Brain dance! New W’burg ballet explores science of thinking

Brain dance! New W’burg ballet explores science of thinking
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

This ballet has brains and brawn.

Visual art and dance will collide in Williamsburg next weekend at the debut of choreographer Julia Gleich’s new ballet “The Brodmann Areas” at the Center for Performance Research.

The production, which came together in only three weeks and runs from April 12 to April 15, features six dancers interpreting how different regions of the brain, called the Brodmann areas, affect how the body moves.

“Each dance will be built around an idea that may have something to do with the Brodmann Areas and we’re going to use that as an idea to investigate how the body can work within the dance context — and we’re going to put that into art,” said Gleich.

Gleich and her collaborators, including Bushwick artists Paul D’Agostino, Audra and Margo Wolowiec, and gallery director Jason Andrew, brainstormed choreography that reflects how thoughts and emotions mix, including a duet with a male dancer playing the brain’s gray matter and a female dancer as its white matter, and a solo piece where a performer acts out the digits of Pi to 170 decimal places.

“What I found is that as I choreographed Pi, my dancer can recite every digit and she’s remembering it as a movement,” said Gleich.

The ballet will also feature D’Agostino’s black and white images projected onto a wall adjacent to the dancers, the Wolowiecs’ sound and video creations, as well as props like oranges, ladders, and chalkboards — though Gleich hasn’t figured out exactly how she’ll put everything together.

Andrew, who is producing the show, said bringing artists of different media together for a dance performance is its own success, and if the performance is anything like Andrew and Gleich’s well-reviewed production last year, then audiences can expect something special.

“We’ll be ready to go on April 12 with something spectacular and surprising,” he said. “You can’t go wrong with so many brilliant artists working together.

“The Brodmann Areas: A New Ballet from Norte Maar” at Center for Performance Research [361 Manhattan Ave. between Jackson Street and Withers Street, Williamsburg (646) 361-8512], April 12–14, 7:30 pm. April 15, 2 pm. Tickets $25, $20 for seniors and students. Visit www.nortemaar.org.

Reach reporter Aaron Short at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2547.