Dancers and supporters of Island Moving Company (IMC) will gather in the afternoon of January 22, 2017 to hear Newport, RI Mayor Harry Winthrop proclaim “Island Moving Company Day” at the Company’s studios on Washington Square in Newport.

The Mayor helps to celebrate the start of IMC’s 35th season and the “new look” of the Company’s studios in the heart of Newport. Windows, lobbies and studios in the building at 3 Charles Street now display vibrant photos of the IMC dancers made by photographer Clint Clemens.

A year ago, photographer Clint Clemens and his wife Kelly asked Artistic Director Miki Ohlsen how they could help promote the dance company, of which they had become fans. Clemens is a world-renowned commercial photographer living in Newport and Kelly Clemens is a producer. A photoshoot followed in April of 2016, with the studio transformed with lights and drapes and Clint Clemens and his assistants leading two days of intensive and collaborative work with the dancers and Ohlsen. Longtime supporters of the Company Don and Jana Jagoe joined the Clemens in supporting the costs of the shoot. Mounting of Clemens’ images was done by William MacGowan, with installation of the front window panels done in November by Matt Landman and his crew. A group of sponsors including the Jagoes, Cynthia Sinclair, Bill and Nancy Peresta, Bobby Doherty, Riky Nuenighoff, Nicola Conraths & Jens Lange, John & Prudence Bailey, Mary & Guy Van Pelt, Pamela & Khaled Younes, Sarah & Donald Libbey and Luned & Rosamund Palmer underwrote the costs of making the images into grand panels. Island Moving Company is still seeking sponsorship for further panels for the staircase. Visit http://islandmovingco.org/clint-clemens-dazzling-images-added/ to learn more and make a donation.

Island Moving Company Day also heralds the Company’s purchase of the Newport Academy of Ballet (NAB), its affiliate school. The purchase will strengthen both organizations and make the combined entity sustainable for another 35 years.

IMC Artistic Director Miki Ohlsen founded the NAB in 1979 on her return from a professional dance career in Holland. Three years later, a group of dancers seeking a forum for their choreography joined Ohlsen to form the Island Moving Company. They used NAB’s studios for rehearsal, as they do today. Over 35 years, the dual entities grew in parallel, led by Ohlsen, but were never legally joined. A short campaign led by the IMC Board under John La Rocca, former Board chair John Brooks and assisted by a generous challenge gift from the Burnham family raised the downpayment enabling Island Moving Company to finally purchase the NAB. Miki Ohlsen remains as the Director of the Newport Academy of Ballet, as well as Artistic Director of IMC, as she has been. Day to day operations at the studio will remain the same.

The day will begin at 1pm with an open rehearsal in the studio where patrons can observe little mice learning their roles in Mother Goose at Rosecliff. At 2pm the public is invited for NAB registration and an open house to see Clint Clemens’ stunning images throughout the building. At 3:30pm all will gather outside in Washington Square for Mayor Harry Winthrop’s proclamation. A reception will follow at 3:45pm upstairs in the Company’s studios. The address at the studio is 3 Charles Street, Newport. All events are free; please rsvp at info@islandmovingco.org.

Island Moving Company’s 35th season begins with an Opening Weekend at Rosecliff, featuring Mother Goose and A Collection of Attitudes, featuring the premiere of works by Ballet Brio’s Rodney Rivera and Danielle Genest. The Company will tour to Houston and perform at the Casino Theater upon their return in May. The Great Friends Dance Festival will return to the Great Friends Meeting House July 19-23. IMC’s site specific dance and art festival, Open for Dancing, takes place at sites throughout Newport September 20-24. The 16th season of the Newport Nutcracker at Rosecliff will take place November 24-December 1st. For more information about Island Moving Company, visit www.islandmovingco.org.

Ryan M. Belmore

Ryan M. Belmore is the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and serves on the Board of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and Lucy's Hearth. Send questions, tips, and story ideas to Ryan@whatsupnewp.com.