Island Moving Co.’s seventh annual Great Friends Dance Festival continues July 19-23, 2016 at the Great Friends Meeting House in Newport, RI.

Performances, which are unique each night, are at 7:30pm.  Island Moving Co’s dancers perform each evening with Owen/Cox Dance Group of Kansas City, joined by guest companies Nomad Contemporary Ballet of New York and part of the oath from Providence, RI.

The Meeting House is located at 30 Marlborough Street, Newport, RI.  This year, the Great Friends Dance Festival is dedicated to the memory of Ronald F. Dick, who was an avid and early supporter of Newport’s resident ballet company. Tickets to the performances are $28; $23 for seniors and students.  Ticket prices include a donation to the Newport Historical Society for the maintenance of the Meeting House. 

The Great Friends Dance Festival is nine nights of performance, with a unique shared bill each night, in the intimate and historic 1699 Great Friends Meeting House in the heart of Newport.  Artistic Director Miki Ohlsen invites a diverse roster of guest companies to share performance and creative time at the Festival, which, in addition to this week’s performers, this year included Ballet des Ameriques and BodyStories: Teresa Fellion Dance of New York.  Kansas City’s Owen/Cox Dance, under the direction of Jennifer Owen, is the resident company for the Great Friends Touring Project, meaning that they will host Island Moving Co. for performances in Kansas City in 2017.

The Great Friends Dance Festival includes master classes, open rehearsals, performance and the creation of a daily Etude, created by festival choreographers with a group of self-selected dancers from among the festival’s artists.  During the Festival, a “Big Piece” is commissioned each year, created with all available Festival dancers and presented on the Festival’s final nights.  This year, visiting choreographer Jennifer Owen is creating Three Fables, commissioned by John Paul Primiano and danced by all dancers in the two companies.  Other works presented by Island Moving Co. at the Festival will include works by Miki Ohlsen, Danielle Genest, Shane Farrell and Providence choreographer and Mark Harootian.  A full schedule of Festival activities is available on the website, www.islandmovingco.org .  The Great Friends Dance Festival is made possible with the support of the Newport Historical Society and community members who volunteer to house and feed each year’s group of visiting artists.

Great Friends Touring Project

The Great Friends Dance Festival was founded by Newport’s resident contemporary ballet company to showcase new work and guest companies and artists from around the country.  In 2010, with assistance from the RI Foundation, the IMC began the Great Friends Touring Project, which brings a resident guest company to Newport each summer during the festival, with an exchange performance by Island Moving Co. at that company’s home theatre the following spring.  Great Friends Touring Project companies have included Pasadena Ballet Theatre (CA), Missouri Contemporary Ballet, Surfscape Contemporary Dance (FL), Houston Metropolitan Dance Company (HoustonMet, TX) and Samruk Dance of Almaty, Kazakhstan.  The Great Friends Touring Project won support from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2015.

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Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).