Dance review: ’4Chambers’ explores matters of the heart

It's a whole new meaning for "women leaning in" at "4Chambers." Credit: Julie Lemberger
It’s a whole new meaning for “women leaning in” at “4Chambers.”
Credit: Julie Lemberger

Tired of sitting half a block from performers in huge theaters? Try lying on the floor as their video images flutter on the ceiling or having dancers twirl you across a living-room floor. Let them place your hand on their chests to feel their pounding hearts.  Interact with them in a room hung with deep-red curtains. Watch and listen as your fellow spectators grapple with secrets.

Governors Island, the historic site in Upper New York Bay, now harbors a variety of recreational activities, including a homemade miniature golf course and art classes for kids. Ten minutes’ walk from free ferries connecting the island to lower Manhattan and Brooklyn sits a neat yellow house on a tree-lined path. Its empty rooms, painted pink, host “4CHAMBERS,” an hour-long “journey into the human heart” conceived by choreographer Jody Oberfelder.  Her piece includes film, original music, moody lighting and sleek design. She’ll lock up your bags so your hands are free to participate.

Five times a day, six performers guide audiences of 12 through the cottage’s four spaces, where visitors partner dancers, sit for interviews with a mysterious fellow on video, hear commentary on the relation of the brain to the heart, take in the tale of a dancer who survived his own coronary interruption and monitor heart rates — their own and those of the busy dancers.

Interesting ideas come together here, in a program suitable for viewers over age 8 who can climb stairs and are game to engage, physically, with lovely young performers. “The heart wants what it wants,” Woody Allen famously said. Oberfelder’s house-as-heart welcomes you.

If you go

Jody Oberfelder Dance Projects’ ’4CHAMBERS’
Saturday and Sunday through July 21
Officers House 15
Governors Island
Donation: $25
www.jodyoberfelder.com



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