Facing Mekka

Rennie Harris

Artist Bio

Facing Mekka is based on traditional African and African American culture and its relationship to the Muslim faith. The piece explores movement that crosses boundaries within hip-hop vocabulary as well as creating a new vocabulary from traditional African dance idioms. Fusing together the hip-hop styles of B-boy, house, Angolan/Brazilian Capoeira, and traditional South African Steps used in ceremonial celebration, Facing Mekka celebrates dance as a universal language by evoking, not imitating, its sources. The piece is a landscape of music, visual image, and dance, featuring a cast of 17 dancers, three DJ’s, and live percussion. Two collage artists created visuals that are projected on screens in cross fades to create a multi-layered landscape.

Award Year


Rennie Harris

Rennie Harris

New York, NY

Rennie Harris brought “social” dance forms like hip-hop and B-boy to the concert stage. Harris has received a Pew Fellowship for choreography and awards from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the City of Philadelphia Cultural Fund, Philadelphia Dance Projects Commission, and a Pew Repertory Development grant. He has been voted one of the most influential people in Philadelphia in the last hundred years by the Philadelphia Weekly.