Moving, Sounding and Acting: Improvisation into Choreography

Taught by Janis Brenner

August 915, 2020
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This workshop intensive is open to all who improvise, teach, choreograph and perform as dancers or interdisci­plinary artists. We will explore the process of integrating movement, voice and speak­ing by delving into the mind/body con­nection, sensations and experiences through structured impro­visation. We'll be involved in “Serious Play!” with solo as well as group struc­tures, looking at the influences of sound and music on our dancing, and vice-versa.

Each class incorporates a physical warm-up as well as a vocal warm-up, with the group also learning songs to be sung together in “rounds.” This creates a great sense of community and unified purpose within the group from which we can move into explora­tions together and individually. These workshops are a synthesis of Janis’s many years working with such artists as Meredith Monk, Murray Louis and Alwin Nikolais, and the development of her own, unique teaching, performing and choreographic aesthetic over the last 33 years.

Comments from Former Students
“I want to thank you so much for everything you did during the week. Your workshop made me think of art in a completely different way and helped me to overcome my fears when it comes to performance. I will always remember this because it was a life-changing experience. I hope you will continue to travel around the world and bring this joy to other people. Your work brings hope to us! Congratulations!”  Lucija Gregov, Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina

“Thank you Janis! What a wonderfull week full of so many thoughtful and interesting and joyous moments. It was such a treat to be present for your teachings. You present your material from such a sincere, truthful and all accepting-manner that is inspiring to watch, listen and participate with. Thank you!”  Julie Hebb, Director, The DanceAnnex, Kittery, Maine

“I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the amazing classes this week. I feel very fulfilled and rejuvenated as a dancer and as a teacher/choreographer after those wonderful experiences. I am looking forward to taking it into the studio and having my students work with the concepts and ideas I learned! My experiences in your classes were unforgettable, and I look forward to taking class with you again in the future.”  Claudia Gelabert, Intensity Dancers’ Studio, Miami Lakes, Florida

“The day together with you was really nourishing. Since, things have changed in my voice practice and in composition. You’ve helped me to understand in another way this notion of “MY” own voice, “MY” range. As songwriter and singer, it is so easy to stay in a way or a sound we think is our voice... Now, the way is open. I feel I have so much to explore, discover and play with. This feeling is really good. Thank you for your openness and presence, you made us feel good and confortable to give and receive. Your strength is inspiring.”  Marie-Hélène, France


Photo by Rosalie O’Connor

Janis Brenner is an award-winning dancer/choreographer/singer/teacher and Artis­tic Director of Janis Brenner & Dancers in NYC. Known for her “meticulous artistry,” she has toured in 36 countries and is recognized as a “singular performer.” Awards include NY Dance & Performance Award (“Bessie”) for performance in Meredith Monk’s work, Lester Horton Award for Choreography in L.A., Copperfoot Award for Lost, Found, Lost at Wayne State, Fund for US Artists at International Festivals, Asian Cultural Council, Trust for Mutual Understanding, O'Donnell Green Music & Dance Foundation, Harkness Foundation for Dance, US Embassies in Moscow, Bosnia, Jakarta and Dakar, and a commission for The Memory Project from the Whitney Museum of American Art. Work has been commissioned/restaged on more than 50 companies and colleges worldwide. Performed with Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensem­ble from 1990 to 2005, 2014, recording on ECM Records. Murray Louis Dance Com­pany (1977–84), working with Rudolf Nureyev, Placido Domingo, Dave Brubeck Quar­tet, Joseph Papp, Bat Sheva Dance Company, and Alwin Nikolais. She has been on faculty at The Juilliard School since 2009, mentoring Choreographers and Composers Collaborations. Janis won the 2018 “Best Production” Award for Inheritance: A Litany at the United Solo Theatre Festival Off-Broadway. Janis Brenner & Dancers has performed throughout the US, Asia, Russia and Europe since 1989.

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The 2019 Janis Brenner Workshop


Back row: Julie Larsen, Susie Creitz, Lucas Rollins-Page, Janis Brinton, Janis Brenner,
Ruth Grauert, Peter Kyle; and Sarah Bicknell; Front row: Sarah Kinlaw, Hope Kenmore,
Laura Miola, Heriberto (Chino) Mendoza, and Ellen Oliver



Images from the Janis Brenner Workshop
End-of-Workshop Showing at Bearnstow


Photos by Molly Hess