American Festival Ballet
Arabian Village Dancers
The Cadence Dance Project
Groundwerx Dance Theatre
Rhode Island Civic Ballet
Rhode Island Dance Repertory Company
Annamaura Silverblatt
WestSide Dance Project

AFB was started in Rhode Island in the late 50's with Rienzo Reiss as the Artistic Director and Lidia Pettine as the Ballet Mistress. Christine Hennessey, who went on to found Festival Ballet, was one of the princpal dancers. Marilyn Smayda, now director of The Studio in Narragansett, was also a member of the company. The company was based in Germany and performed all over Europe as well as in Rhode Island.

91 Knowlton Street
Riverside, RI 02915
Phone: 401-437-1268
Babemba USA,a West African Dance Company, tours the United States with dancers and musicians from the US, Mali, Senegal, and Gambia performing concert pieces to authentic West African music. RiDance has never seen any announcements for this dance company. It looks as though it has been phased out in and replaced with NEW WORKS/WORLD TRADITIONS
See also LITTLE BABEMBA.(posted 17May99/updated 07Feb02)

Phone 401-738-5404
Web site:
Cadence Dance Project has disbanded its company of dancers and will not perform and produce ballets for the next several years. Cadence Dance Project's artistic output and Colleen's choreographic development soared in the four years since the founding of the company. Our organizational infrastructure development, so essential for sustaining a resident company, could scarcely keep pace, and with the changed economic and philanthropic climate of the autumn of 2001, we felt it was time to embark in a new direction.

Cadence Dance Project, Inc. will modify its nonprofit mission to make its repertoire and outreach programs available to other dance companies throughout the region. Colleen will continue to choreograph for dancers and companies in New England as well as to practice obstetrics and gynecology. Her most recent work, a solo entitled Impatient, was premiered at Ballet Builders' showcase of choreography competition winners in New York City on March 23 and 24, 2002, performed by American Ballet Theater's Maria Riccetto.

Formed in 1998, the Cadence Dance Project was an active Providence-based contemporary ballet company comprised of versatile, classically trained ballet dancers who performed the critically acclaimed choreography of Colleen Cavanaugh. Cadence's goal is to integrate different styles of movement and music into contemporary ballet choreography. William K.Gale of the Providence Journal described a Cadence Dance Project performance as "top flight... strong and fanciful dancing, with a wide variety of choreography."
Artistic Director: Colleen Cavanaugh
Assistant Artistic Director: Donald Acevedo
Donald Acevedo
Robin Allen
Victor Carnesolta
Dorothea Garland
Alejandro Gomez
Letitia Guerrero
Marisa Soltis
Dina Ternullo
Rolando Troconis
Guest Artist
Eva Marie Pacheco

Contact: Talia
Phone: 401-821-6173
Under the artistic direction of Talia, Dunya incorporates both cabaret and folkloric styles of Arabic dance. Named after the Turkish word for 'world', Dunya seeks to preserve and promote holistic appreciation of the ancient art form of belly dance through performances and educational demonstrations. They are available to perform at festivals, parties, schools, and private events.
(posted 18Apr03)

GROUNDWERX DANCE THEATREPoster from a Spring 2001 performance
95 Empire St
Providence R.I.
Contact: Heather Ahern
Phone: 401-454-4564
Founded in 1986 by Heather Ahern, Peter Bramante and Donna Meierdiercks, Groundwerx Dance Theatre's repertory included original, commissioned and site-specific works that was developed through a process of interpersonal and interdisciplinary collaboration. The company's intensely physical and theatrical style of choreography earned many awards and commissions. "Brash, boisterous and inventive...exhilarating, evocative and entertaining..." said The Phoenix's NewPaper. With the departure of Peter to work as a teacher and administrator and Donna to England, Groundwerx has evolved into a very free-wheeling coop sort of a dance company held together primarily by Groundwerx director, Heather Ahern.
Dancers who perform under the aegis of Groundwerx or who are closely affiliated as of 2001/2002
Heather Ahern
Kathy Nicoli
Joan Brazier
Heidi Henderson
Grechen Rowe
Kathy Gordon Smith
Melody Ruffin Ward
In addition, Heather hosts a more-or-less monthly choreography workshop at Groundwerx which is open to the public. Any dancer or performance artist may show works in progress or completed performances. Videos are welcome. Following the performances, the choreographers and performers answer questions and discuss various aspects of their dance or movement. Performers should call several weeks in advance to get on the program.
Groundwerx offers a wide assortment of dance lessons and the space (with a sprung Marley floor) may be rented for dance rehearsals.
As of August 2002, Heather is in California working on her MFA. Groundwerx, the dance company, will sleep soundly while she is gone while Groundwerx, the dance school, will continue under the tender auspices of Perishable theatre. (15Jan00/updated 17Apr01/16Dec01/03Jan02/08Sep02)

43 East Street
Providence, RI 02906
Contact: Michelle Giuliano-Rosciti
Phone: 888-447-0359
A Middle Eastern Dance Company with choreography by Morwenna Assuf. Lectures, demonstrations and performances. Specializing in Egyptian cabaret and Lebanese folklore. The troupe has done extensive work with audiences of all ages and backgrounds. This dance form is over 3,000 years old and a great way to keep in shape while learning technique.
(corrected phone number 11Oct01)
Rhode Island Civic Ballet was founded in the 50's by the legendary Lidia Pettine with the intent of unifying dance schools in Rhode Island.

Julie Strandberg 1st Artistic Director
Marty Sprague 2nd Artistic Director

Pojac Point
North Kingstown, RI 02852
Phone: 401-885-4901
Annamaura Silverblatt is a choreographer and dancer. She holds an MA in performance/choreography from UCLA; had early dance training at the Martha Graham School; and writes of her work, "My beginnings as a choreographer are found in the cobbled streets and the long archways of Bologna, Italy, where I was born. Art and music are structural components of my choreography as are both improvisation and traditional modern dance vocabulary." Classes, commissions, and performances.

115 Ellery Avenue
Middletown, RI 02842
Contact: Joya Granbery Hoyt
Phone 401-846-7212
Pamela Granbery and Joya Granbery Hoyt, sisters, show videos and films of their dance compositions and do live performance in combination with film and slide projections. They perform individually and together.

78 Verndale Avenue
Providence, RI 02905
Phone: 401-941-8013
Tithtra is a Cambodian dancer and musician, but is not performing at this time. He can direct people to other Cambodian musicians and dancers. He was trained in both folk and classical Khmer dance forms with master dancers from the University of Phnom Penh. He was dancing with the Angkor Dance Troupe (Lowell, Ma). He is the Rhode Island contact for the Angkor Dance Troupe, a spectacular traditional performing group backed by an equally riveting group of Cambodian musicians. Their website is
(updated 18 Oct00/11Oct01)

The Loft
333 Main Street
2nd Floor
East Greenwich RI 02818
Contact: Mary Reavey Gendreau
Phone 401-886-4314
WestSide Dance Project is being launched in collaboration with the American Dance Legacy Institute (ADLI) whose objective is to provide on-going access to an evolving and enduring canon of archival and contemporary dance masterworks holding true to the process by which they were created. The dancers of WestSide Dance Project represent a diverse group of women from all walks of life. From student and career woman to full-time mother, these women have learned and been coached through the choreography and style of great ADLI masterworks. This merger of the past and present will develop a repertoire rich in modern dance technique and passion. Responsible for launching this innovative effort are Laura Strandberg Bennett and Mary Reavey Gendreau. Both native Rhode Islanders, these women have been steeped in the discipline of Modern Dance from very young ages. The two have collaborated as activists for the preservation of the true nature of modern dance. Bennett, a graduate of Brown University and Gendreau, a graduate of Bryant College are independent dancers, choreographers and educators.
(posted 30Mar03)

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