Volume 10: Chance | Dance

Editors' Note


Always there was dancing at Black Mountain College, from the porch of the Blue Ridge Assembly to the dining room at Lake Eden. I was reminded of this by a postcard that recently arrived in my post office box. Polka dots were added to a photograph by Kenelm Winslow (who was at student Black Mountain College from the Fall of 1936—Spring 1938). It was sent by a dear friend who lives in New York; he received it along with his lunch check at a restaurant in Chelsea. How Kenelm Winslow’s North Carolina photograph made it up to New York City and then back to me in North Carolina is quite a dance diagram, and one that makes me wonder where else these postcards may have spun out to. Chance | Dance explores the astonishing influence of Black Mountain College in the world of dance.

2019 was filled with observances of the 100th anniversary of Merce Cunningham’s birth and all that he achieved with the dance company he formed at BMC. We are pleased to include contributions in text, photo, and video by contemporary dancers and choreographers Kimberly Bartosik, who danced in Merce’s company for many years and will perform at BMCM+AC in May; Kathy Leiner, dance teacher at The Asheville School; and the dance/sound team of Justin Tornow and Sean Thegen.

Katherine “Katie” Litz was a notable but underrecognized dancer and choreographer who taught at Black Mountain College for the summers of 1950 and 1951 and stayed on through the summer of 1952. We thank Jason Andrew and Julia Gleich for their essay recounting her rich career. We’re also publishing Elizabeth Jennerjahn’s review of Litz’s second concert at Black Mountain College, which offers an on-the-ground view of Litz from 1951. 

As with every issue that we publish, we hope this one inspires further research into dance, chance, and Black Mountain College studies, and that it opens new connections between writers and readers, experimenters and innovators, colleagues and friends who share an interest in BMC. 

“Art is to dance!” is a phrase from Tao Te Ching that Josef Albers included in his correspondence, an image that brings to mind artist Ray Johnson. He sometimes referred to his “correspondance” which often included postcards. We invite you to the chances and dances in this issue, and those to come!

Julie J. Thomson + Thomas E. Frank, Co-Editors (journalbmcstudies@gmail.com

Table of Contents

Thomas E. Frank + Julie J Thomson, Co-Editors
Kate Averett, Production Editor

February 2020

Essay: Merce Cunningham: dancing with my ghosts by Kimberly Bartosik
Artwork: dance/movement collages by elin o’hara slavick
Article: And No Birds Sang: the life of choreographer and dancer Katherine Litz by Jason Andrew and Julia Gleich
Poetry: A Bird by David Kherdian
Artwork: A Remy Charlip for Michael Dumontier by Jason Polan, with notes from Julie J Thomson, Co-Editor
Artwork: Delicious Confusion: embracing the unknown by Kathy Meyers Leiner
Poetry: New Takes on Old Earth by Eric Steineger
From the Archive: Review: Second Concert of Katherine Litz, July 25, 1951 by Elizabeth Jennerjahn
Artwork: Practice by chance, with Merce + Beta Tests by Justin Tornow and Sean Thegen (Ultrabillions)


Cover Image: Kimberly Bartosik, You are my heat and glare, photo by Ian Douglas (cropped / color filter added)

The authors (or their estates, and/or publishers) retain full copyright to the texts and media appearing herein,
which may not be reproduced elsewhere without their express permission.