Ringling International Arts Festival
Sarasota celebration features music, dance, theater and film
When it debuted in 2009, the Ringling International Arts Festival was announced as a biennial event. But the collaboration between Sarasota’s Ringling Museum of Art and Manhattan’s Baryshnikov Arts Center proved so popular that the gathering has become an annual one, a getaway for arts lovers on the bayside grounds and in the stately spaces that are circus magnate John Ringling’s cultural legacy to Florida.
Curated by dance legend Mikhail Baryshnikov’s namesake center, the festival showcases artists from the worlds of dance, theater, music and visual arts, top-tier contemporary talents from all parts of the globe. This year’s festival, which runs Oct. 10-13, is as distinct as each of its predecessors, a bit smaller in scale and budget but with plenty of artistic variety.
The critically acclaimed Mark Morris Dance Group, the festival’s marquee draw, will perform four pieces – “Grand Duo,” “Canonic 3/4 Studies,” “Silhouettes” and the new “A Wooden Tree” – in the largest venue, the 500-seat Mertz Theatre. Indian Kuchipudi dancer Shantala Shivalingappa and the powerful vocal folk group Ensemble Basiani from the Republic of Georgia perform in the Historic Asolo Theater, a grand 1798 Italian theater reassembled inside the visitor’s pavilion at the Ringling estate. Philadelphia’s Obie Award-winning Pig Iron Theatre Company is collaborating with Japanese director Toshiki Okada on “Minister of Mascots,” a new play that will get four performances in the intimate Cook Theatre.
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