“’The Elephant In The Room’ adds a healthy scoop of dark philosophy to the typically light fare of clowning."

 - D.C. Theatre Scene

“Gwirtz and Baumann have great energy, a quirky sense of humor, and are powerful physical comedians.”

 - D.C. Metro Theater Arts


4 stars from DC Metro Theater Arts! Read the full review. 
Another great review from DC Theatre Scene.


Right Brain Performancelab


Right Brain Performancelab’s surrealistic vaudevillian physical-theater fuses the comic and tragic into one highly entertaining performance experience!

RBP began in 1998 in San Francisco as an experimental collaboration between dancer Jennifer Gwirtz and solo artist John Baumann. Described by Nicole Gluckstern of the SF Bay Guardian as creating a “quirkily cerebral brand of performance art,” Gwirtz and Baumann assembled like-minded artists to create full length works for the stage, site specific and alternative venues that speak fluent performance art in the style of circus, with the occasional ballet reference and enthusiastic nods towards traditional western theater forms. Now a culturally risk-taking ensemble of dancers, theater artists and musicians, they blend their disciplines to explore humanity and existence by way of metaphor.

Right Brain Performancelab has performed at ODC Theater, CounterPULSE, NOHspace, Dance Mission, The Jewish Theater, Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, in private homes and site-specific locations.  

Active Repertoire

Past Works:

  • 2015 "The Elephant In The Room"
  • 2014, 2013 - "What Stays"
  • 2012 - "Gravity (and other large things.)"
  • 2010 - "The Elephant In The Room" (work-in-progress)
  • 2006 – “Objects In Mirror Are Stranger Than Fiction”
  • 2005 – “State Of The Union/Anonymous Sources”
  • 2002 – “Tempest In A Teapot", "The Bank Tour"
  • 2001 – “Drifter”
  • 1999 – “First Story,” “CAN”

Small Scale/Alternative Site Performance Works

  • 2011 – “Spies”
  • 2003 – “The New World Ergonomy”
  • 2002 – “The Bank Tour”

Right Brain Performancelab is a fiscally sponsored project of Dancers’ Group.

Marvelous people

without whom none of this would be possible...

Deborah Stearns & Eryq
Sarah Davies
Jo Gray
Bob and Sarah Freedman
Loren R. Robertson
Todd Claybaugh
Lisa Claybaugh
Akiva Potok
Stephen Snyder
Dave Rodgers
Jennifer A. Minore
John Hayes
Ken Paul Rosenthal
David McKay
Lois and Richard E. Gwirtz
David Hirata
Lisa Phipps
Jerre Dye
Deb Walker
Ronnie Oliver
Melinda Baumann
Jordan Otis
Gloria BoehmYu
Edward & Tomoko Schocker

Many thanks to Coastal Repertory Theater for their assistance with our 2016 video shoot. 



Happening now

The Elephant In The Room is a transcendent and exuberant romp wherein a large pachyderm-like entity invisibly inhabits the stage, intriguing and confounding a cast of clowns who dance, cavort and sing their efforts to define it, themselves and the peculiar world that spawned such absurdity. This full length piece features silliness and sadness in equal measure, dance, musical numbers and physical theater with original music by composer Dave Rodgers and lighting design by Allen Willner. 

This energetic high-spirited evening is fully involving for adults and also excellent for family audiences. See below for our upcoming shows!

The Elephant IN The Room

Comes to DC's Capital Fringe Festival...

An East Coast premiere performance by San Francisco’s strangest duo…

WASHINGTON—An exuberant romp wherein a large, unseen pachyderm-like entity intrigues and confounds a cast of clowns who stumble and cavort their way towards a bittersweet reconciliation with shadows, metaphorical masks, and the act of performance. The “Elephant In The Room” is an evening of musical theater-inspired clowning, Butoh-inspired dance, light slapstick, heavy thoughts and original songs by composer Dave Rodgers about that obvious but rarely noticed important thing in every real or imaginary room.


Wednesday, July 13 6pm
Friday, July 15 8:45pm
Sunday, July 17, 3pm
Tuesday, July 19, 6:15pm
Wednesday, July 20, 8:30pm


Lab II - Atlas Performing Arts Center
1333 H Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002


By bus: Accessible by the X2, X8 and X9 buses and a 20 minute walk from the Union Station Metro Stop. (Visit WMATA.com for the Metro trip planner.) 

From 295: Take the Kenilworth Avenue Southbound exit at Benning Road. Continue west on Benning Road NE. Benning will end and become H Street NE at a large intersection with Bladensburg Road and H Street. Go two blocks east on H Street NE, the Atlas will be on your left.

From Virginia: Take 395 North towards Washington, DC. Take exit 6 on the right toward D Street NW, US Senate. Take exit 10 toward Massachusetts Avenue. Continue straight onto 2nd Street NW. Turn right onto H Street NE. The Atlas will be on your right.

From Maryland: From Capital Beltway South. Take 95 North toward Baltimore. Take exit 2A-B to merge onto 295 N toward Washington National Harbor. Keep right on Anacostia Freeway N toward 395, Capitol Hill. Exit left onto Benning Road. Turn left onto Benning Road. The Atlas will be on your left.

Biking: The Atlas now has convenient access to the new Capital Bikeshare program. The closest station is at 13th and H Streets NE across the street from the theatre.

Ticket links to come! 

#CapFringe16, #ElephantInIheRoom16, #CapFringeSoldOut, #RightBrainPerformancelab

This production is presented as a part of the 2016 Capital Fringe Festival, a program of the Washington, DC non-profit Capital Fringe.

Would you like a visit from The Elephant? See the form below for booking information.

Name *

Core Company

Second Tier Company

Associate artists and Past collaborators

Bob Marsh

Natalie Marsh

Jennifer A. Minore

Apryl Renee Pipe

Dave Rodgers (Composer)

JoAnn Selisker

Bob Webb

backstage & consulting artists

Lighting Design: Allen Willner

Costume Design: Lisa Claybaugh

Directorial Consultant: Christopher White

Stage Management: Bob Webb

Sound Engineer: Patrick Simms

Photography: Steven Gelberg, Kegan Marling, Lance Huntley

Masks: Masque Arrayed/Annie Hallatt



Daily Training and Improvisations for Human Bodies

This class is a basic daily physical training for artmaking from a thorough warm-up to deep, full-body motion and improvisation. Students will explore their own body mechanics and gravity as part of a detailed approach to small- and large-framed movement. Focus is on alignment and building strength, stability, balance and resilience. This class is 1 or 1.5 hours, appropriate for daily practice by both dancers and able-bodied non-dancers. -Taught by Jennifer Gwirtz and/or Laura Marsh.


This method is an enjoyable, beautifully low-impact, but fully four-dimensional practice. It is the perfect daily movement class for all ages. The class begins seated, then moves to the floor, progressing through all possible spinal motions: arch, curl, lateral bends, undulations and spirals to relax and massage the organs, create space in the joints, shape and strength in the muscles, ending with a full-body sense of length, resilience and calm. Originally created by Juliu Horvath, there are sixty and ninety-minute formats to this class. -Taught by Jennifer Gwirtz

For more specific information on GYROKINESIS®, check out Jen's site.

Pilates Mat

This is your basic meat-and-potatoes multi-level low-impact mat class for all ages and levels of experience, based on the work of Joseph Pilates and informed by the work of Eve Gentry, Judith Aston and others. In this daily practice class we work lying down on a mat towards strength and flexibility in all planes with the goal of functionality in everyday life. -Taught by Jennifer Gwirtz

For more specific information on Pilates, check out Jen's site.


Seeds To Shoots: Growing New Work

Join Jennifer Gwirtz and Laura Marsh for a fun and intensive two-day workshop to grow new interdisciplinary pieces from the bottom up. This workshop is performance technique and composition with the goal of starting hardy new seedlings for new work and is for artistically adventuresome individuals of all ages and levels of experience.

The first part of each four-hour session will be conditioning movement work based on contemporary dance, Butoh, Gyrokinesis concepts, Pilates and yoga. The second half of each day will be playing with methods of work generation using words, movement, codes and games, blending and intersecting each person’s discoveries.

Each student will finish with a little work-sprout and (we hope!) some big ideas!

This workshop is appropriate for all levels of experience.

Micromotions: Playing on the small scale

This class is an improvisation-based exploration of small movements, how to make them count, to give them weight and to use timing to create a dynamics of focus and energy. The goal of the work is to learn more about the tiny motions and gestures that come together to give each performer their unique qualities, to grow in awareness, control and intuition as students learn more about their deep, performative selves.  There will be a thorough dance-based warm-up. This class is geared towards seasoned performers with dance, theater or physical theater experience, to be taught as a two- to three-day workshop. Physical limitations are welcome! -Taught by Jennifer Gwirtz

Intentional Storytelling By The Seat Of Your Pants

Free yourself from text-based narrative as we create theater generated in immediate action.  This two-session class will explore how to develop plots and actionthrough a variety of methods, utilizing structured improvisation, guided group exercises and personal history.  Bring your story ideas, an open mind and comfortable clothes to move in.  This workshop is for dancers and non-dancers alike. No dance experience is necessary.  -Taught by John Baumann

Wordplay In Motion

Join us to synthesize new work with both the right and left sides of the brain! The class will use language and chance to build a short piece through Right Brain Performancelab’s signature wordplay technique. There will be a thorough dance warm-up. Prepare for a fun challenge! Bring your own thesaurus as well as any other favorite books. This class is meant to be taught either as a single, intensive workshop over two to three days or as an ongoing, weekly class over two to threeweeks.  -Taught by Jennifer Gwirtz and/or Laura Marsh

Fieldwork Work Groups

The Field/Bay Area is a peer-to-peer forum for artists to share developing works and exchange feedback. The Fieldwork method reveals how each piece is perceived by others and fosters a detailed information exchange. Incisive and stimulating critiques are guided by an experienced facilitator. The group will meet weekly for five weeks with a bare-bones showing during the final meeting. Facilitators: Jennifer Gwirtz, John Baumann, Laura Marsh, Mary Armentrout (East Bay)

The Field/Bay Area has it's own site here...