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The Fifth Annual Ringling International Arts Festival

Published October 9, 2013

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The fifth annual Ringling International Arts Festival, Oct. 9-12, 2013, in Sarasota/Bradenton, launches the 2014 arts season on Florida’s “Cultural Coast.” The four-day festival showcases a variety of dance, music, and theater presented in intimate performance venues at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. The Festival is for the fifth year under the artistic direction of the Baryshnikov Arts Center. Tickets range from $30 to $40, excluding the Opening Night. Ticket packages are available.

Rocio MolinaSpain’s Rocío Molina, one of the most brilliant bailaoras of our time, embodies the new forms of expression to be experienced at the Festival. Credited with revolutionizing Flamenco Art, Molina is the recipient of her nation’s most coveted award in the arts, the National Prize for Dance. Her uplifting dance style integrates different artistic schools, such as Flamenco, classical, Spanish classical or the “bolero”, and traditional popular dance. The result is an energetic display of styles that holistically presented creates a “danceable universe” with its own unique language and meaning. Molino performs “Danzaora y Vinática” during RIAF Inspires, the Festival’s Opening Night, Wed., Oct. 9 at 7:00 p.m. in the 500-seat Mertz Theatre. RIAF Inspires is the fundraising gala for the Festival and begins with a 5:30 p.m. reception prior to the performance and dinner in the galleries of The Ringling Museum of Art following. Tickets to RIAF Inspires are available through The Ringling ticket office for $500 per person. Molino also performs twice during the Festival on Thurs., Oct. 10 at 1:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Tickets are $40.

Tere O'ConnorTere O’Connor Dance performs two works in the choreographer’s signature abstract documentary form. O’Connor uses the power of dance as a sub-linguistic area of expression, braiding together the personal and universal. This boldly individualist approach to choreography explores the complex coexistence of time, metaphor, and memory. Performances are Thurs., Oct. 10 at 5:00 p.m., Friday, Oct. 11 at 1:00 and 9:00 p.m., and Sat., Oct. 12 at 1:00 p.m. in the Mertz Theatre. 

BelarusThe Belarus Free Theater presents “Minsk 2011: A Reply to Kathy Acker.”   Performed in Russian with English subtitles, the work dramatizes the stories of ordinary people’s erotic lives in the Belarusian capital and amidst the shadow of a country grappling with Europe’s last remaining dictatorship. Currently banned from performance in their own country, the company has been awarded the 2011 “Fringe First Award” at the Edinburgh Festival and was recently featured at the Under the Radar Festival in New York City.  Their work’s mise-en-scène is, in all senses, raw, even brutal, though not without occasional humor and poetic beauty. Performances are Thurs., Oct. 10 at 1:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., Friday, Oct. 11 at 5:00 p.m., and Sat., Oct. 12 at 1:00 p.m. in the Cook Theatre.

Leev Theater GroupThe Leev Theater Group of Iran stages “Hamlet,  Prince of Grief, a humorous and most unusual rendition of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Abbreviated into a 40 minute performance, the script is written by Mohammed Charmshir and directed by Mohammed Aghebati. Performed in Farsi with English subtitles. Actor Afshin Hashemi is Hamlet. To narrate this version of the classical tale he employs an imaginative menagerie of plastic toys to symbolize the inhabitants of Hamlet’s drama. Shows are Thurs., Oct. 10 at 5:00 p.m., Friday, Oct. 11 at 1:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., and Sat., Oct. 12 at 5:00 p.m. in the Cook Theatre.

Prutsman Aeolus QuartetSherlock Jr.” integrates live music with silent film to re-create the mystique of the silent-film era. The performance features the jazzy and eclectic musical compositions of pianist Stephen Prutsman. Prutsman and the Aeolus Quartet perform the inventive score with a screening of “Sherlock Jr.,” a 1924 Buster Keaton comedy.  Prutsman is a renowned pianist, composer, and conductor, who has performed with many of the world’s leading orchestras. Aeolus Quartet is an all-American quartet and recipient of the First Prize at the 2009 Coleman International Chamber Ensemble Competition, Grand Prizewinners of the 2011 Plowman Chamber Music Competition, and 2012 John Lad Prize. Shows are Thurs., Oct. 10 at 9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 11 at 5:00 and 9:00 p.m., and Sat., Oct. 12 at 5:00 p.m. in The Ringling Historic Asolo Theater.


The Festival will further engage audiences across the 66-acres estate with Jazz Sunsets on the Bay.  It features live jazz music and dancing, Thurs., Oct. 10 and Friday, Oct. 11 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on the Bolger Campiello. It is free of charge with Museum admission.


Closing Night PartyThe “RIAF Closing Night Party,Sat., Oct. 12, which starts at 6:30 p.m. brings the Festival to close. Live entertainment, fireworks, and food and beverages make this a celebratory evening in the Courtyard of The Ringling Museum of Art.  Tickets are $40 (Icon level) and $75 (Legend –VIP – level). To purchase tickets, contact The Ringling Historic Asolo Theater Box Office at 941.360.7399.


RIAF 2013 marks the fifth and final year of the partnership between The Ringling and The Baryshnikov Arts Center. RIAF 2014 artistic programming is currently in development and is overseen by The Ringling’s Curator of Performance, Dwight Currie. “When the Museum launched the Festival in partnership with the Baryshnikov Arts Center in 2009, it helped establish The Ringling as an anchor for contemporary performance in Southwest Florida,” shared Steven High, executive director of The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. “By working with BAC to present international artists over the past five years, The Ringling and BAC created a new community of patrons for both organizations.”

“The Sarasota/Bradenton communities have enthusiastically embraced the variety of artists presented by BAC and it has been very exciting for us to program for such adventurous arts consumers that have welcomed us so warmly,” said Georgiana Pickett, executive director, of the Baryshnikov Arts Center. “Over the course of our relationship with The Ringling, both organizations have benefited greatly and we will continue to be fans of the Museum, of the Festival, and of Sarasota/Bradenton.”


High added, “The Ringling has grown from our close partnership with the BAC and watched the organization expand into new areas. We deeply appreciate their support over the past five years and look forward to the Festival’s evolution.”

For more information on The fifth annual Ringling International Arts Festival, including performances, tickets and sponsors, visit

[learn_more caption=”The Baryshnikov Arts Center”]The Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC) was established in 2005 to house the core activities of the Baryshnikov Dance Foundation, incorporated in 1979 by Mikhail Baryshnikov. BAC serves as a creative laboratory, meeting place, and performance space for a vibrant community of artists from around the world. BAC is also dedicated to building audiences for the arts by presenting contemporary, innovative work at low or no cost to the public. To date, BAC programs have served more than 500 artists, and approximately 6,000 audience members visit the Center each year.  Located in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City, BAC comprises four large column-free studios, a studio theater, and office space. In November 2008, BAC purchased a 299-seat theater within the building that houses its existing facilities. BAC renovated and re-opened the new Jerome Robbins Theater in February 2010. The renowned Wooster Group is the resident theater company of BAC, creating and performing work in the new venue three months out of the year. Other programming in the theater parallels the existing mission of BAC, emphasizing multi-disciplinary work, emerging talent, and international artists who might not otherwise have the opportunity to perform in the U.S.[/learn_more] 
[learn_more caption=”The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art”]The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is the State Art Museum of Florida.  Affiliated with Florida State University, it is one of the largest university arts complexes in the nation.  It features The Ringling Ca’ d’Zan, John and Mable’s winter residence, as well as The Ringling Museum of Art, The Ringling Circus Museum, and The Ringling Historic Asolo Theater  situated on The Ringling Bayfront Gardens, a  beautiful sixty-six acre estate.  The Museum of Art is world-renowned for its collection of Old Master paintings, which includes works by artists such as Paolo Veronese and Diego Velasquez.  It has become synonymous with the Flemish master Peter Paul Rubens, whose Triumph of the Eucharist series is displayed in two of the most awe-inspiring galleries to be found anywhere in America. In 2011, The Ringling opened Joseph’s Coat, a Skyspace by created by artist James Turrell.  This extraordinary installation is the cornerstone of the Art of Our Time initiative, which showcases the talents of today’s leading visual and performance artists. The Circus Museum documents the rich history of the American circus.  It houses a wealth of circus artifacts, as well as the world’s largest miniature circus. The Historic Asolo Theater is an active performance space, presenting the best in theater, music, dance, and film. The Ringling estate features an extensive variety of native and exotic trees, as well as the oldest rose garden in Florida, founded by Mable Ringling. The Ringling Education Center is home to The Ringling Art Library, which houses more than 88,000 volumes from the 16th-21st centuries, relating to all aspects of the museum’s collections.[/learn_more]