The Principles of Uncertainty

Choreographer  and Director:
John Heginbotham

Author, Illustrator and Set/Costume Designer: 
Maira Kalman

Music Director:
Colin Jacobsen

Lighting Designer:
Nicole Pearce

Projection Designer:
Todd Bryant

Assistant Director:
Daniel Pettrow

Associate Costume Designer:
Maile Okamura

Production Stage Manager: 
Valerie Oliveiro

Assistant Stage Manager/
Set Supervisor:

Diego Quintanar

Video Engineer:
Simon Harding

Maira Kalman, Daniel Pettrow, Dance Heginbotham and members of The Knights

Run Time:
Approx. 60 minutes

 Photos by Christopher Duggan, Courtesy of Jacob’s Pillow



The Principles of Uncertainty is a new evening-length dance theater work created by collaborators John Heginbotham (Choreographer) and Maira Kalman (Visual Artist/Designer).  The work draws inspiration from the highly detailed, intimate worlds created in Maira’s paintings and illustrations, particularly from her book, The Principles of Uncertainty (2009).  The piece is based on John and Maira’s shared interest in the passage of time and its relation to the seemingly mundane objects and experiences that make up our daily lives.  A central theme of the work is a human’s experience as a temporary participant in an ever-changing world.  These ideas and themes are explored through a series of vignettes that are woven through with John’s rich choreography and Maira’s design elements.  An array of eclectic vocabularies - dance, text, music, and projected images - work in concert to tell the story.  The intention is that The Principles of Uncertainty behaves as a welcoming, non-linear, occasionally absurd travelogue.

Composer and musician Colin Jacobsen composed, arranged, and curated music for the work and the cast features six  members of Dance Heginbotham, the actor Daniel Pettrow, a quartet of musicians, and Maira herself.

World Premiere: Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival August 23 - 27, 2017
New York Premiere: BAM Next Wave Festival September 27 - 30, 2017
Asheville, NC: Diana Wortham Theater, presented by Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, March 16-17, 2018
Durham, NC: Reynolds Industries Theater, presented by Duke Performances, March 23-24, 2018
Plovdiv, Bulgaria: SPOTLIGHT:USA - A Platform of American Dance in Bulgaria, March 28, 2018

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, Dartmouth College, Jacob's Pillow Dance, the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Arts Center at Governor's Island, and the NYU Center for Ballet and the Arts, with additional rehearsals at Baryshnikov Arts Center, New York City Center, and the Mark Morris Dance Center. Additional support for the creation and touring of The Principles of Uncertainty provided in part by the Barbara Bell Cumming Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Jerome Robbins Foundation, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Extended Life Dance Development Program, New York City Center, and Dance Heginbotham’s Commissioners’ and Benefactors’ Circles. 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.

Press for The Principles of Uncertainty

Between Birth and Death, Some Dancing and a Little Mystery
The New York Times, by Marina Harss  (August 21, 2017)

Are You Certain?
Dance Beat, by Deborah Jowitt (August 26, 2017)

People Are Talking About: Pas de Deux
Vogue Magazine, by Laura Regensdorf (September 2017)

Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival invited Dance Heginbotham and the creative team of The Principles of Uncertainty for a one week Creative Development Residency in April 2017.  Photos by Adrienne Bryant, Diego Quintanar, and David Dashiell.