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An Exploration of the Evolving Terrain of Womanhood, Gender, and Biology

NEW YORK, February 28, 2019 – Jody Oberfelder Projects, known for their immersive dance experiences of inventive athleticism, wit, and whimsy, presents Madame Ovary at The Flea Theater, May 15-19, 2019. The final installation in a series of body-centric multimedia explorations, Madame Ovary commits to examine the role biology and anatomy play in defining identity through a humanistic and thoughtful lens.

Informal and interactive, Oberfelder will provide a discovery prologue for audiences upon their arrival— an outdoor (weather permitting) treasure hunt to examine items, their potential gender or ownership, and the gender-centric hands by which they were created. This conversation folds into the theatrical work in The Flea’s Sam Theater. In building a collage-like evening delving into topics of identity, the full-length work will employ modern dance in its many forms. Incorporating film, spoken word and an original score by Missy Mazzoli, the work focuses simply on the gut and genitals asking how are we defined by our bodies, or not? Addressing the gender schema theories and the body as a site of intuition, agency and identity, the project uses Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary’s story of a corseted life amid 19th Century social constructions as a springboard to address and provoke conversation on today’s gender revolution and the #metoo movement armed with empathy, humor, embroidered breastplates, and badass rocker panache.

“From the literal female power of conceiving life to the small but impactful revolutions by the feminine hand throughout history, it is time to explore, honor and tear down the archetypes,” explains Oberfelder. “This is a power piece for everyone because there is great power in simply living in our biology and celebrating the things that define who we are. It’s BYOB—bring your own body and bring your own identity.”

Madame Ovary is the third work in Oberfelder’s body-part trilogy, following the heart, 4Chambers, (performed as an immersive installation on Governors Island and a former hospital in Brooklyn, 2013-14) and The Brain Piece, (at New York Live Arts in June 2017).


Madame Ovary will run from May 15-18 at 7:00 p.m., and May 19 at 3:00 p.m. An opening night gala on May 15 will include a post-performance reception with champagne and sumptuous fare.

General admission tickets are $20, with opening night gala tickets $150. Tickets can be purchased at

The Flea Theater’s Sam Theater is located in Tribeca at 20 Thomas Street (between Broadway and Church Streets) and accessible from the A/C/E, 1,2,3 and J/M/Z at Chambers Street, the N/Q at Canal Street and the R/W and 4/5/6 at City Hall.

Madame Ovary| World Premiere

Created/written and directed: Jody Oberfelder (in collaboration with performers) Lighting: Kathy Kaufmann
Music: Missy Mazzoli (with generous contributions from New Music USA)
Pianist: Isabelle O’Connell

Rock songs written by Jody Oberfelder, arranged by bassist Elizabeth Hart
Sound Design: Almeda Beynon
Costumes: Jody Oberfelder
Dancers: Elizabeth Hart (bass), Emily Giovine, Lou Mandolini, Mary Madsen, Jody Oberfelder, Maya Orchin, Mei Yamanaka

With empathy, humor and badass rocker panache, Oberfelder celebrates a woman’s power in the world. A devised dance theater work, Madame Ovary dives deep into women’s lives, and how one’s body is a site for agency, intuition, and birth, as well as a limiting space, reducing gender identity to genitalia. Oberfelder and her collaborators cross-reference Flaubert’s Madame Bovary’s story of Emma Bovary’s corseted life amid 19th Century social constructions with where we are now.


Jody Oberfelder is a director, choreographer, and filmmaker, creating visceral experiences for audiences, onstage and in alternative sites. Focused on the elements that link humans to one another, her work successfully maps internal dialogues

Through Oberfelder’s raw, athletically expressive, and personal movement vocabulary, methodology and creative process, she

attempts to portray and illuminate connectivity to one’s own mind and to others. Oberfelder is interested in what it means to be present, affected by the environment, forging deeper connections. Her work has been shown internationally in venues including St. Pancras Station (International Nanotechnology Summit, Museu dos Biskeínhos (Braga, Portugal), NoD (Prague), Gallus Theater (Frankfurt), Guelph Dance Festival (Canada), New York Live Arts, PS 122, 92 Y, Dixon Place, Lincoln Center, and others. Her most recent project “The Brain Piece” premiered at New York Live Arts June 2017.