Although not originally part of the performance program, Ringling International Arts Festival's artistic director and past performer Mikhail Baryshnikov will be back dancing at the Mertz Theatre beginning Wednesday.
The dance great is part of pal Mark Morris' newest work, "A Wooden Tree." Set to music and words by the Scottish artist and humorist Ivor Cutler (1923 - 2006), it will makes its East Coast debut at the fourth annual RIAF taking place Oct. 10-13 at various venues around the Ringling Museum of Art.
After only attending last year, this appearance marks a return engagement to performing and collaborating at the festival for Baryshnikov. In 2010, RIAF commissioned and presented three sold-out performances of "Solos with Mikhail Baryshnikov and David Neumann".
The Mark Morris Dance Group's performances at the Ringling International Arts Festival are the Oct. 10 event "RIAF Inspires Opening Night" ($500 per person includes reception, performance and formal dinner in the Museum of Art Galleries), as well as performances Oct. 11-13. Tickets for the performances are $30, $40 and $50.
In addition, this year's RIAF features stage performances by Shantala Shivalingappa, Ensemble Basiani, Pig Iron Theatre Company, Adam Tendler, Phyllis Chen, and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.
The event also includes the festival's first film series with screenings of "Carmen and Geoffrey" directed by Linda Atkinson and Nick Doob; "Joseph Brodsky: In the Prison of Latitudes" directed by Jan Andrews; and a double bill, "Labyrinth Within" directed by Pontus Lidberg followed by "Park Avenue Armory Event" by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.
If you go
What: 2012 Ringling International Arts Festival
Where: Ringling Museum of Art, Historic Asolo Theater, Mertz Theatre and Cook Theatre, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.
When: Mark Morris Dance Group, 5 p.m. Oct 11, 8 p.m. Oct. 12, 2 p.m. Oct 13; dancer Shantala Shivalingappa, 8 p.m. Oct. 11, 5 p.m. Oct. 12-13; Pig Iron Theatre Company, 8 p.m. Oct. 11, 2 and 8 p.m. Oct. 12, 5 p.m. Oct. 13; Ensemble Basiani, 5 p.m. Oct. 11, 8 p.m. Oct. 12, 2 p.m. Oct. 13; pianist Adam Tendler, 8 p.m. Oct. 11; pianist Phyllis Chen, 8 p.m. Oct. 12; film festival featuring 'Carmen and Geoffrey' at 2 p.m. Oct. 11, 'Joseph Brodsky: In the Prison of Latitudes' at 2 p.m. Oct. 12, 'Labyrinth Within' at 5 p.m. Oct. 13; Dirty Dozen Brass Band, 6:30 p.m. Oct. 13.
Tickets: $10-$50 for individual tickets (except opening and closing events); $370 for tickets to all shows.
Information: 941-360-7399 or www.ringlingartsfestival.org.