Ringling Closes New Stages Season with "Captive"

Arts & Culture


The Ringling Museum New Stages series concludes its season this weekend with a production of Captive by the UK-based dance theater company Motionhouse. Featuring four performances over the course of two days, Friday and Saturday, audiences are invited to both complementary performances at 2pm and ticketed performances at 7pm, featuring food, drink and poetry-inspired activities while watching the sunset from the Museum bay front. Running April 7–8, ticketed performances are $15.

Featuring four dancers in a cage, the outdoor performance takes inspiration from both Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem, The Panther, about a jungle cat in captivity, and the odd confluences of Captive Artistic Director Kevin Finnan’s own life. While working with prisoners in the UK, he found himself taking trips to the zoo and watching the animals pace back and forth. “It got him thinking about the idea of being held captive,” says New Stages Project Coordinator Sonja Shea, “and how a human would feel if they were held in a prison not because of anything the had done but just because of who they are.” Through a runtime of roughly 25 minutes, the four dancers wheel and tumble up, over and around the bars of their cage, emotions evolving from serenity to rage and back again as they come to terms with their confinement.

Performed outside and in the round, Captive also affords audiences a chance to see dance up close and personal. “Dance is so incredibly emotional and what’s great about this piece is you get up close and you can see all of the emotions they’re going through,” says Shea. “The audience is so close it almost becomes interactive.”

For those attending the 7pm performances, not only will seating be provided and food and drinks available for purchase, but also a series of activities inspired by the performance. In one, participants roll dice for words and themes and write poetry, for another, attendees are encouraged to plop themselves down, watch the sunset and free write. For those leaning more towards the symbolic, they can write down the thoughts they feel hold them captive, wrap them in soil with some seeds and plant them in a pot to take home. Regardless, says Shea, all can enjoy the sunset views from a rare vantage as the campus remains open past its usual 6pm close.

Captive runs from April 7–8 with performances each day at 2pm and 7pm. Evening performances require a $15 ticket and feature activities.

Pictured: Motionhouse performers in the cage for "Captive." Photo courtesy of Ringling Museum.

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