RIAF artists make the world a stage
Tracking down the seven international performance acts that will assemble in Sarasota for the Ringling International Arts Festival in October may well lead you around the globe.
The world is their stage.
Tangram, featuring a ballerina and a circus artist, is creating its own style of dance and performance art in Germany, Norway, Switzerland and Italy in the months leading up to the Sarasota festival. After finishing a stint in Japan, the Vijay Iyer Trio jazz ensemble appears in France, Portugal, Belgium and Germany.
If you visit South America, you may catch Duo Amal, Palestinian and Israeli dueling pianists, in Chile, Argentina or Colombia. In the same period, a trip to Spain, France, Iceland and Poland will make it possible for you to hear the Pedrito Martinez Group performing their Afro-Cuban Rumba music.
“These are all international artists,” said Dwight Currie, The Ringling’s associate director of museum programs. “They circle the globe. These performers not only come with their art but with their energy and perspective from performing all over the world.”
The opening night of the festival will feature three of the seven acts: Tangram, The Pedrito Martinez Group, and Duo Amal.
Tangram is making its first American appearance at the festival. The Pedrito Martinez group is coming from Colombia by way of New York City. Duo Amal will perform in Israel the month before the festival.
“Duo Amal is really, really important,” Currie said. “They’re first and foremost superb musicians. It’s also incredibly beautiful that one is Palestinian and the other is Israeli and they have made a commitment to travel the world in order to perform.”
The pianists, Bishara Haroni and Yaron Kohlberg, are both protégés of conductor Zubin Mehta. They chose the name of their act carefully. “Amal” is the Arabic word for “hope.”
The Pedrito Martinez Group offers a completely different musical experience with its quartet of Rumba performers from Cuba, Venezuela and Peru.
“Pedrito’s music is this beautiful Afro-Cuban rumba music very much informed by the people that perform with him,” Currie said. “I love that notion of hot Latin music in places like Iceland.”
Tangram, created and performed by ballerina Christiana Casadio and circus artist Stefan Sing, offers an imaginative combination of the two mediums in new formats of physical theater.
Other acts in the festival include contemporary dance group Keigwin + Company, three-man puppet show The Table from Great Britain, and Intergalactic Nemesis, a mash-up radio drama and graphic storytelling adventure.
“I like to think of them all over the world,” Currie said. “I want the audience to say, “Oh my God, aren’t these great artists? Isn’t it great that they’re all here at the same time?’ And I want those artists to come off stage and say, ‘Oh my God, what a great audience.’ You’re kind of in competition with the entire world. That’s what makes the festival such an incredible, rich experience.”
The 2014 Ringling International Arts Festival will be presented Oct. 15-18 at The Ringling, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota. Tickets are $25-$35 for most performances. For more information: 360-7099; ringling.org