A moving, and ultimately uplifting, ‘La Palomba/Ascending’
The multimedia dance production by Island Moving Company in Newport, R.I., will be performed Oct. 15 and 16
By Johnette Rodriguez
NEWPORT, R.I. — Some of us have never forgotten the image of people falling out of the Twin Towers on 9/11. And even more of us have imagined, over and over, what it was like for the people trapped inside the buildings.
Remembering what we saw, envisioning what they saw, embodying the dreams of survivors — all of that and much more comes forth in the beautiful and incredibly moving multimedia dance work, “La Palomba/Ascending,” presented by Island Moving Company, Newport, Oct. 15 and 16. The piece was conceived and choreographed by Artistic Director Miki Ohlsen and Associate Artistic Director Danielle Genest, in collaboration with Simona De Tullio, of Breathing Art Company, in Bari, Italy, with whom IMC has worked for the past four years.
Island Moving Company is known for its outdoor performances, including the lawns of the Newport mansions as well as the tunnels inside Fort Adams. So a visit to La Palomba Sculpture Park, created inside an abandoned quarry, with some pieces of the 9/11 rubble by Antonio Paradiso, spurred Ohlsen and her team to set a dance piece there (presented in September) and then to bring it home to Newport, on an outdoor stage at the Great Friends Meeting House.
“La Palomba” has eight scenes, with evocative titles and epigraphs, starting with “Unforeseen,” continuing through “Frantic Search” and “Collective Sorrow,” and ending with “Souls Transcending.” But it is neither a close narrative nor a strictly religious synthesis of its themes.
ISLAND MOVING COMPANY ANNOUNCES LANDMARK FORTIETH ANNIVERSARY SEASON
Island Moving Company (IMC), Newport’s contemporary ballet company, announced details of its fortieth anniversary season today. Tickets for the company’s fall and winter events are now on sale. “As we continue to emerge from a global pandemic, IMC has managed to create a truly exciting season in celebration of providing four decades of world-class dance performance and education,” said IMC’s Executive Director Peter Bramante.
IMC’s 2021/2022 season highlights include, a special 40th Anniversary Gala Performance in March 2022 at The Vets in Providence, two significant new collaborative works, one made with Bari Italy’s Breathing Art Company, in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the other, an all-new interpretation of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, in partnership with Rhode Island Civic Chorale & Orchestra. In addition to its repertory and family series productions, audiences will once again experience all the joy and magic of IMC’s unique, holiday favorite, A Newport Nutcracker at Rosecliff as the live, in-person production returns to the iconic Rosecliff Mansion, Nov 24-Dec 3, 2021. IMC’s 2021/2022 season calendar includes:
Sep. 3-19: Tour to Italy- La Palomba / Ascending -911 project – Matera, Italy Oct. 8-11, 15,16: La Palomba/ Ascending: Outdoor Stage, Great Friends Meeting House-Newport Oct. 15-17: Alice in Wonderland: Outdoor Stage, Great Friends Meeting House-Newport Nov.24-Dec 3: A Newport Nutcracker at Rosecliff. Rosecliff Mansion- Newport Mar. 11: 40th Anniversary Gala Performance. Vets Theatre – Providence May 5-8: Repertory Performance & Family Series production of Tales of Mother Goose – Newport May 12-15: Repertory Performance-TBA & Family Series production of Tales of Mother Goose – TBA Jun 15-19: Tour & Repertory Performance – San Diego CA, Jul 19-24: IMC presents The Newport Dance Festival – Newport
The company begins its 2021/2022 season with a tour to Italy as part of a cultural exchange project with Bari Italy’s Breathing Art Company. IMC & Breathing Art are collaborating on a site specific, contemporary dance production in the La Palomba Sculpture Park in Matera Italy, September 16-18. IMC returns to the US to restage the work on IMC’s Outdoor stage, at the Great Friends Meeting House, October 8-11 and 15 & 16th to kick off the company’s fall season.
The project is supported in part by the Arts Council & City of Matera, Italy, Antonio Paradiso, and The LaPalomba Sculpture Park, UNESCO, World heritage sites, and by a grant from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation through USArtists International fund in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The production, entitled La Palomba / Ascending, was inspired by a visit to the namesake sculpture park in 2019 by IMC’s Artistic Director, Miki Ohlsen. The La Palomba Sculpture Park is filled with massive sculptures made from the rubble of the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers, created by sculptor, Antonio Paradiso. Paradiso, an Apulian artist, was the only Italian authorized by the Port Authority of New York to receive transfer of the World Trade Center’s rubble. The result was the creation of The La Palomba Sculpture Park on the outskirts of Matera and is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Ohlsen describes the experience of her initial visit. “Stepping down the stone steps into the bottom of the rough-hewn quarry, I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of space itself. The sculptures rising to the beautiful blue, cloud filled sky, represented at once, the horror that humanity can inflict on itself and the amazing hope that literally rises through these sculptures. With images of doves scattered throughout the quarry, Paradiso’s sculptures represented a transformation, a freeing of the humanity that had been locked inside those towers, and the turning of a disaster, into something to remember, but also to create beauty from it.” La Palomba / Ascending is co-choreographed by Ohlsen & IMC’s Associate Artistic Director, Danielle Genest, with additional work from Simona DeTullio, Director of Breathing Arts Company. The artists provided a brief statement about the work. “La Palomba / Ascending does not depict the 9/11 event itself, but rather explores the shared experiences of the event on people across the globe. Our hope is that this new work will open another window into our understanding of the interconnectedness of humanity, allow us to reflect on that catastrophic event, and focus on the hope that must spring out of that for everyone.”
IMC’s Family Series production of Alice in Wonderland will run concurrently on the outdoor stage at the Great Friend Meeting House, Oct 15-17. Tickets are on sale now. IMC’s 40th Anniversary Gala at the Vets in Providence is scheduled for March 11, 2022. The evening will include all-live music and two new significant works. A reimagined version of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, and a work commissioned from acclaimed choreographer Nicolo Fonte. Carmina Burana will premiere as part of an exciting collaboration with Rhode Island Civic Chorale & Orchestra (RICCO) under the musical direction of Dr. Joshua Rohde, and original choreography and staging by IMC’s Artistic & Associate Artistic Director’s, Miki Ohlsen & Danielle Genest.
Dr. Rohde said, “I am eager to perform this dynamic presentation of Carmina Burana, one of the most exciting and beloved works in the repertoire. Collaborations always bring the best out of the artists, audience, and greater community, and I am thrilled for the opportunity for RICCO and IMC to join forces again. This will be a performance no one in Rhode Island will want to miss!” When asked about the partnership with RICCO, IMC’s Associate Artistic Director Danielle Genest shared “This is a big project and a very exciting collaboration for us. It is such a pleasure to work with Joshua Rhode as we re-envision Carmina Burana. Guided and inspired by the incredible musical score, we are eager to bring this classic to life in a new and dynamic way.” Choreographer Nicolo Fonte is known for his unique movement language as well as the highly developed fusion of ideas, dance and design that is a hallmark of his work. He has created or staged his ballets for The Dutch National Ballet, Houston Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Ballet West, Royal Ballet of Flanders, Stuttgart Ballet, The Australian Ballet, The Göteborg Ballet, The Finnish National Ballet, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, The Washington Ballet, Ballett Nürnberg, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, and many others. Fonte will set his master work, Where We Left Off, on IMC dancers. The work has been hailed by critics as:
“A striking example of architectural clarity… His attention to structure and clarity surfaced throughout the ballet… With a work like Where We Left Off, we need not worry about the future of ballet. The title says it all.”
Margaret Putnam, Theater Jones
“Fonte’s ballets reveal his superb craft, and the movement is consistently evocative of the score…combines adventurous American athleticism with European classical and avant-garde traditions.”
Kathy Adams, Salt Lake Tribune
“There’s no narrative, no plot, nothing to interpret, “It’s about the dancing and the dancers. I wanted to develop a particular language. I really tried to make it just about the dancing – and what it means to dance alone, together, to dance as part of a group.”
“We are thrilled to commission Nicolo Fonte’s beautiful work, Where We Left Off. It is a breathtaking piece – rich in texture, full of depth, and very fitting for this time in the world. It will be a truly wonderful addition to IMC’s repertoire.”
Danielle Genest, Island Moving Company
Tickets for the fall events of IMC’s 40th Anniversary Season are on sale now and may be purchased at the IMC Box Office. Follow IMC on FaceBook, Instagram and/or sign up for the company’s e-newsletter. New COVID-19 protocols Island Moving Company and eight other Rhode Island performance venues and organizations have formed a partnership to provide for the safety of their audiences, artists, staff, and volunteers, based on current scientific evidence and best practices around the country.
Effective immediately and until further notice: All patrons attending in-person, indoor events must either show proof of full vaccination against COVID19 (at least 14 days have passed since the final dose), or proof of a negative COVID19 PCR test taken in the prior 72 hours, or proof of a negative COVID-19 antigen test taken in the prior six hours. All patrons regardless of vaccination status must wear masks over their nose and mouth at all times while inside the venue (unless actively eating or drinking).