Choreographer Vince Johnson began hanging around and learning from the dancers of Rennie Harris’ renowned hip-hop dance company Puremovement at the precocious age of 14, so at 24 he already has a decade of first-hand knowledge under his belt.
“Rennie Harris has always pushed the envelope — both in terms of what we perceive concert dance to be and even what hip-hop is as an aesthetic,” Johnson says. “So I learned the ability to take your foundation, your technique, and expand upon it to journey into something that’s unique and personal and meaningful for you and hopefully for your audience.”
The fruit of those lessons will be on display this weekend when Johnson premieres his new piece, “Drunken Monkey,” as part of “American Chameleons,” a performance showcase presented by Kosoko Performance Group that features several innovative modern dance creators from Philly and New York.
The piece blends Johnson’s hip-hop influences with martial arts movement and a multi-genre blend of music created in tandem with the dance.
“The creative process was mainly a jam session,” he says. “Notions of combat are central in the thinking behind the piece. I kind of envision myself being in an action scene in ‘Lord of the Rings,’ fighting and hoping to achieve some foreign objective while empowering music plays.”
‘American Chameleons: A Performance Showcase’
Saturday, 9 p.m. and Sunday, 5 p.m.
Painted Bride Art Center
230 Vine St.