Chambers of the Heart

World Premier:  November 11-13, 2016

 Word Dance Theater's Chambers of the Heart  is a one-of-a-kind journey, transforming one of Washington DC’s most beautiful and historic mansions into a total immersive experience of love in its many manifestations. Through the weaving of dance, theater, music, opera, and media design, each room of the 1927 Renaissance revival mansion will be re-imagined into an environmental and artistic expression of the many ways love appears in our lives. Attendees of this unique performance will freely explore various scenes thus creating their own journey of emotion and remembrance both personal and collective.   Chambers of the Heart is a ‘total and transformative experience’ full of powerful emotions and eye-opening adventures.


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"[Chambers of the Heart] left one with a lot to think about on the nature of performance - and how we relate to it." Read More 
-Sarah Kaufmann, Washington Post 

"Word Dance Theatre's Chambers of the Heart offered a much needed escape into the immersive reality full of breath and love." Read More
- R.K. Pendergrass, DC Theater Scene   

 "Duncan was not known for constraint, she was known for passion.  And at this Word Dance Theater succeeded.  They truly put it all out on the tale, and the audience ate it up."  Read More
-  Taryn Packheiser Brown, DC Dance Journalism Project 

The Creative Team

Word Dance Theater is honored to work with an outstanding creative team to make this production a reality.  

Members of the Chambers of the Heart creative team include: 

CONCEPT: Cynthia Word
DIRECTORS OF DANCE: Cynthia Word and Ingrid Zimmer
DIRECTOR OF THEATER:  Jenny McConnell Frederick
DIRECTOR OF MUSIC:  Carlos Cesar Rodriquez
COSTUME DESIGN: Judith Hansen 


Cynthia Word, Artistic Director, Director of Dance

Cynthia Word is the Founder and Artistic Director of Word Dance.  Born and raised in Abilene, Texas, Ms. Word has a Bachelor of Science for the University of Texas/Austin, but began her Modern Dance training at the University of Illinois with choreographers Beverly Blossom, Chester Wolenski, Mary Anthony, and Sarah Rudner. She later received her Master in Fine Arts from The George Washington University, where she served on the teaching faculty.   

Based in Washington, DC, Ms. Word and Word Dance Theater create Isadora Duncan-based dance/theater productions, blending compelling story, live music, and the dances of Isadora Duncan to create theatrical productions that are powerfully engaging to audiences.  Her most recent creation, co-produced with the Department of Performing Arts at Georgetown University, is the award-winning Once Wild: Isadora in Russia which had its world premiere May 3 thru 5, 2013 at the Davis Performing Arts Center, Washington DC.   

In addition to her dance/theater productions, Word has performed as a soloist in Austria, England, Scotland and Iran. In 2009 she toured Greece as a featured artist with the Isadora Duncan International Institute. The IDII awarded Cynthia the prestigious Maria-Teresa Duncan Award for Excellence in November 2010 for the mix media theater/dance production Preludes: Duncan, Sand & Chopin which presented for the first time since 1949 Isadora Duncan’s choreography to Chopin’s “The Twenty Four Preludes”.  


Ingrid Zimmer, Co-Director of Dance

Ingrid Zimmer is Associate Director of Word Dance Theater. Ms. Zimmer received a Bachelor of Arts in Dance/Theatre from Pomona College where she was trained in the Limon Technique.  Upon graduating, she moved to Europe where she toured, performed and studied dance at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen, Germany under the artistic direction of Pina Bausch. Now residing in Washington DC,  Ms Zimmer has danced with local companies, Bowen McCauley Dance, DC Dance Theatre and Rincones & Company.  Ms. Zimmer has performed in major national venues including the Kennedy Center, Jacobs Pillow and the 92nd St Y. Her international touring has taken her to China, Mexico, Greece, France, the Netherlands and Italy. Currently immersed in the study of Isadora Ducan's philosophy, technique and choreography, Ms. Zimmer trains at the Isadora Duncan International Institute in New York.


Jenny McConnell Frederick, Director of Theater

Jenny McConnell Frederick is the co-Artistic Director of Rorschach Theatre. She founded the company in the summer of 1999 with Randy Baker.

For Rorschach, she has directed the Helen Hayes Nominated Voices Underwater and God of Vengeance as well as Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, Dead City, This Storm is What We Call Progress, Rough Magic, The Arabian Night, The Scarlet Letter, Master and Margarita, A Clearing in the Woods, and The Illusion. In 2015, she conceived of and directed Truth & Beauty Bombs, an original work based on the Canadian web comic “A Softer World.”

Jenny also serves as Director of Artistic Programs (and currently Interim Deputy Director) at CulturalDC.  As Artistic Director of CulturalDC’s Source Festival she oversees the selection, development and production of 24 new works for the stage each year. Through the Mead Theatre Lab Program, she directs the artist selection and recruitment process and oversees the Theatre Lab’s advisory panel.  She works closely with artists in both programs to create, develop and produce their own work.

In the DC Area she has directed for Theater J (G_d’s Honest Truth), Young Playwrights Theatre and Catholic University (Fifi & Hunter Forever).  She’s served as a mentor director for the Theatre Lab’s Honors Acting Conservatory and for the Kennedy Centers American College Theatre Festival. She was was recently the featured speaker at the CityWrights Conference in Miami.

Jenny is a member of Young Playwrights Theatre Artistic Company and a former member of the Helen Hayes Awards Board of Governors and the Hub Theatre Advisory Board.  Work developed and produced by Jenny at the Source Festival boasts multiple National New Play Network Rolling World Premieres, several American Theatre Critics Association Steinberg Award Nominations and an Osborn Award Winner.  She graduated cum laude from Virginia Commonwealth University with a BFA in Theatre.


Carlos Cesar Rodriguez, Director of Music

Carlos Cesar Rodriguez is a musician of brilliance and versatility recognized as a virtuoso pianist who not only generates excitement in the Hispanic and Spanish repertoire, but also displays an extraordinary flair for Mozart, the romantics and the avant-garde scores. He has recorded for Omicron and Brioso labels and has won the highest critical acclaims for his CD of Spanish music, España en el Corazón, distributed by Brioso Recordings. He is an expert on early instruments and is privileged to have access to the Smithsonian Institution’s rare collection. Mr. Rodríguez was chosen by the Smithsonian to perform during its 300th year celebration of the piano. He was also invited to participate in the 150th anniversary celebration of the Smithsonian Institution. Mr. Rodríguez has won acclaim as music director of Mozart operas and Zarzuelas (Spanish operas), and as a composer, arranger, and improviser of ballets, Spanish dance scores, and Latin-Jazz/Pop compositions.  Currently, Mr. Rodríguez is a member of the piano faculty at the Levine School of Music in Washington, DC, and guest artist and coach for the Domingo/Cafritz Young Artist Program with the Washington National Opera.


Robbie Hayes, Technical Director and Light Design


James Bigbee Garver, Sound Design and Engineering

James Bigbee Garverhas been creating sonic inventions and music since 2000. He often mixes the timbres of acoustic instruments with synthetic audio to sculpt imagined textures and environments, sometimes danceable, sometimes hummable, often neither. His tools typically consist of original compositions, sampled music, spoken words, sound effects, and live signal processing. In Washington, DC his music and sound designs have been heard at Woolly Mammoth, Signature, Studio, The Folger, and Round House theaters, among others. In New York his work has been heard at Lincoln Center, PS-122, Japan Society, Joyce SoHo, 92Y Harkness Dance, and on Long Island at Robert Wilson's Watermill Center. His designs for interactive media have been installed at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and American History, American Museum of Natural History, the Megapolis Audio Festival. More information at


Judith Hansen, Costume Design

Judith Hansen,a native Washingtonian,  has created costumes for  American Ballet Theater, Joffrey Ballet, Kirov Ballet, The Washington Ballet, Dana Tai Soon Burgess & Co,  Nejla Yatkin NY2Dance, Word Dance, Robert Battle, Karen Reedy Dance, Dakshina, Eric Hampton Dance, The Maryland Youth Ballet, Natalie Moffet-Smith DanceSmith, CityDance Ensemble, The Juilliard School, George Washington University, Clancyworks, Rincones and Company Dance Theater, Universal Ballet,Deborah Riley ,Alvin Mayes and Maida Withers. Ms. Hansen has created new costumes for the works of Isadora Duncan, Anna Sokolow and Twyla Tharp. Ms. Hansen is the recipient of 3 Metro D.C. DanceAwards for Excellence in Costume Design.In addition to dance Ms. Hansen has created costumes for the Washington Opera, Opera Lafayette,The Shakespeare Theatre, The Warehouse Theatre Players, The Eleven O'Clock Show, The Shakespeare Summer Festival and Theatre Fifty-Four. 


Click here to follow our journey through the development of Chambers of the Heart