Dance Class Offerings
"Moving, Sounding and Acting" Improvisation Workshops
These workshops explore the process of integrating movement, voice and speaking by delving into the mind/ body connection, sensations and experiences through structured improvisation. The classes are geared toward the specific participants in each class; from professional dancers to singers and actors to non-performers who want to increase their range and means of expression, to take risks as performers and discover their own holistic sense of creating art.
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 movement, voice and text explorations together and individually.
The classes are a synthesis of Janis Brenner's many years working with such artists as Meredith Monk, Murray Louis and Alwin Nikolais and the development of her own, unique teaching aesthetic and choreography over the last thirty years.
*Workshop participants have included: Professional and college-level dancers, musicians, singers, actors, writers, university faculty, chairpersons and deans, psychotherapists, senior citizens, community members, junior and high school performing arts departments, and a Conflict Resolution group. The workshops have been conducted throughout New York City, in cities and states throughout the U.S. and in such diverse places as Copenhagen; Denmark, Stockholm; Sweden, Turku; Finland, Perth; Australia, Basel; Switzerland, Braunschweig and Frankfurt; Germany, Nancy; France, Senegal; West Africa, Indonesia and Taiwan.
To continually "re-discover" the body through experiences in spontaneity, risk-taking, and trust.
To taste and to use the intelligence of the body and develop the body as an instrument for clear communication.
To develop a constructive verbal vocabulary for communicating about non-verbal art forms.
To develop and improve performance skills and to be immersed in "Serious Play!"
Composition/ Choreography classes further develop the unique, creative potential of each performer, building from improv ideas and skills into structured studies and fully-realized dances.
Work in composition is intended to further each dancer’s exploration into the depths of their creative, choreographic potential. The desire to increase the range of movement ideas and qualities in order to say what you want to say is greatly stressed as an essential element in developing a unique choreographic language. Improvisation is employed and discussed as both a skill in itself and as the basis for investigating movement possibiliites that can be applied to the choreographic process. Dancers work on choreographing both short movement studies using specific concepts such as space, body parts, time, texture, contrasting qualities, dynamics, voice and text work, etc. as well as working on major choreographic compositions for presentation at the end of an Intensive or Residency. Music (or lack of music!) as an essential element of dance work will be greatly stressed and explored in terms of how sound affects what is seen and felt in a dance and why a particular piece of music may “work” or not work.
Throughout the sessions, our work is discussed, dissected and enhanced by critical feedback and personal exchange. We are looking to find ways to bring out the unique artistic self and to discuss the nature of being a choreographer, performer and artist.
Classes focus on learning the wide-ranging dance works of Janis Brenner, emphasizing the importance of performance skills, intention and emotional connection to the material. Depending on length of the workshops or residency, everything from phrase work to fully restaged repertory can be encompassed.
The goal of Contemporary technique class is to strengthen the dancers' physical facilities, their understanding of the body's qualities and their mental capacities for "reading" and interpreting movement. We employ concepts of using space, time, shape, motion, focus, breath, gravity, suspension, energy, dynamics, lyric flow and musicality as we also work on physical strength and proper placement to create a "total" dancer. The classes employ philosophies of movement derived from a synthesis of principles from Jose Limon, Alwin Nikolais, Murray Louis and Ms. Brenner's own aesthetics and wide-ranging experience as a dancer/ teacher.