Chambers of the Heart Production Development

 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 promises to be a ‘total and transformative experience’ full of powerful emotions and eye-opening adventures. 


The Inspiration

In 2014, Cynthia Word, Director of Word Dance Theater and Ingrid Zimmer, Associate Director, requested Jeanne Bresciani, Director of the Isadora Duncan International Institute,  to re-stage Isadora Duncan’s choreography to Johannes Brahms’ Sixteen Waltzes on Word Dance Theater.  These dances, entitled “The Many Faces of Love”, were said to be inspired by Duncan’s complex relationship with her lover Edward Gordon Craig. 

As we delved into closer examination of the classic pieces, they inspired further discussion and interest in the many and complex ways that Love moves in our lives.  We decided to create an evening-length work exploring the subject of Love, blending the Duncan masterpieces with contemporary Duncan-based choreography, and in the multi-disciplinary tradition of Word Dance Theater.  To manifest such a complex evening, WDT is in the process of experimenting with dances, sounds, text, etc. in stages, each stage informs us and will ultimately lead us towards the creation of the final "Chambers of the Heart" project.



Different phases of the Chambers of the Heart project have been performed to date at the following venues:

·         The Arts Club of Washington, Oct. 2014 and St. Albans Arts at Midday, February 2015 : “The Love Letters of Isadora Duncan”, Duncan’s famous choreography to Brahms’s Sixteen Waltzes, accompanied by WDT Musical Director, Carlos Ceasar Rodriguez, interspersed with readings from Duncan’s love letters to revolutionary stage designer Edward Gordon Craig.  In these salons we were able to experiment with the impact of adding text to and between the dances.


·         The Phillips Collection, July 2014: “Made in America” an evening of waltzes performed in front of images from the Philips Collections “Made in America” exhibition. This performance provided an opportunity to see the dances in front of beautiful projections.


·         Dance Place, June 2015: “Body/Soul”: our most expansive experimentation to date, “Body/Soul” was a multi-disciplinary exploration of LOVE and the many ways in which it appears in our lives. Word Dance Theater’s creative team of designers, directors, and choreographers, in addition to musicians and dancers, created a passionate world of “rooms of Love”.  Each room was a glimpse into an emotional landscape, from obsession to transformation, from intensely personal to universal.  At Dance Place we were able to layer in projections, stage lights, voice-over text, as well as present the Duncan Brahms Waltzes combined with 7 new dances choreographed in the Duncan style.  See the review for BODY|SOUL in the Washington Post.


 ePress Kit

Artistic Production Team
Body | Soul Announcement