FURTHERING COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS

2/18/2021

An open letter from Island Moving Company’s Leadership 

To our community partners, audience members, students and patrons, we wanted to take the time to thank you and invite you to share in the conversation that has begun around IMC’s newest production.

When we set out to open our 2021 season with a Live Streaming performance, we intended to provide our community with the gift of a return to seeing dance performed live— AND we saw an opportunity to deepen community conversation through the healing and transformative power that live performance inspires.

We believe that part of our responsibility as an arts organization is to offer works that are relevant, create curiosity, demonstrate artistic inquiry, and of course, beauty. We hope our work also provokes ideas, inquiry, and conversations that need to be aired – sometimes that’s a way to bridge disparities, misconceptions, and misunderstandings. That’s one of the most remarkable and inspirational things that great art can do.

The title, Together in This Dream –  dancing through the digital divide, like any work of art—must be considered in whole and in context. For us, the title is both aspirational, and points to  the reality that while this production marks a return to live performance for IMC dancers, it also calls out that until it is safe to convene physical audiences once again, we must present the work through a streaming platform. This reality obviously provides a conundrum.

The title is intended to be both an observation of the current reality of separation/isolation we are all experiencing from the pandemic, and also notes the ongoing inequity of the digital divide around the globe.  We recognize that in this moment we are collectively experiencing, we can both draw attention to this– as well as advocate for working toward a brighter more equitable future for everyone. Through the production and the choice of title, we wanted to convey the idea that together, we can “break-through” divides that separate us—and work for a more just community. That is what art is intended to do.

This idea of this work is not new to us. IMC has been both an advocate and provider of arts-integrated learning in public schools across Newport County for over 20 years.

Throughout  the pandemic, IMC worked in partnership with our school partners who worked to make sure that under-resourced students/classrooms had access to chrome books/laptops & internet service so that students could continue to participate through virtual classes. We transformed our lessons to work in virtual platforms—at no cost. Last December, we provided thousands of kids across Newport County with free screenings of Through Her Eyes…a Newport Nutcracker Reimagined  through a partnership with schools and teachers. The film was delivered to both in-person & virtual classrooms. We continue to make similar resources, including this and future productions, widely available. There is still much to do to close the gap.

While IMC cannot determine municipal nor educational policy regarding improving digital access to the community, we are proud to help bridge a portion of the inequity gap while spurring community conversations, and in offering thoughtful dialogue, and of course, aesthetic enjoyment of the highest order. We are happy to have you add your voice.

With respect and gratitude,

Miki & Peter