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Madame Ovary

Madame Ovary merges Flaubert’s tragic tale of Madame Bovary with a present exploration of the body as a site of intuition, agency, and birth

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rehearsals begin

Posted on October 9, 2018 by Jody Oberfelder Projects

So proud of Missy Mazzoli!!! Amazing to be one of the first women composers selected by the MET. We’re thrilled to collaborate on Madame Ovary. Here’s a photo from today’s rehearsal.  (pictured: Lou Mandolini and Breckyn Drescher).  Oh the places we will go.


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Madame Ovary Prequel at Art in Odd Places

Posted on September 11, 2018 by Jody Oberfelder Projects

Come and participate in the prequel to Madame Ovary.   We will be stationed at the School of Immaculate Conception (SE side 14th St. between 1st and Ave. A) Saturday and Sunday, October 13/14,  12-3 pm, as part of Art in Odd Places. Gathering through conversation, the material gleaned will be part of our piece at the Flea theater May 15-19, 2019. http://body.artinoddplaces.org/artists/   (photo: Jody Oberfelder, pictured: Maya Orchin)


Madame Ovary merges Flaubert’s tragic story of Madame Bovary with a contemporary exploration of the body as a site of intuition, agency, and birth. With choreography by Jody Oberfelder and original music by Missy Mazzoli, this work focuses on the sociopolitical implications of the gut and genitals. This project will be born out of research into the spiritual attachment to the gut, centering particularly on intuition and sexuality in the female body. How has this region of the body been the site of intuition, agency, and birth? On the other hand, how has this region been a limiting space, reducing gender identity to genitalia?

Madame Ovary will explore the body’s relationship to the past, situating the body as a site for historical excavation and focused around the theme of wrinkles in time.

This work is the third in a trilogy of works following 4Chambers, which premiered at Arts@Renaissance in January of 2013, and The Brain Piece, which recently premiered at New York Live Arts in June of 2017. 4Chambers used immersive dance theater in a former hospital to explore the physiological and emotional workings of the human heart. The Brain Piece reimagined the usage of a proscenium theater to create an installation-driven performance to ask audiences to think about thought. Madame Ovary will be created as both a concert, a ‘play’ and dance, capitalizing on ‘settings’ associated with female discovery of power, from the boring boudoir settings of yore to tell a tale of modern women whose bodies are sites for love, passion, intuition and power.

The performers will do the work of both the archaeologist and museum docent, digging up histories and enlivening them for contemporary viewers as they ask audiences to move around the space for an interactive performance-tour. Colliding macro- and micro-experiences, the piece will pull from oral and movement histories to locate and construct personal and collective memories. It will attempt to make visible the minutiae of the individual stories so often overshadowed by larger, manmade narratives, weaving in personal objects to construct a relational memoir in real time. The piece’s collaged, multidisciplinary nature will allude to the ways time erodes memory to create an impressionistic experience of the past. A dancer leads the audience into a room; the performative actions create kinesthetic empathy; the story of someone from a century ago whose footsteps are long paved over seems real again. The intimate audience encounters will be paramount, as in the way an anecdotal history found in a long-forgotten corner tends to stick with us the most.

How does gaze and filter through one’s own lens of time and context, of history and presence. How do you gauge your own relationship to body, and its identification via genitalia, as a (political) landscape in time to be navigated with lusty inquiry? Missy Mazzoli will create 40 minutes of music for this dance/play/installation creating emotional depth of where we stand now, in an abundance of stories and voices.


Project Media

The Brain Piece (New York Live Arts) June 2017 Music: Missy Mazzoli
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The Brain Piece, presented June 28-July 1, at New York Live Arts, is both an installation and proscenium
performance, designed to allow audiences to have an intimate experience with their own
minds and bodies. Performed by Oberfelder with Mary Madsen, Pierre Guilbault, and Hannah Wendel,
The Brain Piece evokes tangible and interactive experiences, where dance, music, visual art, film, and words enliven the inner life of the brain through overlapping perceptual domains. Music by Missy Mazzoli, Daniel Wohl, Sean Hagerty and Angélica Negron.

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4CHAMBERS is a guided experience through a site-specific installation. Music: Andy Akiho. This installation inviting audience members to intimately experience the relationship between anatomical and emotional shifts, associated with the heart, through participating in the work. We created a spatial environment, transforming an interior space to resemble the four chambers of the heart. Each room, or chamber, will had a specific focus and quality: visual, auditory, psychological and physical.

Duet Quartet
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This piece is a film and a performance. The film “Duet” was created to reflect the intimacy and human scale of dancing with unborn child. “Duet Quartet” brings the film into live performance, a new solo for a presently pregnant woman.

Start and End Dates



New York, New York

2 updates
Last update on October 9, 2018

Project Created By

New York, New York
Jody Oberfelder is a director, choreographer, and filmmaker. Whether on a proscenium stage, in a film, or installation, her body of work serves up tangible, visceral experiences of presence that allow the opportunity for audiences to insert themselves into the art.   Her immersive work 4Chambers, a piece about the heart, was performed in an historic…

In Collaboration With

Brooklyn, New York


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