Author: Jill Kimball

Grass Roots Project performs “Beautiful Human Lies” at CU

Rennie Harris and his dynamic dance company, Grass Roots Project, will present the hip hop-inspired “Beautiful Human Lies” at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Irey Theatre Feb. 12-14. Harris, a regular guest artist at CU-Boulder, is widely recognized as the world’s foremost choreographer of hip hop and street dance theater.

Through physically electrifying and penetratingly subtle choreography, “Beautiful Human Lies” tells stories focusing on the most pressing social issues of our day, touching on race, crime and personal relationships.

“This is not your typical Valentine’s Day weekend show,” says Katie Swenson, a dancer with Grass Roots Project. “There’s definitely a grittiness and a rawness in ‘Beautiful Human Lies,’ and our dance style is probably like nothing you’ve ever seen on stage.”

The story of “Beautiful Human Lies” unfolds in scenes set to hip hop, electronica and house music by Beyoncé, Immortal Technique, Bonobo, Nas, Groove Armada and more. The dancers of Grass Roots Project, trained across the disciplines of modern, ballet, and street dance, combine forces to present fresh takes on popping and locking, breaking and b-boying.

For Swenson, who has a background in ballet, modern dance and West African dance, trading her pointe shoes for sneakers in Harris’ company has been a revelation.

“It’s changed the way I view dance,” she says. “There’s such a formula to concert dance. There’s that division between performer and audience that makes it very presentational. But street style dance is inherently social, so it allows you to connect not only with other dancers but also with the audience.”

The evening-length “Beautiful Human Lies” was inspired partly by Harris’ upbringing in an African American community in North Philadelphia. But the stories he tells are also inspired by current events, including violence and protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and the Black Lives Matter movement.

“Rennie is really showing that even as time goes by, these issues keep resurfacing, no matter how much we want to change them,” Swenson says. “We always want stories to have a happy ending, but Rennie is more interested in reality.”

Showtimes and Tickets

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Open Space

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Feb 28-Mar 3, 2019

Open Space

Curated by CU Dance Connection
Starting at $16

Be moved by dance works that lilt, groove and tumble across a spectrum of styles in this student-produced and CU Dance Connection-curated series. Tic...

The Current

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Apr 12-20, 2019

The Current

Dance works by faculty and guest artists
Starting at $18

Experience the dynamic works off CU Theatre & Dance Department's dance faculty and the Roser Guest Artist. From the micro-undulations of...

FRESH: Spring 2019

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Apr 26-27, 2019

FRESH: Spring 2019

A CU Dance Concert
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Enjoy a potential mix of Hip-Hop, aerial, fusion forms and improvised offerings crafted by undergraduate and graduate dance students at the CU Th...

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