schedule:

Monday, November 10th

​11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. during Modern II, Robinson 240

2:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. during Introduction to African Theater, Robinson 242

Tuesday, November 11th

11:30 a.m. - 1:15 p.m. Modern III, Robinson 242

1:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. during Dance Improvisation, Robinson 242

Wednesday, November 12th

11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. during Modern II, Robinson 240

2:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. during Introduction to African Theater, Robinson 242


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