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The Brain Piece

The Brain Piece is a choreographed experience bridging art and science.

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New York Live Arts World Premiere of The Brain Piece

Posted on June 6, 2017 by Jody Oberfelder Projects

With gorgeous music by Daniel Wohl, Missy Mazzoli, Angelica Negron, and Andy Akiho, and sound design by Sean Hagerty and Almeda Beynon, we are READY to premiere our The Brain Piece! 

For Tickets: http://newyorklivearts.org/event/brain-piece/

Choreographer and dancer Jody Oberfelder, creator of 4Chambers, a dance about the human heart, is now taking on the brain. The Brain Piece, presented June 28-July 1, at New York Live Arts, is part installation and part proscenium performance, designed to allow audiences to have an intimate experience with their own minds and bodies. Only 72 audience members at a time are invited, yielding a personalized and engaging experience. 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.

With set design by Juergen Riehm (with Penelope Phy and Tine Kindermann), lighting design by Kate Bashore, and film by Eric Siegel and Oberfelder, her new work invites the audience to be part of an immersive cerebral and sensorial installation, leading spectators through various spaces, each dedicated to one aspect of the brain. Entering the intellectual and sensorial world of The Brain Piece, the audience has access to a heightened subjective experience of the brain. The piece celebrates the brain’s neuroplasticity, the ability to form connections. “My new work illuminates the “dance” that continuously takes place in our minds,” states Oberfelder. “By watching and participating in the piece, the audience will experience their brains moving, dancing, working and playing, and understand dance as a language that goes directly to the brain.”

We hope you’ll come!!

More Updates ▼

AV prep for Euro Tour

Posted on September 28, 2016 by Jody Oberfelder Projects

Sean Hagerty working with our Stage Manager Anna McDunn formatting all the new music and film into Qlab.


October 7,8 Gallus Theater Frankfurt

October 15 NoD, Prague

TDF Stages Story

Posted on August 30, 2016 by Jody Oberfelder Projects
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I’m super proud of this profile.  

Trailer : The Brain Piece

Posted on July 19, 2016 by Jody Oberfelder Projects
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Short video from our performance at Dance Place in Washington DC. Next stop Prague and Frankfurt. 

Imagine Science Film Festival

Posted on October 3, 2015 by Jody Oberfelder Projects

Honored to be part of the Imagine Science Film Festival! Composer  Daniel Wohl’s music is featured in Dance of the Neurons,a stand along film short, co-directed by Jody Oberfelder and Eric Siegel. We’re on Sunday, October 18th at 2:30 at the New School along with a featured film and one other short.

Jody is mischievously introducing the piece with an excerpt of the live performance The Brain Piece: http://imaginesciencefilms.org/newyork/#schedulejump

Mushroom brain

Posted on September 8, 2015 by Jody Oberfelder Projects

Ideas are organically growing, mushrooming, in fact. 

Research + Recharging

Posted on August 4, 2015 by Jody Oberfelder Projects

It’s been that kind of summer, researching and continuing conversations with neuroscientists, dancers and designers. Reading some excellent books and papers, (sometimes in a hammock) on the mind and perception. I loved Oliver Sack’s book “Musicophillia” and I’m in the midst Patricia Pister’s book “The Neuro Image.” Today I’m thinking about perception of movement–where the head and body meet. Brilliant meeting with Cecilia Fonatnesi, both dancer and neuroscientist. “The brain is everywhere in the body.”

The Brain Piece

Posted on July 8, 2015 by Jody Oberfelder Projects

Photo collage: Kevin Konnyu

Our Canadian Tour –The Brain Piece expands

Posted on June 8, 2015 by Jody Oberfelder Projects

What an incredible experience.  Our reidency in Guelph, Ontario included incorporating local professional dancers into our performance. A rich process ensued. The Brain Piece is still expanding.  Here’s a pic from our first international tour, and our first augmented cast.

On tour in Canada

Posted on May 30, 2015 by Jody Oberfelder Projects

We’ve just arrived in Canada. Excited for our week long residency in the Guelph Dance Festival.  
More info here: http://www.guelphdance.ca/festival/stage-b-2015/

The Brain Piece

Posted on May 13, 2015 by Jody Oberfelder Projects
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Here’s a clip from the film Dance of the Neurons which kickes off The Brain Piece. Our  April 29th  one-night-stand performance at Dixon Place was a great opportunity for this new project to take on a life, igniting new neruonal connections. We’d like to connect with you! We’re looking for new venues to perform  The Brain Piece in the future.

Thank you New Music USA for helping us realize this project. Daniel Wohl’s music, played live by the remarkable pianist Vicky Chow was phenomenal. Sean Hagerty’s sound design and composer Angelica Negron’s music rocked.  A special thanks to all the dancers involved: Mary Madsen, Madeline Wilcox and Ben Follensbee and our 5 brain “docents.”

Next up: 3 NYC Dancers travel to the Guelph Dance Festival in Canada for a residency and performance which will include 3 Canadian dancers (June 1-6).  To see more about this project: http://www.jodyoberfelder.com/the-brain-piece.php, or contact me directly jody@jodyoberfelder.com

Ticket link (corrected)

Posted on April 24, 2015 by Jody Oberfelder Projects

For tickets: https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/943968  

April 29, 7:30 PM

Dixon Place 161 Christie St. NYC

Collaborators galore

Posted on April 24, 2015 by Jody Oberfelder Projects

Behind the scenes with Ioannis Oikonomu, set designer and Eric Siegel,  co-director and editor of Dance of the Neuron, our film within the show. We hope to see you all April 29th at Dixon Place. It’s  The Brain Piece’s first time in a theater. 

For tickets: https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pe.c/998654

Daniel Wohl’s music (for the film “Dance of the Neurons” and live, played by Vicky Chow on piano, and Sean Hagerty’s sound design make this performance rich. Also featured is Angelica Negrons beautiful music.

Dixon Place Performance of The Brain Piece

Posted on April 21, 2015 by Jody Oberfelder Projects

Great rehearsal to day with Daniel Wohl and Vicky Chow. Live music makes things pop. Now is the time to get tickets for THE BRAIN PIECE  at Dixon Place April 29, 2014. This is the first iteration. We hope you’ll join us. 

Check out this newsletter from Schirmer Publishing.  http://www.musicsalesclassical.com/news/3179  Daniel is one of their esteemed artists. I feel so lucky.


Sound designer Sean Hagerty

Posted on April 14, 2015 by Jody Oberfelder Projects

This week Sean Hagerty came to rehearsal. He’s so intuitive. We worked together on my heart piece: 4Chambers.  This time, for The Brain Piece, he’s creating sound specifically for the audience interactive sections  This is tip of the iceberg–more to discover. We’re showing a prototype at Dixon Place on April 29. More information here: http://www.jodyoberfelder.com/the-brain-piece.php.

Dance of the Neurons

Posted on March 31, 2015 by Jody Oberfelder Projects

Exciting editing session yesterday (with collaborator Eric Siegel) for the film ‘Dance of the Neurons,’ shot with 24 dancers. Daniel Wohl’s music compliments this brainy beauty. Here’s a screen shot peak.

Composer Daniel Wohl and Pianist Vicky Chow

Posted on March 18, 2015 by Jody Oberfelder Projects

Live music makes the air tingle.

Pianist Vicky Chow and Daniel WohI came to our rehearsal at the Paul Taylor Dance Studios yesterday.  Incredible to hear how Danie’s arrangements for live piano change the texture in thre room, and feel  dancers Ben Follensbee, Mary Madsen, and Madeline Wilcox respond. 

Cloning the choreographer

Posted on February 16, 2015 by Jody Oberfelder Projects

Photo: Marty Gottleib 

Film shot

Posted on February 11, 2015 by Jody Oberfelder Projects

With a cast of 24, including 2 neuroscientsis, we gathered  footage for ‘Dance of the Neuron,” which will be part of the live Brain Piece, and a stand along short film. Eric Siegel, co-director, rigged an overhead at the Paul Taylor Dance Studios. .Can’t wait to see the footage!

Costumes for The Brain Piece

Posted on January 28, 2015 by Jody Oberfelder Projects

We had a major disaster when I dry cleaned these gold costume pieces. I followed the  instructions, even though my instinct was to hand wash–all the metallic gold came off, they came back black, with just a hint of silver! Luckily Marcia Patmos, the designer, was kind enough to replace the damaged pieces.  This photo, by Jim Coleman, were taken at an informal ‘behind the scenes’ showing last week at Gibney Dance.  


Thank you New Music USA!

Posted on January 22, 2015 by Jody Oberfelder Projects

All three of us attended the Awards Cermmony last night. What an honor  to have funds for this collaboration.  This support and belief in our project will  take us far! L. to R. Sean Hagerty, Jody Oberfelder, Daniel Wohl.


The Brain Piece is a choreographed experience bridging art and science.  This immersive performance examines perception, memory, and consciousness — how “neurons that wire together fire together.”  Oberfelder’s new work will weave together Daniel Wohl’s music and Sean Hagerty’s sound design to give participants an experience referencing the dance that is going on in your head all the time.  The Brain Piece will be performed in several iterations over the next two years, from workshop to premiere, beginning with an in-development performance April 29th 2015 at Dixon Place.  We will be developing a large-scale film project in the spring and summer of 2015.  The full premiere of The Brain Piece will occur late fall 2015.

Daniel Wohl will adapt his pieces Pixilated, Limbs, and Holographic for the choreography.  He will create a live arrangement for pianist Vicky Chow, whom also performed in Oberfelder’s THROB, which included Andy Akiho pieces played onstage by his ensemble.  Sean Hagerty, sound designer, will weave voiceovers of neuroscientists and ‘on the street’ interviews with pedestrians about what they ‘think’ thought is, recorded during Jody’s piece “Street Greet”– part of ‘Art in Odd Places’ (October 9-12, 2014).   In addition, Mr. Hagerty will create environmental sound, triggered by live audience interaction.  Sean will also compose a fresh take Virginia reel styled cognitive square dance, played live.

Science and art lead us to connect with and experience the world.  You could say science is objective and art is subjective, yet there is an overlap.  Following her examination of personal connections with our hearts, THROB (for which Oberfelder received a 2011 New Music USA grant for Andy Akiho’s compositions and live performance) and 4Chambers (an immersive piece performed on Governors Island and Arts@Renaissance, Brooklyn 2013-14), this new work accentuates our perception of brain life.

Other collaborators include neuroscientists Dr. Wendy Suzuki, Dr. Andre Fenton, Dr. Roozbeh Kiani, Dr. Gary Marcus and Dr. Weiji Ma.  Employing dance, music, interactive sound, and film, The Brain Piece gives the audience agency to intuitively learn about their minds in motion.  The set and temporal progression of the audience will address how the mind attempts to make sense of the world.  Spatially structuring the piece with scenes into which the audience (physically or metaphorically) enters, the physical dance happens continuously. Honoring the main ‘ingredient’ as ‘the person’, Oberfelder allows audiences to shine a light on their own thinking process, as if onstage within their own minds.  Together with collaborators, Jody Oberfelder will create a ‘script’ and curate the audiences’ experience, illuminating a network of connections. Participants will experience a society within their own brains, and their minds within a larger community where art and science converge.  The Brain Piece inspires connections within the thinking body.

Project Media

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Oberfelder’s THROB tackles the story as well as the science of the heart — getting at its substance by examining how we experience shifts in the dancers’ microcosmic relationships. A “scientist” (sound designer) captures the dancers pulses in real time. Andy Akiho’s score, for which we received a New Music USA grant in 2011, powers this physical and emotional work.

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Features: Daniel Wohl

Daniel will arrange an adaptation of Limbs for The Brain Piece, featuring pianist Vicky Chow, who played piano for Andy Akiho’s piece by JOP: THROB.

Daniel Wohl – Limbs – Performed by TRANSIT
For piano, percussion, bass clarinet, violin, cello and electronics
Limbs is taken from the album “Corps Exquis” available on New Amsterdam Records
Video by Satan’s Pearl Horses
Music Recorded by Daniel Wohl, and TRANSIT (David Friend – piano, Andie Springer – violin, Evelyn Farny – cello, Sara Budde – clarinet, Joe Bergen – percussion)

4Chambers Intro
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This work sample is from the “4Chambers Waiting Room,” designed by Sean Hagerty. Similar to this work sample, we will include brain-related medical writing, and neuroscientists’ commentary in “The Brain Piece.”

Start and End Dates



New York, New York

22 updates
Last update on June 6, 2017

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

Los Angeles, California
Sound Designer
New York, New York


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