Great Friends Dance Festival
GREAT FRIENDS DANCE FESTIVAL
JULY 18-22, 2018 ALL SHOWS: 6:30pm
RESIDENT DANCE COMPANY:
Breathing Arts Company – Bari, Italy
carolyn dorfman dance – Union, NJ
CONTINUUM Contemporary/Ballet – New York, NY
Thomas/Ortiz Dance – New Canaan, CT
Island Moving Co.’s Great Friends Touring Project is designed to bring IMC to new audiences and to bring new audiences to dance. Each year, for the Great Friends Dance Festival in July, we invite a residency company to Newport for two weeks of studio time and performance; in return for a reciprocal performance in their home venue. This year we traveled to Kansas City, MO to perform with Owen/Cox Dance Group. We have traded residency for performances with Surfscape Contemporary Dance Theatre, Pasadena Dance Theater, Missouri Contemporary Ballet and Houston Metropolitan Dance Co. In 2015 we hosted Samruk, Kazakhstan’s contemporary ballet company, and traveled to Almaty in April 2016, where we were part of the celebration of 25 years of US/Kazakhstan relations. In 2017, the Festival hosted our friends Missouri Contemporary Ballet under the direction of Karen Grundy. Other guests will included New York companies Matthew Westerby Company, Trainor Dance and choreographer Attila Joey Csiki, Staycee Pearl dance project from Pittsburgh, Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami, Boston’s Kat Nasti Dance and Breathing Art Company from Bari, Italy.
The Touring Project is meant to create new opportunities for touring by small and midsize companies; we have already seen the network grow and have performed in 9 new cities. We’re a pick for the summer from the Boston Globe!
The Festival’s 5 shows feature mixed bills of IMC and guest artists. Dancers take class together; directors teach master classes; a commissioned choreographer creates a piece for all Festival dancers. Each night, a Festival choreographer opens the program with an Etude, a work that has been created that day on dancers who elect to participate. Besides the Etudes, at least a dozen new works have been created, as companies take advantage of the focused time together, away from the distractions of other jobs and obligations. Audiences are invited to talk backs after each show, they post their impressions on our “Post-It Wall” in the lobby, they have opportunities to connect with the artists. Artistic Director Miki Ohlsen invites diverse companies doing excellent work from around the country, using a network of “great friends” — previous residency partners, choreographers and presenters. Since 2010, we have presented 28 companies from New York, Texas, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Missouri, Virginia, California and Almaty, Kazakhstan.
The Touring Project has generated capacity audiences and critical attention. Ballet Examiner said at our launch in NYC “a group of motivated dancers, choreographers and arts administrators has the unique opportunity to expand their audiences and hone their creative abilities. This is an example to small dance companies all over the world. Working together will make dance stronger and more accessible.” In 2016, NPR said, “Island Moving’s idea to trade locations with other companies is such a good thing. It allows a small but efficient troupe to not only travel the nation but brings dancers, choreographers and administrators together in what can sometimes be a kind of singular business. And it means Island Moving will be, ahh, moving once again to other venues, new audiences.”
The Touring Project also received the national imprimatur of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2015.