ONCE YOU ARE NOT A STRANGER (2017)
Commissioned score by Svjetlana Bukvich
Performers: 7 dancers, 1 musician/composer
Time: 40 mins.
Photo Credit: Judith Stuart Boroson
Once You Are Not A Stranger was created in collaboration with Bosnian-born, electro-acoustic composer Svjetlana Bukvich, Slovenian-born installation artist Eva Petric, lighting designer Mitchell Bogard, and costume designer Sue Julien. This interdisciplinary work looks at the ideas of empathy and “otherness” in a multicultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-religious world and uses the dance company as a microcosm of this world. Video projections are embedded in the center of an elaborate set-piece, playing a personal and imagistic role in the work. It can be performed with live music, including Ms. Brenner on vocals and Ms. Bukvich on keyboards. This work has been made possible by a commissioning grant from the O'Donnell-Green Music and Dance Foundation.
"Brenner has somehow solved the problem of combining social consciousness with the art of choreography. There were spoken autobiographies, historic photos, slides combined with simple, but expressive movements. The dance thrummed with understated drama which occasionally led to verbalizations. The dancers got to reveal themselves as discrete beings from many places who through luck and talent—and the craft of Janis Brenner—joined forces in an organic whole. Brenner’s dramatic vocalizations punctuated the proceedings."
Joel Benjamin, Theaterscene June 2017
"In Once You Are Not A Stranger, Brenner has collaborated with her dancers in the creation of the choreography, combining young and mature artists who contribute to this important piece. Kyla Barkin, DeAndre Cousley, Ruth Howard,
Sumaya Jackson, Kristi Ann Schopfer, Aaron Selissen, Brenner herself and composer Svetlana Bukvich all infuse a part of themselves in the performance of this work. The added ingredient is that the piece was performed with live music –including Ms. Brenner as a vocalist."
Mark Kappel, Dance Notes June 2017