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Welcome new Executive Director, Edward McPherson!

After a nationwide search, Island Moving Company (IMC) has named Edward McPherson, a professional ballet dancer and Education and Program Coordinator for Midland County Public Libraries in Midland, Texas to succeed outgoing executive director Dominique Alfandre.  IMC is a classically trained contemporary ballet company and Alfandre has successfully led the non-profit organization for 35 years.  McPherson represents IMC’s second executive director and will begin his new role this month.

John LaRocca, IMC’s Chair of the Board of Directors says, “Edward is a very dynamic young man that has the experience to run the business side of Island Moving Company as executive director.  Being a former dancer, Edward will understand the artistic side of the Company and work extremely well with our Artistic Director Miki Ohlsen.”

McPherson says, “I’m honored to join Island Moving Company as their executive director. I’m greatly inspired by IMC’s mission and extraordinary programming.  Only in Newport is it possible to be enchanted by such classical performances as the Nutcracker, Mother Goose, and Dracula in Gilded Age style from within a mansion. Moreover, cities across this great nation can no more than dream of mounting a ballet aboard the floating stage provided by a tall ship with the history and majesty of the Oliver Hazard Perry.”

Reflecting on his past experience McPherson adds, “I was fortunate to have advocates that opened doors for me as I worked hard to become a professional ballet dancer. Those acts of generosity, kindness, and trust were not lost on me. Working in development and community building is an opportunity for me to give back and invest in future generations and I look forward to sharing this experience with the greater Newport community.”

IMC’s Artistic Director, Miki Ohlsen says, “I am so excited to start working with IMC’s new executive director, Edward McPherson.   His enthusiasm for what IMC is and will become is absolutely amazing. His tremendous energy and collaborative spirit will make Edward and me a great team. Here’s to the future!”

McPherson grew up in Davis, California, graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, Michigan and worked as a professional ballet dancer for five years.  He was a member of Ballet West, in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Sacramento Ballet in Sacramento, California. McPherson also taught dance education at The Waterford School, in Sandy, Utah, and at Palo Alto College in San Antonio, Texas.  He served as the Business Manager for the Midland Festival Ballet in Midland, Texas. He studied Science Ballet at Indiana University and is expected to earn a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin in May.

van Beuren Charitable Fdn and NewportFed Support Math Into Movement

Island Moving Company has received generous funding to continue its tradition of engagement with the Newport County schools with its Math Into Movement residency.  Artistic Director Miki Ohlsen and Education Program Director Christine Sandorfi are now scheduling the residencies, designed for second graders and their teachers, with elementary schools on Aquidneck Island.  The van Beuren Charitable Foundation and NewportFed Charitable Foundation have each granted a second year of funding to this arts integration initiative.  Their support will enable teachers to learn tools to engage kinetic learners in acquiring vital math skills.  The dancers of the Island Moving Company will visit each school to offer in-school workshops on addition and telling time during the winter months, beginning in January.  Teachers will continue using the lesson plans to continue illustrating math principles through lively physical exercises.  This year, the residency will also include a new unit for first graders on addition.  The Company has also received continuing support from Ocean State Charities Trust for our education programs.

Final Bow to another Nutcracker

Island Moving Company’s dancers wrapped up another sold out and successful Nutcracker on December 1st.  The dancers and the cast of 80 children were all sad to see the magical production end, but you can’t stay at Rosecliff forever.  The memories will remain — and equally so for our audience.  Tina and David Bowling of Gloucester, MA wrote to us with this praise for our unique Nutcracker:

“Bravo,Bravo!
We had the pleasure of attending the Nutcracker at Rosecliff last night, having a most enjoyable evening. The dancers are all wonderful and superbly talented, each one poised and professional in their presentation of this timeless classic. The use of this grand venue for a backdrop to this glorious ballet is genius. Kudos to the creative and talented minds that brought it all together. A fantastic way to begin our Christmas season.”

Many of our dancers are performing in other Nutcracker performances around the country and we will be back at Rosecliff at the end of 2018, from November 23 to November 30.  Keep an eye out for tickets going on sale — pre-sale starts August 1st and the remainder of tickets are available October 1st.  See you at Rosecliff in March for the opening of our 36th season!

Getting Ready to Crack the Nut

The cast and crew of the Newport Nutcracker at Rosecliff are loading into the mansion this weekend with costumes, Christmas trees, lights, cables and props.  Last weekend, the professional dancers and the children’s cast put together the ballet’s big scenes in the studio during an Open Rehearsal at 3 Charles Street.  A Video Diary of that long and productive day is here.  There are still a very few tickets left for purchase for this perennially sold out production.  Miki, Danielle and Christine have made a few wonderful changes to the ballet which the dancers are excited about. Don’t miss Newport’s favorite holiday tradition!

Photo by Peter Silvia

The dancers are back!

The Island Moving Company began Nutcracker rehearsals today and ended their time in the studio with our traditional staff & dancer lunch up in the IMC office.  We welcomed new dancers Darwin Black, Dwayne Cook and Timur Kan to the Company.  The expanded company has allowed Miki Ohlsen to rethink many Nutcracker scenes, adding characters and modifying roles to freshen the production.  There are still tickets for some of the shows — don’t hesitate to get yours now!

Dancing with Jose

Open for Dancing opens tomorrow, Wednesday, September 20th, just as Hurricane Jose roars past our coastline.  Thanks to many friends in our community, we have moved our rehearsals to big rooms at St. John’s Church, the Edward King House and the Tasting Room at Greenvale Vineyards.  Open for Dancing participants should have received an email giving them their schedule and where we would like to see them.  We are expecting better weather for the remainder of our rehearsals and great weather for the weekend, so hope to see everyone at the performances on Saturday and Sunday.  The whole schedule is available here.  Don’t forget all of our master classes and the Saturday events like the Phantom Limb and the Sunset Ballroom on Long Wharf Mall — a great way to get a little dancing in of your own!  We’ll see you around town!

Hula, Cha Cha, Yoga, Dance!

Open for Dancing opens next week, including a number of free, open air opportunities to move.  The Festival starts with a yoga class with Lisa Hansel on the beautiful field overlooking Second Beach at St. George’s School (9am 9/20).  Come to the Island Moving Company studio at 3 Charles Street each morning of the Festival for a master class with one of the choreographers (10am 9/20, 21, 22) and start your day with a barre with Revka Hovermale at 9am, same place, on Thursday and Friday.  On Thursday evening, get the kinks out via hula hoop with Susan Whitney at the studio (7pm 9/21) and join the open air Sunset Ballroom for a flash foxtrot at Bowen’s Wharf at 5:30pm on Saturday, followed by a ballroom mixer on Long Wharf at 6pm.  We hope you’ll support this joyous festival with a $10 donation for all classes at the studio. We look forward to moving with you next week!  Participants are still being sought for the entire festival.  Check out the schedule and details on our Open for Dancing 2017 page.

Open for Dancing – each day starts with class

Open for Dancing opens on Wednesday, September 20th with an outdoor yoga class taught by Lisa Hansel on the stunning hillside overlooking Second Beach at St. George’s School.  The class is free and starts at 9am.  On Thursday and Friday mornings at 9 Revka Hovermale will be teaching a barre at the Island Moving Company studios at 3 Charles Street.  Following the early classes, each of the Open for Dancing choreographers will teach a master class at the studios; Mary Scott will teach on Wednesday, followed by Thom Dancy on Thursday and Teresa Fellion on Friday.  The class is free and starts at 10am.  Participation is still open; click here to register for the dance experience of a lifetime.

imc history

Open for Dancing Coming Up Soon!

Island Moving Company’s most joyous festival is coming up September20-24.  Come explore the possibility of participating in the creation and performance of a unique site specific work with a renowned choreographer and collaborating artist.  We’ll be lifting a glass and answering questions at Salvation Cafe on Wednesday, September 6th starting at 5pm.  Open for Dancing offers classes, opportunities to interact with the artists, exciting evening events and of course the thrill of being part of a company of dancers creating new work in iconic Newport landscapes.  Check out the details here.  Performances on September 23 and 24 are all free.  Join us for a fun-filled festival!

Great Etudes at the Great Friends Dance Festival

A sold out run of the Great Friends Dance Festival opened each night with an Etude, created that day by one of the visiting choreographers or dancers at the Festival.  Dancers sign up to participate and the work is created in just two hours during the day and performed at the show that night.  The Etudes, an idea brought to us by John-Mark Owen in 2012, have become one of the signature elements of this community of dancers and an audience favorite.  Etudes this year were created by Simona De Tullio of Breathing Art Company (Bari, Italy), Caitlin Trainor (NY), Kat Nasti (Boston) and Fernando Rodriguez of the Missouri Contemporary Ballet.  Saturday’s performance began with a work in progress showing of a new dance by IMC dancer Tara Gragg.  Pictured is Kat Nasti’s “Party Pooper,” a fun addition to the canon.