The Principles of Uncertainty, a collaboration between Dance Heginbotham + Maira Kalman. Diana Wortham Theatre, Asheville NC. Photo by Michael Oppenheim.

What a month! March, 2018 was one of our busiest yet and also one of our most exciting. We were able to host The Principles of Uncertainty, an evening length performance from John Heginbotham and Maira Kalman, as well as our 8th annual {Re}HAPPENING, featuring the Grammy award winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth as well as dozens of local and national artists. The events of this past month have been the result of unprecedented growth that we are embracing as we enter our 25th year, growth that is made possible by the generous support of our members, sponsors and friends! To mark these two incredible events, we would love to take a look back. We hope you will enjoy some insights and photos from The Principles of Uncertainty and {Re}HAPPENING 8! 

Read Part 2 of our March Blog, including photos of {Re}HAPPENING 8, here. 

The Principles of Uncertainty  

The Principles of Uncertainty was part of the BMCM+AC Performance Initiative, a partnership with UNC Asheville and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The aim of this initiative is to bring world class performance to downtown Asheville, engaging with our local community around art and ideas. The interdisciplinary nature of the piece, which transforms an illustrated book into a unique and evocative dance performance, echoes and celebrates the values and artistic approach championed by Black Mountain College, where constant collaboration between poets, dancers, actors, musicians, painters, and everything in between created rich potential for new and groundbreaking work.

Dance Heginbotham dancer Courtney Lopes guides a group of students at NCSD through a routine from “The Principles of Uncertainty.”

We were lucky to kick off Dance Heginbotham’s week in Asheville with a day of workshops and masterclasses at the North Carolina School for the Deaf (NCSD) and with a local Dance for PD® chapter. At the NCSD, John Heginbotham and dancers Macy Sullivan and Courtney Lopes engaged middle and high school students in a series of dance exercises that welcomed all levels of ability and allowed for each of the students to express themselves through movement. Our time at NCSD closed with a private performance for the elementary school students. The dancers performed a selection from Twin, a dance choreographed to music by Aphex Twin that first premiered at the Baryshnikov Arts Center. In this video, it is easy to see how magical this private performance from world-acclaimed dancers was for the children at NCSD. Following this workshop, members of Dance Heginbotham participated in a Dance for PD masterclass led by John Heginbotham. Heginbotham has taught Dance for PD® classes in New York City and around the globe since 2001, and was thrilled to be able to offer this masterclass to members of the Dance for PD® Asheville chapter. The class was open to all persons with Parkinson’s, as well as their families and caregivers.

That evening, acclaimed writer and illustrator Maira Kalman arrived in Asheville and presented a Book Talk + Signing at Malaprop’s Bookstore. The Principles of Uncertainty performance is based on Kalman’s New York Times column-turned-book of the same name and, in designing the sets and costumes, Kalman instilled her iconic style into the production while also serving as narrator. Kalman has published over 20 works ranging from children’s books to collaborations with MoMA. With over 100 attendees at Malaprops Bookstore, this was a wonderful way to welcome Kalman to Asheville!

Actor Daniel Pettrow recreates one of Maira Kalman’s iconic illustrations as dancers hold a fishtank projected with the images of a swimming whale. “The Principles of Uncertainty,” March 2018. Photo by Michael Oppenheim.

On Friday and Saturday, March 16 +17 at Diana Wortham Theatre in Downtown Asheville, Dance Heginbotham performed The Principles of Uncertainty, accompanied by members of The Knights Chamber Orchestra and joined on stage by Maira Kalman and actor Daniel Pettrow. This absurdist travelogue makes reference to the illustrations and musings of Kalman’s critically acclaimed book, wile creating something wholly new through collaboration between Kalman and Heginbotham. The two developed this piece over the course of three years taking walks together, talking, and observing the world around them. As actor Daniel Pettrow advised, the work “leaves space for the audience to daydream,” thereby making your experience of this work one that is personal to you. With music from around the globe, soulfully and expertly performed by members of The Knights and curated by composer Colin Jacobsen, along with Heginbotham’s choreography and Kalman’s narration and live drawing, each night’s performance was a distinct experience, covering life, death and everything in between. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to share this work with over 500 of you, each of whom we hope brought something home with them that was meaningful. Please see the photo album below for images from the performance, taken by Michael Oppenheim.

We were also lucky enough to have John Heginbotham + Maira Kalman at the Museum for an intimate conversation over coffee and cake on Saturday afternoon. This gathering was sparked by Kalman’s love of obituaries, which she reads every morning. John and Maira asked each guest to bring their favorite obituary and we were not disappointed by the incredible stories we heard and the remarkable lives that were commemorated. See below for photos of this lovely event!