The Theatre & Dance Department is proud to house CU Boulder’s interdisciplinary certificate in Hip-Hop Studies. This consolidated certificate program for matriculated undergraduate and graduate students is designed to expose students to the richness, complexity, and vitality of hip-hop as theory and practice.
The graduate and undergraduate certificates in Hip-Hop Studies are designed to be enriching, interdisciplinary supplements to other areas of study. They provide a broad base, which can serve as an entry point to more focused study and practice. While offering rich and rewarding experiences, these certificates are not a professional endorsement of the student’s skills. Rather, they develop students’ appreciation and respect for one of the most important American cultural forms to have emerged in the last half-century.
The undergraduate certificate in Hip-Hop Studies is designed to emphasize both the theory and practice of hip-hop. Classes immerse students in the culture of hip-hop and develop the critical thinking skills and theoretical context required for understanding hip-hop's socio-historical development and political efficacy.
This consolidated certificate program for matriculated graduate students is designed to expose students to the richness, complexity and vitality of hip-hop in theory and practice. The certificate’s community-based practicum ensures the students in the certificate will know hip-hop as a lived culture, not merely an object to be consumed inside the halls of academia.
- Two movement-based courses (4 credits)
- One community-based practicum (1 credit)
- Two elective courses that develop the critical thinking skills required for understanding Hip-hop's impact and socio-historical development (6 credits)
This broad menu of options, which upholds both theoretical engagement and embodied practice with equal importance, will equip students with the skills necessary to engage with hip-hop as praxis.
Courses will be offered on a regular basis in the departments of Theatre & Dance, Ethnic Studies and English. Additionally, other departments may offer courses that are relevant to the certificate. Students may petition to have these and other Special Topics courses approved by their Hip-Hop Studies advisor.
In order to earn the certificate, students must earn a grade of B in each course and meet the graduate school’s overall GPA requirement.
Hip-Hop Studies Certificate Faculty & Staff
Larry Southall was born in the Bronx, NY where he began dancing hip-hop forms in the early eighties. He received an MFA from the University of Colorado Boulder. He has worked with many companies including Boulder Ballet, Harambee African Dance Ensemble, Blue Moon, Motion Underground, Longmont Symphony and Dance Theatre, and Steamboat Springs Dance Theatre. Larry has worked as a master teacher at Dance Place in Washington, D.C., at Slippery Rock University and for the American College Dance Festival. He has choreographed for the Native Tongue Dance Theatre, Skeleton Dance Project, the Black College Dance Exchange and the “Legacies” concert of the American College Dance Festival in Boulder. Larry teaches traditional hip-hop and is an established and well respected teacher. He currently teaches hip-hop at the University of Colorado Boulder, the Longmont Dance Theatre, and Cleo Parker Robinson Dance School.
Lorenzo (Rennie) Harris, Artistic Director and Choreographer, celebrates hip-hop culture on his own terms by using some of the world’s most influential forms of movement, music, and storytelling to revolutionize contemporary concert dance. Born and raised in North Philadelphia, Harris has been teaching workshops and classes at universities around the country and is a powerful spokesperson for the significance of “street” origins in any dance style. The mark of Harris’ career began as a performer and choreographer through performing for crowds at clubs, parties and within his community with his first company, the Scanner Boys in the 1980s (a hip hop performance group of which Harris was a founding member). According to Harris, he didn’t become a part of the “legitimate” dance community until 1992, when he was invited to participate in the Susan Hess Choreographer’s Project. In 1992 Harris founded Rennie Harris Puremovement, a hip-hop dance company dedicated to preserving and disseminating hip-hop culture through workshops, classes, hip-hop history lecture demonstrations, long term residencies, mentoring programs and public performances. Harris founded his company based on the belief that hip hop is the most important original expression of a new generation. With its roots in the inner-city African-American and Latino communities, hip hop can be characterized as a contemporary indigenous form, one that expresses universal themes that extend beyond racial, religious, and economic boundaries, and one that (because of its pan-racial and transnational popularity) can help bridge these divisions. Harris’ work encompasses the diverse and rich African-American traditions of the past, while simultaneously presenting the voice of a new generation through its ever-evolving interpretations of dance. Harris is committed to providing audiences with a sincere view of the essence and spirit of hip hop rather than the commercially exploited stereotypes portrayed by the media. As Harris develops as a choreographer, he continues to profoundly influence the field of contemporary dance. Harris shows us the integral connections between body movements through the philosophy inherent in the company’s name, “Puremovement of mind, body, and soul.” Since establishing the company 15 years ago, Rennie Harris has continually demonstrated his outstanding talent for utilizing his distinctive and compelling contributions to dance vocabulary based on his personal choreographic vision. At the age of 43 Mr. Harris is at the top of the hip hop heap.
Patricia Paige (a.k.a. "pep") has worked at CU since 2002 and prefers she/they pronouns. Because of her initials, penchant for "pep talks" and laziness for typing her own name, she has accrued the nickname "pep". You can call her Patricia or pep, whichever feels more comfortable. Patricia started at CU as the Administrative Assistant/Receptionist for the Department of Spanish & Portuguese, then became an Accounting Technician for the Old Main Financial Service Center, followed by the Program Assistant for the Department of Comparative Literature and Humanities. When those two disciplines split into separate programs in 2009 she became the Program Assistant for the Comparative Literature Graduate Program. pep transferred to the Department of Theatre & Dance in 2015 and is thrilled to continue working with graduate students and this amazing faculty. pep loves theatre, she loves dance, she loves creative folx, she couldn't be happier in this awesome community of schol-ar-tists. She also loves animals, books, music, washi tape and colored pens, rain and snow. pep has a BA in Literature from Yale University (but you would never guess).
Originally from Memphis, TN, Ondine Geary has been part of the CU Boulder community as student, staff and lecturer since 2013. She has her MFA in Dance from CU Boulder and has taught a range of courses for the University. She is currently the Production, Outreach & Engagement Liaison for Theatre & Dance, as well as the Executive Director for ATLAS’ B2 Center for Media, Art & Performance. Ondine is also an active artist and performer who eagerly collaborates across disciplines.
Need more answers or information?
Please contact the Theatre & Dance department's Graduate Program Assistant.