Ringling International Arts Festival 2015 will celebrate the cultures and contemporary arts of Asia in a series of performances to herald the launch of The Ringling’s center for Asian art.
“This amazing line-up showcases the diversity of Asian art offerings and the incredible opportunity that The Ringling now has to display Asian art in many different forms,” Steven High, executive director of The Ringling said. “This year’s line-up is an exciting glimpse of The Ringling’s future, which includes a focus on Asian art as we build towards the opening of the center in 2016.”
RIAF 2015 will feature seven different stage productions ranging from a circus that was founded by performers orphaned by war to a composer known for combining traditional music with experimental imagery. RIAF 2015 opens on Oct. 15 with the choice of one of three simultaneous performances followed by a celebration in the Courtyard of the Museum of Art with engaging entertainment as well as hors d’oeuvres, beer, wine, soft drinks, cash bar and the annual fireworks.
“This eclectic group of artists will engage and entertain performance enthusiasts, and bring a focus on contemporary Asian art and culture to RIAF,” Dwight Currie, curator of performance said.
The performances in the Historic Asolo Theater and the Mertz Theatre will include dance, theater, music and circus in dynamic productions that experiment with forms of expression.
Tom Lee will present “Shank’s Mare.” Employing the traditional Kuruma Ningyo puppetry of Japan, with video and live music, “Shank’s Mare” explores the questions of life and death in a story of two wandering travelers whose paths intersect in time and space.
Performances will be at 7 p.m. on Oct. 15, 8 p.m. on Oct. 16, 5 p.m. on Oct. 17 and 2 p.m. on Oct. 18 in the Historic Asolo Theater. Lee’s “Shank’s Mare” is one of the opening night performance options.
Frequently characterized as “rowdy” and often seen as “crazy or mad,” the musicians of Orkes Sinten Remem, led by the charismatic Djaduk Ferianto, transform traditional folk music into a mélange of musical sounds that illustrate the reality of Indonesian life through nostalgia and humor.
Performances will be at 5 p.m. on Oct. 16, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Oct. 17 and 5 p.m. on Oct 18 in the Historic Asolo Theater.
Phare: The Cambodian Circus will present “Khmer Metal,” an edgy, progressive tale of nightlife, passion, heartbreak, hope and tears – performed with humor and humanity by talented young Cambodians using dance, circus arts and music that beats like your heart.
Performances will be at 7 p.m. on Oct. 15, 2 p.m. on Oct. 16, 8 p.m. on Oct. 17 and 2 p.m. on Oct. 18 in the Mertz Theatre. Phare’s “Khmer Metal” is one of the opening night performance options.
Tao Dance Theatre is one of China’s premiere contemporary dance companies that stretch the boundaries of the human form. Described as “…a mesmerizing tour-de-force of near-constant motion” by The Boston Globe, the Tao Dance Theatre combine theatrical impact with technical virtuosity.
Performances will be at 8 p.m. on Oct. 16, 2 p.m. on Oct. 17 and 5 p.m. on Oct. 18 in the Mertz Theatre.
In the Cook Theatre, three solo performers will provide fresh perspective on performance through their original works.
Ronnarong Khampha will perform “My Name is Ong.” Exquisitely trained in the traditional dances of Thailand, this mesmerizing artist explores contemporary aesthetics through compelling and profoundly moving solo performances.
Performances will be at 7 p.m. on Oct. 15, at 5 p.m. on Oct. 16 and 2 p.m. on Oct. 17 in the Cook Theatre. “My Name is Ong” is one of the opening night performance options.
Peni Candra Rini is hailed for her mastery of traditional music and innovative creativity, this Indonesian composer and singer evokes the mysterious through music, movement, and imagery.
Performances will be at 2 p.m. on Oct. 16, 8 p.m. on Oct. 17 and 5 p.m. on Oct. 18 in the Cook Theatre.
Jen Shyu will perform “Solo Rites: Seven Breaths.” An ecstatic musical experience unfolds as this American-East Timorese-Taiwanese jazz artist plays lutes, zithers, and percussion instruments, combining movement, acting, and singing into songs “that could remind you of ancient court music or Joni Mitchell” according to The New York Times.
Performances will be at 8 p.m. on Oct. 16, at 5 p.m. on Oct. 17 and 2 p.m. on Oct. 18 in the Cook Theatre.
The curation of RIAF 2015 was realized in partnership with Stanford Makishi, who – in his previous role as executive director of the Baryshnikov Arts Center – helped launch the festival in 2009. Recently, Makishi served as deputy director of programs at New York’s Asian Cultural Council, and last January he was named vice president for programming at City Center New York.
Tickets for stage productions range from $25-35, 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