Dracula's new digs

Plus, Fusionworks turns 25, and a world of exotic moves
By JOHNETTE RODRIGUEZ  |  September 12, 2012

THOUGHT-PROVOKING Everett will present Brain Storm at Brown University’s Granoff Center.

Take a quick glance at the fall calendar for performance events and you'll see there's a whole lotta dancin' goin' on! From the international groups who will guest at the FirstWorks Festival and Rhode Island College's Performing Arts Series to the home-grown talents of college companies and teenaged choreographers, there are choices galore.

Why not begin with a dance film? Specifically, a documentary about ISLAND MOVING CO.'s Open for Dancing program, which has sponsored astounding site-specific pieces in Newport since 2002. The world premiere of A Sense of Place, directed by Rocco Michaluk and focused on the process of creating the 2011 Open for Dancing festival, will be held on September 20 at the Jane Pickens Theater.

Another innovation in Island Moving Co.'s schedule is a shift of venue for their gripping adaptation of Dracula. First performed in 2009 and 2010 in Belcourt Castle, this year's extravaganza will take place at Seaview Terrace, which is owned by the Carey family and whose exterior was used as the setting for the '60s TV soap opera Dark Shadows.

Indeed, IMC's artistic director Miki Ohlsen emphasizes that this chateau-like building has a more eerie feel to it than Belcourt, partly due to the high ceilings and stone floors.

"There are certainly some scenes when you feel as though you're in an inescapable chamber," she noted. "Plus, the audience will come in the back entrance, with that iconic image from Dark Shadows, all those turrets and the balcony."

Other differences from Belcourt include using an extra room and taking advantage of the many leaded-glass windows. Ohlsen is planning to do a lot of lighting from the outside to "play off the details of this castle and enhance the production."

With one new dancer and a guest performer in IMC's troupe of nine, the choreography will change a bit, but "working with the silks," a gymnastic term for the aerial dance done with the dancer's body hanging between two long rope-like pieces of fabric, will reappear in the seduction scene. And the audience still moves from room to room, in this "dangerously close dance," with live music by Felix Ventouras. Dracula will be performed October 17-21. Be there and be scared.

IMC's other site-specific piece this fall (also with audience members moving from room to room) will be the popular Newport Nutcracker at Rosecliff (November 23-25 and 27-30, islandmovingco.org).

Rhode Island's other Nutcracker-maker, FESTIVAL BALLET PROVIDENCE, will present their version of the annual classic at the Providence Performing Arts Center December 14-16. Other autumn events for Festival Ballet: Together We Dance, a gala benefit for the company at the Vets on October 10 that features invited guest artists from national companies; and Festival's fall program for their in-studio series, Up Close on Hope (October 19, 20, 26, 27, and November 2 and 3, festivalballet.com).

In their 25th anniversary year, FUSION-WORKS DANCE COMPANY (fusionworks dance.org) will have two performances in Massachusetts, plus two at Rhode Island College and one at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul. On October 14, they will do an improvised "Movement Installation" at the Dedee Shattuck Gallery in Westport, MA. And on November 16 and 17, they will be in RIC's Sapinsley Hall for a full-length program of modern pieces — always challenging, always varied. As their long-time motto declares: "Different is good!"

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Related: Fall Dance Preview: Things are moving around town, Island Moving Co. and friends, Fall Dance Preview: Kick up your heels!, More more >
  Topics: Dance , Dance, Island Moving Co., festival ballet providence,  More more >
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