The 5th Annual Ringling International Arts Festival Comes to Sarasota

Spain’s Rocío Molina will be performing at this year's Ringling Inernational Arts Festival. Photo courtesy

Spain’s Rocío Molina will be performing at this year’s Ringling Inernational Arts Festival. Photo courtesy

Consider me culturally spoiled. I live in Sarasota (Florida’s cultural capital) where I could see dozens of visual or performing arts experiences any day of the week. Then, in addition to this daily assortment of artistic opportunities, Wednesday, October 9th is the beginning of a festival featuring renowned international artists and they might as well get up and start performing in my living room!

The 5th Annual Ringling International Arts Festival will soon be getting underway at The Ringling.  This highly-attended festival is only four days long and celebrates the brilliant diversity of nations and culture with a hand-picked selection of artists from around the world.

Spanish flamenco artist Rocio Molina will kick off the festival in the Mertz Theatre. Called “one of the most brilliant bailaoros of our time”, she’ll be dazzling audiences with three performances in all.

The Belarus Free Theatre will provide some provocative performances of “Minsk2011: A Reply to Kathy Acker”. Facing censorship in their home country of Belarus, they’ve been forced to perform “underground” there and take their show on the road. For mature audiences only, it looks at how sexuality is squashed by government oppression.

Tere O’Connor Dance will be upholding the RIAF tradition of strong dance programming (RIAF partners with the Barishnikov Arts Center to bring us this festival). The three performances will present dance as an “abstract documentary form” and explore the coexistence of “time, metaphor, and memory.”

Leev Theatre Group is presenting “Hamlet, Prince of Grief”. If you’ve seen Hamlet before, this will be quite the new experience – a one man rendition in Farsi (with English subtitles), it will make use of toys and dolls to play all the different characters. 

For a lighter, comedic experience, Stephen Prutsman and the Aeolus Quartet will provide accompaniment for the Buster Keaton silent film, “Sherlock, Jr.”. The music is composed by Stephen Prutsman in a carefully thought-out manner that realizes the story and cinematic experience.

Beyond the performances, attendees can enjoy Jazz Sunsets on the Bay, Conversations with the Curator, and the Closing Night Party which is sure to celebrate the festival in style.

RIAF is a truly spectacular event held right here in Sarasota. With such an easy opportunity for stunning cultural experiences right at our door, don’t leave yourself saying, “I can’t believe I missed it!”

Have you been to the Festival before? Let us know about your experiences in the comments below!

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