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Colleen Cavanaugh’s ‘Part of the Oath,’ to be performed Oct. 5, 6

Colleen Cavanaugh’s unique dance work connecting ballet to medicine and health – “Part of the Oath Dance Theatre” – will be presented in a RIC Dance Company production on Friday, Oct. 5, and Saturday, Oct. 6, at 7:30 p.m. in the Nazarian Center’s Forman Theater.

Colleen Cavanaugh Dance (Photo: © Thomas Nola-Rion 2011)
Dr. Cavanaugh, an adjunct professor at RIC where she teaches advanced ballet, is also an obstetrics/gynecology physician with an office in Providence, who also practices at Women & Infants Hospital.

She recently formed “Part of the Oath,” referring to the Hippocratic Oath, as a nonprofit dance company focusing on dance and health.

Noting that the Hippocratic Oath requires doctors to educate the community, the Rhode Island native said her dance company reflects the two major aspects of her own life. “I’ve been doing both [medicine and dance] my whole life,” Cavanaugh said. “They’re two separate worlds I want to integrate, to give back to the community.”

Among the dancers who are “Part of the Oath” members are two RIC seniors, Joseph Nicastro and Elyssa Cipriano, and Courtney Asselin, a former RIC student. The RIC students in her dance company and her ballet classes are “wonderful to work with,” she said. “They are so open to learning and they’re hard workers.”

The feeling is mutual, according to Angelica Cardente-Vessella, director of dance at RIC. She said RIC students view Cavanaugh as a great role model. “It gives the kids hope that you can have two jobs like that and do it all,” she said.

Newport’s Island Moving Company also will be part of the Oct. 5 and 6 performances.

Cavanaugh holds an art history degree from Wheaton College in Norton, Mass., and a medical degree from Brown University. She has been an independent choreographer for many years, creating more than 40 ballets that integrate classical and contemporary techniques. Her works range from short solos to full-length ballets for adults and families, and are set to a wide variety of classical and contemporary music.

General admission is $15, with discounts for groups, senior citizens and students. For tickets, contact the RIC Box Office at (401) 456-8144. For more information, call (401) 456-9791.