Hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris apparently dislikes interviews—dislikes them enough, in fact, to suggest doing one at 4 am before vanishing into a phone and email void, never to be heard from again. Which is a bona fide bummer, because the man is an original thinker and a powerful dancer who's done a lot to shift the hip-hop paradigm.

Harris founded the male-dominated company Puremovement in Philadelphia in 1992, and soon thereafter gave viewers a glimpse of something rare: hip-hop as evening-length theatrical performance, in the Shakespeare-inspired Rome&Jewels and the multicultural movement exploration Facing Mekka . Harris also created Illadelph Legends, a festival that began in 2000 as a series of workshops and jam sessions steeped in hip-hop history and grew into a touring show with dance innovators including locking creator Don Campbell, among many others.

Harris got his own start back in the day as a member of the Step Masters and Scanner Boys, and you'll find echoes of his North Philly upbringing throughout his choreography: In the sharply etched solo Endangered Species , for example, his every movement freezes for a half-second as his voiceover relays a violent episode from his youth.

Which brings us to his new solo, "PrinceScareKrows Road to Da Emerald City," an autobiographical excerpt from a one-man show he's working on now. It comes to Portland on a bill with a preview of another work in progress, Breath , set on the company's four women. The rest of the night is devoted to the 1992 repertory works P-Funk and March of the Antmen, plus 1997's Continuum . From previous viewings, I can tell you that P-Funk evokes a neighborhood corner, with a spoken-word overture that opens into a cascade of unisons and solos, while Antmen takes its high-stepping cue from the Million Man March on Washington. And Continuum is an athletic dance jam that celebrates the company's formidable talent for b-boying and other hip-hop styles. Puremovement's physical virtuosity could land any of its dancers steady video and concert work, but Harris goes beyond mere flash, making movement that speaks his mind.

Lincoln Hall, Portland State University, 725-3307. 8 pm Thursday-Friday, 2 and 8 pm Saturday, Dec. 6-8. $16-$26.