Rennie Harris Facing Mekka Analysis

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Premiered in early 2003, Facing Mekka is a 90 minute dance work by Rennie Harris that fuses African, South American, Caribbean, Asian and Islamic cultures to create “... an abstract narrative of a spiritual journey.” In this work, Rennie Harris takes us back to the roots of hip hop that are defined by community and spirituality rather than the energetic and acrobatic movements it's known for. “For "Facing Mekka," Harris has turned away from this portrait of gangs and street life to find a common language of world culture. Here he equates "Mekka" with "dance" and turns from the violence of the world to face dance as a positive and spiritual source.” The idea behind Facing Mekka began as a joke between Doug Elkins and Rennie Harris…show more content…
expands the language of hip-hop by integrating the dance and music of many cultures with what is primarily considered an urban form.” Harris fuses the Brazilian Capoeira dance, acrobatic hip hop movements, African torsal and polyrhythmic movements, butoh dance features, Islam praying culture with music produced by popular musical instruments to deeply explore the human body and spirit. It haas nine sections that are distinctly divided into two parts. The first part begins with a man dressed in a Kaftan chanting Islamic prayer calls. He is joined by women and men dancing energetically to the rhythm of djembe drums. The women go on to dance slowly placing emphasis on their torsos. They dance to a slow African rhythm that changes in Cuban rhythms. The women are followed by two men who dance the Brazilian Capoeira dance with a hip hop twist. Harris incorporates an Indian tabla solo, a beatboxing solo and a berimbau solo. He introduces the audience to Butoh dance with a woman in white face tribal marks moving in slow acrobatic movements. This goes on to his final solo that dives into the dark features of Butoh…show more content…
Prayer is an important aspect of Islamic practice and worship. It is one of the five pillars of Islam as well as the pilgrimage to Mecca. In Facing Mekka, Darrin M. Ross begins the dance by chanting Islamic prayer calls with his hands folded a symbol signifying prayer. He walks to the center stage where he conducts Salat the ritual prayer in Islam. The name of the dance facing Mekka is derived from the word Mecca, which is the center of the Islamic world and the direction that all Muslims face during prayer. Islamic prayers comprise of Quranic recitations in Arabic and sequential movements of standing, bowing, sitting and prostrating. Before he began praying, Ross recited Quranic verses in Arabic and the sequential movements of Islamic

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