By Carol Stocker
Globe Garden Writer
Newport, RI. - Ronald Lee Fleming of the Townscape Institute in Cambridge is creating an important classical garden at Bellevue House, his Newport summer home, which is celebrating its centennial this year. It was built in 1910 by celebrated designer Ogdon Codman for his aunt Martha Codman Karolik, whose collection of painting, furniture and silver forms the hub of the Museum of Fine Art's American collection. A reproduction of an 18th century Samuel McIntire tea house was built in the garden in 1926. Since purchasing the house in 1999, Fleming has added two more full scale reproductions of McIntire's Federal period architecture as garden follies, an Oriental garden and formal hedges, fountains and a central axis to create a network of garden rooms that reference historic landscape design.
Fleming hosted a fundraiser for The Island Moving Company here Sept. 18. The dance troupe specializes in "site specific" performances, and have performed on an aircraft career and a beach as well as some of Newport's most spectacular mansions. At twilight last Saturday a half dozen nymphs in blue togas frolicked barefoot in fountains and danced their way through Bellevue House's new classical gardens. They chimed finger cymbals to lead about 50 supporters from one garden room to the next, each outfitted with outdoor speakers providing music. Attendees included Margot and Richard Grosvenor, Ellen Barnes, Sunne Savage, Sidney Williams, Theodora Aspergren, Kate Spinell and company artistic director Miki Ohlsen and its executive director Dominique Alfandre
Dancers performed vignettes from the company's own "Dracula" ballet in Fleming's new Oriental Fantasy Garden and around a new copper domed reproduction of a church cupola designed by McIntire. Dancers pantomimed a nourishing blood feast as darkness fell on the garden.
The Island Moving Company has two full scale "site specific" ballets scheduled for other Bellevue Aveune mansions: "The Nut Cracker," at Rosecliff Mansion Nov. 26-Dec. 3, and "Dracula," Oct. 20-24 at Belcourt Castle. Dracula was created to fit the Gothic mansion, and progresses through its library, gallery and two ballrooms with audience in tow.
After watching the garden performance David Grant of Newport said his old school chum Dominic von Habsburg, who now owns the famous 13th century Bram Castle in Transylvania, "went to the Dracula ballet last year at Belcourt and loved it!"
For more information on "site specific" performances visit www.islandmovingco.org.