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Island Moving Company | Newport Dance Festival 2021

Sponsored by: Island Moving Company

The Island Moving Company is Newport’s contemporary ballet company that was founded in 1982. Their mission is to build the cultural, educational and economic vitality of Newport County, RI through dance creation, performance and education.


00:04 Miki Ohlsen, Artistic Director, Island Moving Company

I’m Miki Ohlsen. I’m the artistic director of the island Moving Company, which is Newport’s resident contemporary ballet company. The Island Moving Company was founded in 1982. We were a group of dancers who were performing with other companies in the state at the time. But we were looking for a place where we could start creating our own work and exploring our own voices.

00:27 Peter Bramante, Executive Director, Island Moving Company

This company really is based on collaboration and innovation where many voices contribute to the whole

00:35 Miki Ohlsen

atmosphere full of openness and creativity, rather than sort of top down hierarchical experience for dancers, which was remarkable.

00:45 Peter Bramante

Most cities of this size would never have a resident professional ballet company like we do.

00:52 Miki Ohlsen

Newport isn’t the place you think of. So we had to create that. And we did that by creating national recognition for this organization, through a new Touring model that we developed together.

Touring Model

01:04 Peter Bramante

And so we’ve been able to attract and our dancers come really from all around the world, dancers from Kazakhstan, from Cuba, from across the country. As a young company that wanted to break out of Rhode Island and New England, this was an opportunity, we sort of created one called our great friends Touring model, and it’s about an exchange with other companies.

01:27 Miki Ohlsen

By creating this Touring model. We were bringing people in and presenting them but the, the exchange in that is that we present them in the summer, the following spring were presented in their hometown wherever it is. So it provided us with these opportunities to have these main stage gorgeous shows in other communities, and then to bring in incredible artists to this community as we do in our dance festival.

Dance Festival

01:53 Peter Bramante

The festival itself, which the public facing performances are six nights, July 20. Through the 25th. We add an outdoor stage that we construct on the lawn of the great Friends Meeting House, which is one of the properties of the Newport Historical Society. Each of the evenings are different programs and Island movie company will be present for all of those performances. And then these visiting companies we have each year a resident company that is with us the entire two week period, and then other visiting companies that come from around the country. So we’ve got the Malashock  Dance coming from San Diego is our resident company this year. We will be out in San Diego next year. We were just in Seattle on a tour and then that company Cyrus Khambatta Dance Company come out of dances coming here, that’s a really unique festival model. It’s not just about presentation, it is about the creative process. You know, it’s like a think tank, artists and makers coming here sharing work, and then presenting it every evening and different stuff that comes up.

02:56 Miki Ohlsen

It’s so important to us to be in the forefront of our community’s mind, providing them with these opportunities to see art and experience something on a visceral level.

03:07 Peter Bramante

Come with curiosity and an open mind and we just invite people to come with that open spirit to see great dance and to connect with our artists  and share what they’re thinking. So we really want the audience to be part of that engagement.


03:21 Miki Ohlsen

One of our mottos or mission statements is create, perform and educate by embedding ourselves entirely in community by providing great art wherever and whenever we possibly can. If you had told me when I was 21 that this would have been my career I you never could have imagined. So it’s it’s amazing.