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Meet Brenna Pierson-Tucker

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brenna Pierson-Tucker.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I began my dancing career at three years old because…. that’s what you did at that age and continued my training for the sole purpose that I really wanted to dance in pointe shoes. My appetite thoroughly became known when I discovered Third Street Dance Co. in the small town of Marquette, MI. Artistic Director Melany Arntsen became my mentor and one of the most influential instructors that I have had the privilege to experience. She inspired my love of modern movement and initiated my interests in composition. From there, I was accepted into the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy at the age of 15 where I spent four years learning from brilliant and motivating instructors such as Sharon Randolph and Mark Borchelt. Interlochen is also where I met my future husband and fellow dancer Christopher Tucker (nine years later we establish Esoteric Dance Project). I continued my education at Cornish College of the arts where I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BFA in dance and moved to Chicago in 2007 to begin my professional dance career. I’ve had the privilege to work with multiple choreographers and companies within Chicago and in 2010 created Esoteric Dance Project. The EDP is currently in its eight season and is preparing for its next performance August 31st-September 2nd.

Please tell us about your art.
Esoteric Dance Project was established because I wanted to craft a platform that maintained, honored and utilized the solid structure of the codified techniques of ballet and modern dance. I also am extremely inspired to aid in the development of artists. After graduating from college, I felt a void in my education and the loss of instructors passionate about my growth as an artist. I want Esoteric Dance Project to provide technique-based education in a nurturing environment while offering a platform for exploration and development. EDP embraces the art form’s historical past and believes that with a genuine foundation and “esoteric” knowledge of the classical and codified techniques, every dancer is a more artistically expanded and efficient performer.

My works feed from my classical training in both ballet and modern technique however I have a unique way that I present this. I’ve begun to comically call my style of movement “fugly” as I find lines and images that are not typically considered attractive or anatomically correct quite beautiful and inspirational. My movement is a blend of having the classical alignment and structure but then altering into a slightly disfigured quality. I am also incredibly gestural with my natural movement vocabulary, often making my dancers quite dizzy with my material. I strive to make works that challenges my dancers: musically, physically and mentally but at the same time, demystifies the skilled craft of modern dance and leads audiences to engage, observe and appreciate the mastery and freedom that is this art form.

Given everything that is going on in the world today, do you think the role of artists has changed? How do local, national or international events and issues affect your art?
With the political and social activities of today, I do find myself fearful and concerned for the arts communities, locally and globally. I truly believe that the arts are a necessary and crucial contribution for the development of youth and society. I do feel that the role of the artist has transformed in that our responsibility has been significantly called to assemble. Art creates thought in its viewers, it creates passion and it creates movement. The tendencies of social media and society has begun to insulate one within their own belief systems and the art community challenge these ideas and ask them to come and seek growth versus complacency.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
Esoteric Dance Project typically offers Open Company Classes to the Advance/Pre-Professional and Professional levels Wednesdays 9:30-11pm

EDP’s Annual Fundraiser: Salute to Dance, An Afternoon of Support July 29th 12-3pm Tickets: $25 Advance/$35 Door. Tickets available at:

Correlated Mediums: August 31st-September 2nd 7pm at Links Hall. Tickets $20 Advance/$30 Door/$15 Student

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
PC: Cheryl Mann & Matthew Gregory Hollis

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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