Ringling International Arts Festival opens in Sarasota

October 3, 2013 

A scene from "Minsk" by Belarus Free Theatre. PHOTO PROVIDED

Something unusual struck Dwight Currie when he looked over the schedule for this year's Ringling International Arts Festival.

"You could go to every performance in the festival," Currie said, "and not hear one word of English spoken."

You'll hear a few foreign languages in the festival, including Farsi. But Currie, the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Arts's curator of performances, said one of the impressive aspects of the festival is its artists communicate through languages of modern dance, music and silent film.

The fifth annual Ringling International Arts Festival is set to run Oct. 9-12 at the Ringling Museum.

Among the highlights are Tere O'Connor Dance, regarded as one of the finest and most distinctive modern dance companies in the United States; the Belarus Free Theatre with a performance piece called "Minsk 2011" the New York Times called "beautiful and brutal;" Iran's Leev Theater Group with a play that takes an alternative view of Shakespeare's "Hamlet;" and Stephen Prutsman and the Aeolus Quartet performing a new score written by Prutsman to accompany Buster Keaton's acclaimed silent comedy "Sherlock Jr."

The performances by Belarus Free Theatre and Leev Theater Group will include English subtitles.

Through its five year-history, the Ringling has curated RIAF in partnership with the Baryshnikov Center for the Arts in New York. This is the last year for the partnership. The Ringling will produce the festival on its own in the future. Currie said the parting with the Baryshnikov Center is amicable.

Read more on the festival in Sunday's A&E section of the Bradenton Herald.

Details: Oct. 9-12, John and Mable Ringing Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota. Tickets: Different prices for each event. Information: 941-358-3180, ringling.org.

-- Marty Clear

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