Island Moving Company, Newport’s Contemporary Ballet will present its 10th annual summer dance festival July 14-21 on an outdoor stage on the gorgeous seaside lawn of St. Michael’s Country Day School in Newport. The Newport Dance Festival (formerly known as Great Friends Dance Festival) will feature a unique lineup of dances each evening drawing on the talent, artistry, and individual styles of the festival’s five visiting dance companies, accompanied by Newport’s own Island Moving Company (IMC).
Picnics, blankets and lawn chairs are suggested to enjoy world class dance in a relaxed, community setting. Each performance will be preceded by live music and a 15-minute informational Q&A “Talk-Forward,” so guests are encouraged to arrive early.
Over the course of the eight-day Newport Dance Festival, visiting resident company Thomas/Ortiz Dance of New Canaan, Connecticut, will combine IMC and Thomas/Ortiz Dance companies together to create a new work commissioned for the festival, with choreography by its Artistic Director Ted Thomas. This “Big Piece” will be presented to the public on Saturday, July 20 and Sunday, July 21.
Other pieces presented by IMC at the festival will include works by Artistic Director Miki Ohlsen, Associate Artistic Director Danielle Genest, company dancer Glen Lewis and choreographers Rodney Rivera and Colin Connor.
Headlining the festival and performing each night with IMC is Thomas/Ortiz Dance from New Canaan, Connecticut. Ted Thomas and Frances Ortiz founded Thomas/Ortiz Dance in 2001, melding his urban athleticism with her Latin sensuality, and their combined choreographic and musical sensibilities. The company of twelve dancers from culturally diverse backgrounds performs a repertoire, which explores a multitude of thought-provoking and socially-relevant themes.
Additional dance companies in the 2019 lineup include the Breathing Art Company of Bari, Italy. Directed by Simona De Tullio, the Breathing Art Company has presented its work in Germany, Spain, Hungary, Albania, and Puerto Rico with a mission to give young talent an opportunity to explore the art of dance. De Tullio has directed the international San Nicola Dance Prize since 2010, and is influenced in part by her work with American contemporary ballet legend Alonzo King.
Ballet Dallas, under the direction of Carter Alexander, will also be joining the mix. This Texas-based dance company seeks to collaborate with innovative choreographers to create new dance. Their mission is to use the language of ballet and contemporary dance and music to present ballet as a progressive and innovative art form.
Matthew Westerby Company of New York will contribute with their unique mission motivated to create projects that foster community, building works that are accessible to all as participants and audience. Westerby’s choreographic approach is inclusive yet challenging by nature, asking each performer for unique contributions to the process, insuring the work has the imprint of each participant.
Trainor Dance, founded by Caitlin Trainor, will be adding to the festival with their robustly physical, interdisciplinary work. The company has a supple structure, with an ever-growing repertoire that canvasses concert dance, sight specific work, and audience interactive performances. Trainor’s choreography consistently maintains a commitment to highly musical, visually stimulating work with a social conscience.
Donna Salgado’s CONTINUUM Contemporary/Ballet of New York will return this year with their classically-trained dancers with contemporary artistic voices. The company aims to create work that plays in the concert dance spectrum while celebrating a spirit of dance-making that is inspiring, collaborative, and progressive.
In addition to the professional companies, dancers attending IMC’s pre-professional summer intensive perform each night of the festival. The intensive is a two-week program for young dancers. Some of the students were selected from auditions during a competition in Italy.
IMC’s Newport Dance Festival will begin each show with an Etude, a short piece that is choreographed by one of the festival choreographers during the day and performed with a group of self-selected festival dancers that same night.