Four of a Kind: Melvin AC Howell on Asheville’s dance scene

Photo by RBY Creations

Editor’s note: This is part of “Four of a Kind,” a new Arts & Culture feature. Each month, four new artists will share their takes on the local art scene. In addition to individual online posts, you can find all four features as a single spread in this week’s print edition. 

Melvin AC Howell is the owner of Heart & Soul Dance Co. In addition to his choreography, performance and educational work, he’s also an actor and playwright.

Xpress: Is there an upcoming dance performance in Asheville that you’re looking forward to seeing?

Howell: Throughout these final months of 2022, there isn’t too much going on in the realm of dance, outside of the traditional Nutcracker performances and maybe a few pop-up shows and performances.

However, moving into the year 2023, there are many great shows and productions planned — and some from my favorite dancing and performance groups here in Asheville, Stewart/Owen Dance. Gavin Stewart and Vanessa Owen are beautiful dancers and creators who are sure to move everyone who witnesses their work. They’ll present their mainstage series next year on April 21-22 at the Wortham Center for Performing Arts, and I’m thrilled about it.

Outside of dance, is there an upcoming local arts happening that you’re looking forward to?

There are a plethora of plays directed by Stephanie Hickling Beckman of Different Strokes Performing Arts Collective that I’m really stoked about seeing. The plays she directs and presents always include a meaningful message — that’s the important aspect that makes these plays art. All of these plays present their audiences with important questions and conversations to generate a movement that vibrates throughout every member of every community that gets to witness them. They always bring awareness, cause reflection and encourage transformation. These are presentations you do not want to miss.

What current project are you working on that you’re especially excited about?

I am currently in the process of working on writing and creating a play in partnership with Different Strokes. It will be presented next year, and I’m superenergized about it. I can’t give many details right now, but I can say it’s one for the books.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.