Catch the first glimpse of the newest performance being made in the Sarasota-Manatee area! The Ringling’s commitment to Florida-based artists includes emerging performance practitioners, and The Art of Performance’s inaugural MicroWIP (Micro Works-in-Progress) presentations provide local creatives a platform to advance new work. By presenting works-in-progress, we offer a semi-formal way for artists to experiment with new ideas in front of live audiences. For artists, this important step is key in the creative cycle and provides space for experimentation and feedback.
Post-show talk back with the artists will be moderated by 2022-2023 season artist Joseph Keckler.
Our inaugural showing features excerpts of new performances by Ralph Barnette, Alexander Judd, Megan Kendzior, Jess Pope and Tihda Vongkoth. Read about the artists and their new work:
Intermezzo by Ralph Barnette
Brief, late-night interludes between jobs allow a couple to maintain threads of romance and intimacy. Utilizing sound effects, stylized dramatic dance and creative lighting, a visceral slice of their world is theatrically created by the simple pleasure of the radio, spontaneity and inspired flirting around a cup of coffee and cigarettes. In this short dramatic work, romance lives moment to moment.
Ralph Barnette is a multi-faceted creative professional with a 40-year career accented by award-winning projects. With formal training at in painting and filmmaking Pratt Institute, he spent twenty-five years performing, acting and directing creative projects in advertising, theater, dance, and filmmaking. He is known for Creative Direction of a Clio Award-winning team (Spelman College, 1984), Director of the 1996 Georgia Cultural Olympiad Arts Exhibition (GaArts ’96), and Creative Director for two of Atlanta’s most heralded urban design projects (Studioplex and Freedom Park). He has performed in multiple capacities on more than a dozen independent productions including producing duties for the award-winning film Beautiful Noise.
An Arms Race by Alex Judd
An Arms Race shares the gritty, yet inspiring tale of a washed-up unnamed hero. As he searches for peace and balance in the world, he begins to question the righteousness of his actions. This unreleased solo project unfolds through a combination of narration and hard-hitting folk-rock songs. The performance will present the first song from the upcoming album release.
Alexander Judd has a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video Production from Full Sail University. He turned his interest of storytelling from film to music and is a self-taught multi-instrumentalists and singer, which led him to begin composing songs. He played bass in the band Live Forever and performed at many of Tampa Bay’s local hot spots such as Crowbar and The Hub. Besides his own artist practice, he works in sound design and technical media production for a variety local artists and organizations.
Unraveling + Unfurling by Megan Kendzior
In this experiment, we’ll traverse through time into cellular memory. This embodied research investigates improvisatory and choreographic potentialities. Moving toward compassionate exchange, we'll slow down, work with reciprocity, and tend to ancient and present connections.
Megan Danielle Kendzior is a dance maker and arts advocate, born and raised in Sarasota, Florida. Her practice is centered on the convergence of choreographic, improvisational, and community organizing structures. Her work has been presented/commissioned by venues in New York, California, Florida, North Carolina, Illinois, Virginia, Montana, Washington DC, Mexico, Guatemala, and Israel. Her five-year project Witness was celebrated through the National College Dance Festival's Outstanding Student Choreographer Award at the Kennedy Center, publication in University of Florida's Journal of Undergraduate Research, and an evening-length presentation at Danspace Project (NY). She recently completed her MFA in Experimental Choreography at the University of California Riverside, where she was a teaching fellow and created a kaleidoscopic project investigating the choreographic potentialities of unraveling assimilation and intergenerational inheritance. Megan is the new Visual and Performing Arts Director at Booker High School and also works freelance as a strategic development consultant for artists and non-profit organizations across the U.S.
La Petit Peen by Jess Pope
La Petite Peen is a mystical, clownlike creature looking for answers. He works through collaboration with others to seek out the meanings of why humans do the things they do and why they think the way they think. La Petite Peen is a lovable and kind soul that will ask and challenge you to look at the world a little differently.
Jess holds a B.A in Visual Art from Ringling College of Art and Design and an MFA in Visual Art from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Jess has danced with Moving Ethos Dance Theatre Company since 2008. Featuring work at the Historic Asolo Theater, Urbanite Theatre, Studio 620, Festering Liberation Show at the University of Minnesota Morris in 2019, and Rain Studio and Gallery. Her work explores identity and the human body transformation through time and language, allowing viewers to question themselves and their beliefs. https://www.jpopedesign.com/
Release by Tihda Vongkoth and Melanie Lavender
Through meditation, we can be free from the mind's chatter. Release is a multimedia collaboration between spoken word artist Melanie Lavender and percussionist Tihda Vongkoth that explores artistic expression as a consequence of meditation.
Tihda Vongkoth (she/her) identifies as a Lao, cisgender, non-disabled, questioning nonbinary woman and a member of the Lao diaspora. Tihda co-occupies a home in Sarasota/Calusa territory. She speaks standard American English but grew up listening to others speak Lao English and AAVE. Tihda is U.S. college-educated and grew up in a poor, single-mother family with heteronormative, assimilationist values. Tihda has appeared as a marimba soloist with The Florida Orchestra, the U.S. Air Force Band, and the Interlochen Academy Orchestra. As a percussionist, she has performed with Grêmio Recreativo Escola de Samba Unidos de Vila Isabel, at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Breckenridge Music Festival, Eastern Music Festival, and Brevard Music Festivals. Tihda has performed with The Florida Orchestra, Orlando Philharmonic, Sarasota Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic, Opera Tampa, St. Petersburg Opera, and Jacksonville Symphony.
Melanie Lavender is a Spoken Word artist and a proud Sarasota native. Educated in the Sarasota County school system and Newtown community, Melanie is a wife, mother, and a Podcast/Radio host of Soul of The Matter at 107.5 The Vibe and Community Conversations with Mel at WSLR 96.5 FM. The Chaotic Beauty of life influences Melanie to write and work to change her life and community by using her soulful melodic voice to capture the attention of the audience. Melanie has recited at Selby Botanical Gardens, Manatee Performing Art Center, nightclubs, art galleries and as a featured artist on Greater Sarasota WEDU PBS. Writing “Psalms of The Elusive Black Housewife,” Melanie found a way to transform anxiety and depression into poetry and community activism. This mother, wife, and author chose not to give up, but to use the skills taught to her by her elders to keep moving and transform that energy into creativity.