Skip to main content

View Calendar


2013 Ringling International Arts Festival to Engage Audiences

Getting a jump on its 2014 season, Florida’s “Cultural Coast” is primed for an early start with contemporary performative art taking center stage at the fifth annual Ringling International Arts Festival, Oct. 9-12, 2013, in Sarasota, Fla. It showcases a variety of dance, music and theater in its intimate performance galleries curated by New York’s Baryshnikov Arts Center. The Festival marks the official start of the cultural season on Florida’s Gulf Coast. The Ringling International Arts Festival is a presentation of the “Art of Our Time” at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.

Spain’s Rocío Molina, one of the most brilliant bailaoras (Flamenco dancers) of our time, embodies the new forms of expressions to be experienced at the four-day festival. The artist, who is credited with revolutionizing Flamenco Art, performs “Danzaoro” on Opening Night,Wed., Oct. 9 at 7:00 p.m. in the 500-seat Mertz Theatre.

Her uplifting dance style integrates different artistic schools, such as Flamenco, classical, Spanish classical or the “bolera”, 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. Molina’s show can also be seen on Thurs., Oct. 10 at 8 p.m. and Friday, Oct. 11 at 2:00 p.m.

In 2010, at the age of 26, Molina received the “National Prize for Dance,” Spain’s highest honor in the arts. She has performed at festivals around the world and written choreographies for the Maria Pagés Company (a 2009 Festival performer), José Porcel, the Royal Dance Conservatory of Madrid, and the New Spanish Ballet.

Keeping with dance, Tere O’Connor Dance aims to move Festival patrons with two numbers, “Poem” and “Duet” in the Mertz Theatre. With “Poem,” O’Connor uses the power of dance as a sub-linguistic area of expression, braiding together the personal and universal. “Poem” recently featured at New York Live Arts. “Duet” is a new work in development making its Florida premiere at the Ringling International Arts Festival. Either through story, identity, social context, or conceptualism, dances were reiterations of existing ideas.

O’Connor’s boldly individualist approach to choreography has contributed new thought to the form and resonates throughout its theoretical discourse. Shows are Thurs., Oct. 10 at 2:00 p.m., Friday, Oct. 11 at 8 p.m., and Sat., Oct. 12 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $40.

Stepping into theatre, the 2013 Ringling International Arts Festival also features two plays: “Minsk 2011: A Reply to Kathy Acker” by the Belarus Free Theaterand “Hamlet Prince of Grief” by the Leev Theater Group in the 161-seat Cook Theatre.

Awarded the 2011 “Fringe First Award” at the Edinburgh Festival, “Minsk 2011: A Reply to Kathy Acker” is a prism into human identity, personal liberty and freedom in a repressed country through the lens of sexuality. It recently featured at the Under the Radar Festival. The Belarus Free Theater is currently an underground Company (they are banned from performing in their own country).

“Minsk, 2011: A Reply to Kathy Acker” by the Belarus Free Theater is an emotional, jarring and raw piece of theater that bears all literally and figuratively. Director Uladzimir Shcherban had been inspired to develop "Minsk 2011" by Acker's book "New York City, 1979." Acker was a punk-feminist poet, playwright and novelist who portrayed New York society through the lens of the city's sexual predilections. Like Acker’s book, “Minsk: 2011” portends a portrait of sexual innuendoes in the Belorussian capital.

Dramatizing the stories of ordinary people's erotic lives in the metropolis and amidst the shadow of a country grappling with Europe's last remaining dictatorship. Audiences journey through the city's erotic precincts: joyless strip clubs; a savagely suppressed gay-pride parade; police interrogations; hookups that deliver despair rather than ecstatic release. The show's mise-en-scène is, in all senses, raw, even brutal, though not without occasional humor and poetic beauty. Shows are Thurs., Oct. 10 at 5:00 p.m., Friday, Oct. 11 at 2:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., and Sat., Oct. 12 at 5:00 p.m. Tickets are $40.

“Hamlet Prince of Grief” by the Leev Theater Group of Iranis a humorous and most unusual rendition of the Shakespeare play.Written by Mohammed Charmshir and directed by Mohammed Aghebati, this piece is performed in Farsi, with English supertitles. Actor Afshin Hashemi assumes the role of Hamlet. To narrate this version of the classical tale he employs small plastic toys he pulls from a suitcase. They symbolize the other characters in the play. In this adaptation, Gertrude is a tiny elephant. Hamlet’s father is a plastic lion. His uncle is a plastic dinosaur. Ophelia is a Barbie-type doll. One critic described it as “a stylized and eccentric riff on Hamlet….his [Hashemi’s] playful manipulation of his little plastic menagerie.”

Wielding another fresh and moving Festival experience, “Sherlock Jr.” integrates live music with silent film to “re-create (and musically update) the mystique of the silent-film era in the 161-seat Cook Theatre. The show features the jazzy and ecclectic piano playing of Stephen Prutsman accompanied by the Aeolus Quartet. They perform Prutsman’s inventive score to a screening of “Sherlock Jr.,” a 1924 Buster Keaton comedy.  Shows are Thurs., Oct. 10 at 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 11 at 5:00 and 8:00 p.m., and Sat., Oct. 12 at 5:00 p.m. in the 296-seat Historic Asolo Theater.

One of the most innovative musicians and multi-genre artists of his time, Prutsman is a renowned, pianist, composer and conductor. He has performed with many of the world’s leading orchestras. He was also a former Artistic Director of the Cartagena International Festival of Music (South America’s largest festival of its kind).

Aeolus Quartet is an all-American quartet and recipients 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. They have performed at the Perlman Music Program, Aspen Music Festival, and Banff Music Center. They have studied extensively with Miro, Juilliard, Takacs, Artemis, and Cavani Quartets.

Staying with music, The Ringling will further engage audiences across the 66-acres estate with Jazz Sunsets on the Bay featuring live jazz music and dancing on Thursday, Oct. 10 and Friday, Oct. 11.

This eighteenth century jewel-box of a theater is one of the most important architectural documents ever brought to America.

Bringing the 2013 Ringling International Arts Festival to a close, the Ringling Museum will hold its traditional “Closing Night Party” on Sat., Oct. 12 beginning at 6:30 p.m.

“The Ringling International Arts Festival is designed to engage audiences with a spectrum of experiences that enrich and connect them to the Art of Our Time,” shared Steven High, executive director of The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. “Best experienced as a collective, the range of art forms and emotions that course through the stage productions of the 2013 Ringling International Arts Festival aim to connect audiences and artists in a meaningful and personal way.”  

The Ringling’s Art of Our Time initiative launched in 2009 with the inaugural Ringling International Arts Festival.  It continues to showcase contemporary visual and performing art by artists that are profoundly influencing culture. Art of Our Time features the Museum’s on-going presentation of its permanent contemporary art collection, including Joseph’s Coat, the largest Skyspace created by internationally renowned artist, James Turrell. It also includes a rotation of special exhibitions, lectures, films, literature and performing arts, such as music, dance and theater.


The presentation of contemporary art at the Ringling Museum dates back to its first executive director, A. Everett Chick Austin, Jr. He helped transform the arts in America in the twentieth century and the Museum with the addition of the Historic Asolo Theater and Circus Museum in the late 1940s. Chick advocated that, ‘the function of a museum is more than merely showing pictures….it is the place to integrate the arts and bring them alive.’ With the Ringling’s Art of Our Time initiative, the Museum hopes to enrich its community through the exploration of rich ideas and art forms at play, today and in the future.