The Phoenix Network:
About  |  Advertise
Adult  |  Moonsigns  |  Band Guide  |  Blogs  |  In Pictures

Must-see moves

Flying feet and acrobatic hijinks
By JOHNETTE RODRIGUEZ  |  September 16, 2009


TAKING FLIGHT Karla Kovatch in Festival Ballet's The Widow's Broom.

Two of this fall's dance performances will tell Halloween-style stories — a reprise of Viktor Plotnikov's THE WIDOW'S BROOM, by Festival Ballet Providence, and a premiere of Miki Ohlsen's DRACULA, by Island Moving Co. The latter company has made a name for itself in doing site-specific performances, especially with their NUTCRACKER at Rosecliff (this year November 27-December 4), in which the scenes of the story are shifted, along with the audience, from room to room in the Newport mansion.

Envisioning a ballet set in another Newport mansion, artistic director Miki Ohlsen thought of Belcourt Castle and readily got permission from owner Harley Tinney, who "loves doing adventurous things and doesn't treat her castle as a museum," according to Ohlsen. Brainstorming with her son, Ohlsen came up with a ballet of Dracula that will move among the rooms and furnishings of the historic house, which will add its own sense of eeriness and mystery to the tale.

Along with the choreography, Ohlsen has been working with composer Felix Ventouras on original music for the ballet, as well as figuring out such special effects as film projections and two of the dancers "working in the silks" — i.e., "flying."

"For every person, the essence of this story is different," Ohlsen pointed out, "and although the opening scene is a masked ball with 16 to 18 people — and we're encouraging audience members to come in masks — I've distilled the story down to my nine dancers. Through them, I think we can create a full and intimate experience."

For more information about Dracula or The Nutcracker at Rosecliff, go to island

Festival Ballet Providence has had such success with the UP CLOSE, ON HOPE series at their Black Box Theater that they're introducing another two-part fall-winter program, chatter-BOXtheater, designed especially for children. The first will be Valerie Cookson-Botto's PETER AND THE WOLF (October 3-4 and 10-11). The Up Close, on Hope fall program (November 7, 14-15, and 21-22) will feature world and Rhode Island premieres from guest and resident choreographers, but the program will also highlight pieces by George Balanchine. Main-stage productions will be THE WIDOW'S BROOM (October 30-November 1) at the VMA Arts & Cultural Center, based on the tale of a broom brought to life in Chris Van Allsburg's story; and the holiday favorite THE NUTCRACKER, (at PPAC December 11-13,

FUSIONWORKS DANCE COMPANY will present its annual fall concert on November 20 and 21 at Rhode Island College. The second performance is an "unwrapped" version, meaning that there are short explanations of each dance before it is performed. They are also presenting the Downcity Fusion Fest on October 17 and Firehouse Friday on November 6 (

Everett Dance Theatre and the Carriage House continue to present improv theatre and dance on a weekly basis with its FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE extravaganza. See

PAULA HUNTER is back in town, from a successful summer run at chashama in New York City, where she presented We Are Karen Finley with two of the dancers from her youth company called JUMP! Now in its 10th year, this company of young dancers collaborate and improvise with Hunter to create their own choreography, which they will perform at Firehouse 13 on October 16 and 17 and at the Providence Children's Museum on November 20. They will reprise their annual SCENES FROM THE POLAR EXPRESS on December 12 and 13 at the Bishop Middle School in Providence. For more information, go to or

Two organizations that bring dance groups from across the country or around the world are the FIRSTWORKS FESTIVAL ( and the Performing Arts Series at Rhode Island College ( First Works will present the YELLOW BIRD INDIAN DANCERS (October 17), Native American dancers whose performances encompass Apache, Southwest, and Northern Plains traditions and feature the 2008 World Champion Teen Hoop Dancer; HORSE (October 24), Taiwan's first all-male dance company that combines theater, drama, mime, and movement in Velocity; and CIRQUE MECHANICS (November 14), veterans of Cirque du Soleil, Pickle Family Circus, and Moscow Circus who will present Birdhouse Factory, a collage of acrobatic hijinks. The Performing Arts Series at RIC is hosting FIVE BY DESIGN (October 1), performing its musical Club Swing, spotlighting America's swing era; the SHAOLIN WARRIORS (October 21), a troupe of Zen Buddhist monks from China in a fully-choreographed program of martial arts; and CIRCO AEREO (November 5), another group which utilizes circus arts with creative movement and theatre.

Also at RIC, the RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE DANCE COMPANY will present percussionist/rhythm dancer, "body musician," and Guggenheim Award winner KEITH TERRY on October 9. The piece Crosspulse will explore the creative possibilities of percussion and movement. The RIC Dance Company will feature Connecticut College professors and award-winning choreographers Lisa Race and Heidi Henderson in an evening of contemporary modern dance on October 23.

The ROGER WILLIAMS UNIVERSITY DANCE THEATRE will be in concert December 3-5, with new works by faculty, students, and guest artists Elizabeth Spatz and A'Keitha Carey. At PROVIDENCE COLLEGE, the fall dance concert will be that same weekend (December 4 and 5), with guest choreographers Nikki Carrara, Lise Brody, Jamie Jewitt, Eva Marie Pacheco, and Lindsay Guarino.

BROWN UNIVERSITY's Family Week-End Dance Concert is October 16-18 and features students performing works by faculty and guest artists. The annual fall dance concert is November 19-22, with all-student choreography.

  Topics: Dance , Entertainment, Dance, Fusionworks Dance Company,  More more >
  • Share:
  • Share this entry with Facebook
  • Share this entry with Digg
  • Share this entry with Delicious
  • RSS feed
  • Email this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Today's Event Picks
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   THE VILLAGE RESTAURANT  |  September 23, 2009
    I remember my click of recognition when I first saw a West African recipe for black-eyed-pea fritters with hot sauce, since my family in the South had always doused black-eyed peas with hot pepper sauce.
  •   MUST-SEE MOVES  |  September 16, 2009
    Two of this fall's dance performances will tell Halloween-style stories — a reprise of Viktor Plotnikov's THE WIDOW'S BROOM , by Festival Ballet Providence, and a premiere of Miki Ohlsen's DRACULA , by Island Moving Co.
  •   JUNCTION TRATTORIA AND BISTRO  |  September 09, 2009
    On a recent rainy Friday evening, we were calling around for a place to eat dinner. One restaurant had no reservations till 9 pm (it's still tourist season); another was farther away than we'd realized, and we might end up eating at that same hour.
  •   DEWOLF TAVERN  |  August 25, 2009
    Our previous visit to DeWolf Tavern was on a wintry December eve, and I had been yearning to take in the setting in the summer. Thus we recently perched ourselves on a balcony overlooking Bristol Harbor, cooled by the constant sea breeze that set the moored sailboats a-bobbing.
  •   FRANKLIN SPA  |  August 11, 2009
    You know how some places just seem like they have a story behind them and you keep meaning to stop over the years but somehow it's never the right time of day (diner-type places mostly close by 2 pm)? That's been my relationship with Franklin Spa until I finally placed it squarely in my sights for a trip to Newport last week.

 See all articles by: JOHNETTE RODRIGUEZ

RSS Feed of for the most popular articles
 Most Viewed   Most Emailed 

  |  Sign In  |  Register
Phoenix Media/Communications Group:
Copyright © 2009 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group