Performance Initiative 

Dance Heginbotham + Maira Kalman’s The Principles of Uncertainty

The BMCM+AC Performance Initiative continued on March 16 + 17, 2018. BMCM+AC, in partnership with UNC Asheville, presented the Southeast Premiere of Dance Heginbotham and Maira Kalman’s The Principles of Uncertainty, a new evening-length dance theater work by choreographer John Heginbotham and author/illustrator Maira Kalman. Adapted from Kalman’s New York Times column turned book of the same name and described by the two artists as an “absurdist travelogue,” Principles of Uncertainty marries the nostalgic whimsy of Kalman’s illustrations with Heginbotham’s controlled yet playful choreography to create an evening that explores life, death and everything in between. Heginbotham directs and choreographs the work, while Kalman oversees all elements of design—sets, props, projections and costumes, bringing her 2D illustrations to life on the stage. Kalman is also present on stage, alongside Dance Heginbotham, actor Daniel Pettrow and members of The Knights. Composer Colin Jacobsen—a member of string quartet Brooklyn Rider, chamber ensemble The Knights, and Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble—serves as Music Director of the project. Principles of Uncertainty premiered August 17, 2017 at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival followed by a New York Premiere at BAM Next Wave Festival and travelled to Durham, North Carolina after this Southeast Premiere in Asheville.


Related Events:

  • Wednesday, March 14th at 6pm – Maira Kalman Reading and Book Signing at Malaprops Bookstore for The Principles of Uncertainty (2007) and her new book, Beloved Dog (2017.)
  • Wednesday, March 14th, Dance Heginbotham Workshop at NC School for the Deaf
  • Wednesday, March 14th, Dance for PD Masterclass with John Heginbotham
  • Saturday, March 17th at 1pm, Coffee + Conversation with John + Maira

Press for The Principles of Uncertainty, Asheville:


Made possible, in part, by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, & support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in partnership with UNC Asheville. The Principles of Uncertainty was co-commissioned by Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and was created during residencies at BAM Fisher, The Banff Centre, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the NYU Center for Ballet and the Arts. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Image credit: David Dashiell, courtesy of Jacob’s Pillow Dance

Cardell Dance Theatre’s Supper, People on the Move


Silvana Cardell’s Supper, People on the Move is a dance performance inspired by themes of migration and the complex experience of dislocation. Physical bodies moving between physical places define migration and the immigrant journey at the heart of humanity’s ability to survive. This Asheville engagement was accompanied by an exhibition of photographs and narratives by Philadelphia-based artist Jennifer Baker and local photographer Steve Mann, “Portraits of People on the Move” featuring stories of those in our WNC community. Audiences were invited to share in a group meal to discuss and connect over the themes brought forth by Cardell Dance Theatre’s performance. Supper, People on the Move was hosted at Randy Shull and Hedy Fischer’s 22 London Road Studio/ Exhibition Space on October 27 + 28, 2017. 

What began for choreographer Silvana Cardell as dance borne of her personal history, evolved into an examination of the human experience of all people on the move, looking for new horizons. The immigrant journey is at the heart of a human’s ability to survive. Physical bodies moving between physical places define immigration. It is only appropriate that dance performed by virtuosic, striking dancers, is the art form to explore this experience and create a work of art from it. From the beginning of history people have migrated; it is at the soul of human evolution. Supper takes the movement of migration and transforms it into art, into a dance that transcends its literal origins yet is grounded in them. In performance, the art of the movement of human migration is revealed.


The presentation of “Supper, People on the Move” was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and support by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. We extend our gratitude to those who bravely shared their stories of immigration for “Portraits of People on the Move,” as well as all those who brought their personal experience to “Supper.”  

Image Credit: Bill Herbert


Music for Modernist Shapes: Reimagining Spectodrama

ACTIVE ARCHIVE is a stream of programs that pairs the museum’s extensive collection with contemporary artists, curators, and cultural thinkers. It launches with an exhibition featuring the museum’s permanent collection curated by Philadelphia-based interdisciplinary artist Martha McDonald.

McDonald brought the ideas of Black Mountain College alive through an exhibition of artwork and ephemera from BMCM+AC’s collection and a live performance drawing on the rich history of experimental performance at BMC.  The exhibition, across both galleries, focused on the importance of process and material exploration at BMC. 

McDonald’s performance activated her installation of objects and costumes drawn from Xanti Schawinsky’s 1936 experimental theater piece, Spectodrama, which formed the basis of his Stage Studies course at BMC. McDonald’s piece, in collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Laura Baird featured music inspired by John Evarts’ collaborations with Schawinsky at BMC from 1936-38. 

Music for Modernist Shapes: Reimagining Spectodrama was performed on November 17 + 18 at BMCM+AC’s 69 Broadway Gallery.


Support for this project has been generously provided by the following: Henry Luce Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Windgate Charitable Foundation. Special thanks to Bill Adair and Connie Bostic.

Image Credit: Michael Oppenheim

Brooklyn Youth Chorus’ Black Mountain Songs 

The BMCM+AC Performance Initiative kicked off during ReVIEWING Black Mountain College 9 with the Southeast Premiere of the acclaimed work Black Mountain Songs. Commissioned and produced by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus and BAM, and curated by Bryce Dessner (The National) and Richard Reed Parry (Arcade Fire), Black Mountain Songs is inspired by Black Mountain College, its prolific community of artists, and their work, and rekindles the College’s utopian spirit. The Chorus performs music written for them by eight composers: Dessner and Parry, as well as Pulitzer Prize-winner Caroline Shaw, Nico Muhly, Aleksandra Vrebalov, John King, Tim Hecker, and Jherek Bischoff. Featuring contributions from filmmaker Matt Wolf (Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell), Black Mountain Songs is an expansive choral and visual work. This exquisite production premiered at BAM in 2014. New Amsterdam Records released an acclaimed recording of the work—Brooklyn Youth Chorus’ first album—earlier this year.

The Black Mountain Songs performances took place at the Diana Wortham Theatre in downtown Asheville on September 29 + 30. 

Thank You to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their support of the BMCM+AC Performance Initiative, a partnership with UNC Asheville that brings world class performances to Downtown Asheville. 

Image Credit: Michael Oppenheim