From My Heart to You — Dance and the Unifying Force of Social Consciousness

Feb 3 - May 1, 2022

Dialogue with a Collection / Co-curated with Aston K. McCullough, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Music & Dance.

From My Heart to You invites viewers into a dialogue about dance and our social responsibility to imagine. Centered on the embodied teachings of Dr. Pearl Primus, as captured through the lens of photographer Barbara Morgan, the exhibition reflects on the imperative role of imagination in creating positive social change. In addition to photographs by Morgan, the exhibition features works by Richard Yarde, John Cage, Lucinda Childs, Trisha Brown, and contemporary artists whose work attends to the transformative nature  
of the dance. A selection of short films includes excerpts from “Omowale: Child Returned Home,” a documentary film about Primus’ life by local filmmaker Stan Sherer; and other videos of creative work that intersects dance, art, and storytelling.

Included in the exhibition is a selection of watercolors by Richard Yarde of the legendary Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, an embodiment of African American cultural joy in the act of dancing, and other works influenced by dreams, ritual, and a search for healing. Both Pearl Primus and Richard Yarde taught at UMass Amherst; they were widely celebrated professors in their respective fields of dance and art.

Works by avant-garde dancers and choreographers Trisha Brown and Lucinda Childs are also featured in the exhibition. They consistently sought to integrate the visual arts with their performance practice, while uncovering the importance of composer John Cage’s ideas and methods.

From My Heart to You presents an exciting new direction for the UMCA’s “Dialogue with a Collection” series, which invites artists to display their own work alongside works from the UMCA’s permanent collection. In a new iteration of this exhibition format, Aston K. McCullough, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Music and Dance, was invited to co-curate an exhibition with UMCA staff. Photographs and prints from the UMCA’s permanent collection are juxtaposed with works on loan from private collections and the Richard Yarde Estate in an interdisciplinary exhibition that explores how dance can connect, tell stories, heal, and raise social consciousness.


"Celebration of Pearl Primus comes to UMass" — The Reminder


Related Events

Feb 4 & 5, Friday and Saturday / 7:30 p.m. / Elements: Movement & Sound Performance with the UMass Percussion Ensemble and the UMass Dance Program / Choreographer Aston K. McCullough’s witch box: dance iii (bee telling) / Tillis Hall, Bromery Center for the Arts  

Mar 3, Thursday, 5:00–7:00 p.m. / From My Heart to You / Five College Conversation on Dance / on Zoom

Mar 22, Tuesday, 5:00-6:00 p.m. / "Delicate Stitching" - an Improvisational Dance Performance by Aston K. McCullough / in the Museum "Delicate Stitching" is a one-hour improvisational dance performance which invites the audience to drop in to watch, or to come and go as they wish. The improvisational score, designed and performed by Aston K. McCullough, will integrate key works from the exhibition, while attuning to the audience and our current political, environmental, and social moment.
Presented in conjunction with the exhibition "From My Heart to You - Dance and the Unifying Force of Social Consciousness"

Apr 8, Wednesday, 4:30–6:00 p.m. / Writing Dance Workshop

Apr 22, 4:30–6:00p.m. / ´Moving Words´´ is a dance writing workshop with Aston K. McCullough in conjunction with the ´´From My Heart to You´´ exhibition.

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