RIAF 2017 Begins in Stunning Style



A hungry audience sipping cocktails and eating hors douevres, a sea of folding chairs filled to standing room only and a three-story-high projector screen spewing smoke as two Italian performers dangle from the rafters—the 2017 Ringling International Arts Festival has arrived. Kicking off last night in stunning style at the Ringling Museum with a performance from eVenti Verticali, RIAF 2017 promises four days of contemporary performance art from across the globe (this year, including Sarasota). Including eVenti Verticali, this year’s festival brings seven productions to various locations on Ringling Museum grounds, highlighting the latest in music, dance and theater.

Next to the large-scale buffoonery and antics of eVenti Verticali, Volker Gerling’s “thumb cinemas” may seem small, but pack an emotional punch as Gerling recounts the stories of the people behind his miniature video portraits. For music-lovers, RIAF 2017 brings performance from both near and far. Nobuntu, an acclaimed (mostly) a cappella quintet from Zimbabwe, melds Afro Jazz and gospel with traditional Zimbabwean folk songs for an energetic production as vibrant as it is harmonious. From closer to home, ensemblenewSRQ showcases the virtuosity of some of Sarasota’s own talented musicians, who will be performing (in a festival first) at two locations in the Museum proper—the Turrell Skyspace and the Huntington Gallery.

In the world of dance, James McGinn’s bold and ambitious Ing an Die revels in the technical side of dance, with an almost operatic three-act post-apocalyptic love story told through body language, while the dancers of Monica Bill Barnes and Company (performing behind the Circus Museum in a ‘café’ created just for them) celebrate the childlike joy of dance as an escape. Rounding out the lineup, Nassim Soleimanpour’s White Rabbit Red Rabbit presents the ultimate wild card in a one-person show with a new actor encountering the script for the first time each night. With no one knowing what to expect (not even RIAF organizers), it’s a moment of exploration for both actor and audience.

The Ringling International Arts Festival runs through Oct. 21. For more information or tickets to any of the shows, follow the link below.

Ringling International Arts Festival

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