The Ringling International Arts Festival (RIAF) returns Oct. 15-18, to Sarasota, Fla. with a roster of artists from the U.S., Central and South America, the Middle East, Europe, and Great Britain. In an announcement made from The Ringling’s Historic Asolo Theater on Feb. 26, RIAF organizers outlined an eclectic roster of contemporary dance, jazz, comic puppetry, world music, nouveau cirque, and even sci-fi fantasy adventure.
“I am especially excited and proud of this year’s festival,” said Steven High, Ringling Executive Director. “Under the curatorial direction of Dwight Currie, RIAF2014 will feature diverse, vibrant, and accessible performances, an additional venue, and a casual environment for dialogue with other festivalgoers.“
Citing intent to reach-out to new festivalgoers while at the same time challenging the event’s base of loyal supporters, The Ringling’s Curator of Performance, Dwight Currie presented the festival line-up as “a collection of dynamic productions selected for their broad appeal and contagious energy. We expect to see people exiting the theaters fully engaged and ready for more.”
Thirty performances of seven productions are schedule in four venues, all within walking-distance of The Ringling’s campus. With daily curtain times at 2, 5 and 8 p.m., and free jazz concerts, museum tours, and conversation gatherings with food service available in between, RIAF is designed to encourage day-long visits by performing arts enthusiasts. Tickets went on sale following the announcement on Feb. 26 and continue throughout the four-day festival in October.
Afro-Cuban percussionist Martinez leads a quartet of Rumba virtuosi from Cuba, Venezuela, and Peru in a performance of genre-busing musical innovations. Hour-long performances on Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. (Opening Night pricing applies); Oct. 16 at 5 p.m.; Oct. 17 at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Oct. 18 at 5 p.m. in the Cook Theatre.
An imaginative production from Berlin created and performed by ballerina Cristiana Casadio and circus artist Stefan Sing that redraws the boundaries of dance, new circus, and physical theatre. Hour-long performances on Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. (Opening Night pricing applies); Oct. 16 at 5 p.m.; Oct. 17 at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Oct 18 at 5 p.m. in the Historic Asolo Theater.
The preeminent pianists of their generation in their respective homelands – Palestine and Israel – perform a repertoire ranging from the baroque to the modern period, including works by Israeli and Palestinian composers. Hour-long performances Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. (Opening Night pricing applies); Oct. 16 at 8 p.m.; Oct. 17 at 5 p.m.; and, Oct. 18 at 2 p.m. in the Mildred Sainer Pavilion.
Artistic Director Larry Keigwin engages audiences with a brand of contemporary choreography characterized by a theatrical sensibility of wit, style, and heart. Hour-long performances Oct. 16 at 2 and 8 p.m.; Oct. 17 at 5 p.m.; and Oct. 18 at 2 p.m. in the Historic Asolo Theater.
Hailed as one of the most celebrated ensembles in jazz, Vijay Iyer and colleagues Marcus Gilmore on drums and Stephan Crump on bass create rhythmically intricate and interactive new music. Hour-long performances Oct. 16 at 5 p.m.; Oct. 17 at 2 and 8 p.m., and Oct. 18 at 5 p.m. at the Mildred Sainer Pavilion.
From Blind Summit Theatre in Great Britain comes a whimsical yet mischievous work of theater featuring astonishing puppetry in a brilliant display of eye-hand-brain coordination. Seventy-minute performances Oct. 16 at 2 and 8 p.m.; Oct. 17 at 5 p.m.; and Oct. 18 at 2 p.m. in the Cook Theatre.
Target Earth: A live-action graphic novel presented in a mash-up of radio drama and graphic storytelling by a company of artists who give voice to dozens of characters, hundreds of sound effects, and the music for comic-book images. Two-hour performances (with intermission) Oct. 16 at 5 p.m.; Oct. 17 at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Oct. 18 at 2 p.m. in the Mertz Theatre.
Tickets for stage productions range from $20-$35, with discounts available to for ticket packages and for museum members. Tickets may be purchased through the festival box office in the Visitors Pavilion of The Ringling, 5401 Bay Shore Road, by calling the box office at 941.360.7399 or online at www.ringling.org
Opening Night will take place from 6-10 p.m. on Oct. 15 with patrons attending an array of festival productions before gathering in the Museum of Art Courtyard for a celebration that includes Bolero Sarasota, a choreographic event inspired by Maurice Ravel’s score, created by Larry Keigwin, and featuring more than 50 local performers in a tribute to the festival’s host city. Tickets for the event, which includes food and beverage, range from $90-$125 and are available at the festival box office.