Island Moving Co., Newport’s resident contemporary ballet company, continues its tradition of engagement with the Newport County schools with the first of a series of workshops in its Math Into Movement residencies.

Artistic Director Miki Ohlsen and Program Director Christine Sandorfi met with Aquidneck School second grade teachers yesterday to teach them the first lesson plan in the residency’s movement curriculum teaching addition.  These lesson plans will become part of the math curriculum at each Aquidneck Island elementary school over the next few months, with further math concepts covered and with Island Moving Co dancers visiting each school to engage the second graders with the movement curriculum.

The Math Into Movement residency was developed with assistance from the Frances R. Dewing Foundation and was developed and piloted at Newport’s Claiborne Pell Elementary School in 2015.  The expansion of the program to all Aquidneck Island schools was made possible by grants from the van Beuren Charitable Foundation and the Rhode Island Foundation’s Newport County Fund.  The van Beuren Charitable Foundation is also underwriting the development of a new first grade Math Into Movement residency that Island Moving Co. will add to the workshops presented in the Aquidneck Island elementary schools during the winter months.


“Miki and I had a great time with the Aquidneck School second grade teachers the other day,” said Sandorfi. “Learning these movement tools for the first time, they were all excited and open to the possibilities these lessons provide to reach their students who learn kinetically.  The movements also reinforce the concepts for every kid.  The first grade component is going to be so helpful – it was the suggestion of the Pell School teachers that we start earlier with the addition lesson.  It’s based on a concept called skip counting, which already sounds like dancing.”

The Math Into Movement residency will involve over 1000 Aquidneck Island children in movement in their classrooms this school year.  In addition, IMC will be at several of the schools with a Text Into Movement residency created for third graders.  In Newport, that residency will be supported by grants from the North Family Trust and the Secret Garden Tours sponsored by the Benefactors of the Arts.  PTO funding from many of the schools also supports the residencies as well as legislative grants from the RI House and Senate.

Island Moving Co. is committed to connecting the school curriculum to the arts.  As Artistic Director Miki Ohlsen has said, “Dance can reach children who don’t always do well in the traditional classroom and getting everybody up to move is a way to fight childhood obesity.  There’s never any right or wrong in an IMC workshop — students connect strongly with the dancers, who encourage them to experiment and make creative choices.  We think it’s important that these students engage with artists who live and work in our beautiful and vibrant community.”

For information about the IMC’s schools programs, visit the website at  Call Island Moving Co. at 401 847-4470 to ask about bringing a residency to your child’s school.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What's Up Newp. He was born and raised in Rhode Island and graduated from Coventry High School. He serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors for Potter League for Animals. Ryan also is currently the Senior Editor - North America for Mountain News, publisher of OnTheSnow. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).