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Janis Brenner



Dancers at Work Mentor





JANIS BRENNER is an award-winning dancer/choreographer/singer/teacher and is Artistic Director of Janis Brenner & Dancers in NY. She has toured in 36 countries and is recognized as a “singular performer” (Eye On Dance) with a multifaceted artistic range. Ms. Brenner’s awards include a 2017 “Best Choreography” award from United Solo Festival, for Eva Petric’s eden, transplanted, 1997 NY Dance and Performance Award (“Bessie”) for “Outstanding Creative Achievement” in Meredith Monk’s work The Politics of Quiet, a 1999 “Bessie” nomination for her performance in Solo for Janis choreographed by Richard Siegal, a 1996 Lester Horton Award for “Outstanding Achievement in Choreography” in L.A., a 2010 Copperfoot Award for Lost, Found, Lost at Wayne State University, a 1993 Leach Fellowship for “Outstanding Achievement in the Performing Arts” from Empire State College and a NY Dance On Camera Festival award (1986).


Ms. Brenner’s work and company have been honored with numerous grants including ten from the Harkness Foundation for Dance, the NY Foundation for the Arts, Asian Cultural Council, U.S. Department of State, The Fund for US Artists at International Festivals, The Trust for Mutual Understanding, UNESCO, US Embassies in Sarajevo, Moscow, Jakarta and Dakar, Foundation for Contemporary Performance Art, Dance Magazine, Meet The Composer, and a commission for the interdisciplinary work, The Memory of All That from the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 2011, she and the company were awarded a major grant from the O’DonnellGreen Music and Dance Foundation for the premiere of The Mind-Stuff Variations, with a commissioned score by Jerome Begin. 2016 saw the second grant from O’Donnell Green for Once You Are Not A Stranger with composer Svjetlana Bukvich. Her work has been commissioned/restaged on more than 50 companies and colleges worldwide such as CloudGate 2 and Dance Forum Taipei (Taiwan), Maya Dance Theatre and Dance Ensemble Singapore, Skopje Dance Theatre (Macedonia), ISI Yogyakarta (Indonesia), DanceM (Siberia), Ririe Woodbury Dance Company (Utah), Pacific Dance Ensemble (LA), Atrek Contemporary Dance (St. Louis), TanzForum Dancers (Cologne, Gr.), Balettakademien (Stockholm), University of Utah @ Salt Lake City (work performed at The Kennedy Center), UCLA (7 works), California State U@ Long Beach (2 works), Hofstra and Adelphi Universities, University of Illinois @ Champaign-Urbana, UMass @ Amherst, Bates College, LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts in NY and many others. Her company version of “heartSTRINGS” for 18 dancers premiered at Juilliard in November 2004 on the “New Dances” series, and was restaged in 2008 for the NC School of the Arts. She is a sought-after master teacher conducting workshops worldwide in technique, improvisation, composition, repertory and vocal work.


Ms. Brenner performed with Meredith Monk and the Vocal Ensemble from 1990 – 2005, 2014 (recording on ECM Records) and performs an acclaimed vocal suite from Monk’s Songs from the Hill in concert. In 1998, she and composer/vocalist Theo Bleckmann recorded their collaborative vocal score Mars Cantata available on CD. She has been co-choreographer for Michael Moschen (1988-92: BAM’s Next Wave Festival, US tours and PBS’ Great Performances), a soloist with Annabelle Gamson’ s company (1984-87) performing historic repertory of Mary Wigman, Duncan and others, and a soloist with the 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 restaged Louis’ repertory throughout the world, as recently as 2013 with the revival of his acclaimed Four Brubeck Pieces at Juilliard.


Ms. Brenner attended Adelphi University as a Dance major (1972-74) and Empire State College (BFA, 1995). She received her MFA degree from the Hollins University/ADF graduate program in 2009. In 2009, Ms. Brenner joined the faculty of The Juilliard School serving as Choreographic Mentor for the Choreographers & Composers Collaboration course and “Creative Process” instructor.  Info at: