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Ringling festival to boast top talents

SARASOTA — The second annual Ringling International Arts Festival will boast the kind of must-see, world-class fare that made it an overwhelming success last year. But this time around, the festival will serve as a centerpiece for a new fringe festival that will showcase local artists and events in both Manatee and Sarasota counties.

This is the first time the two counties have worked closely together for an event.

“I would like to think tonight that the border that exists just right outside this building is gone,” said Dwight Currie, Ringling Museum of Art’s associated director of museum programs, as he unveiled details of the festival’s 11 main stage productions Wednesday night for a crowd at the Historic Asolo Theater.

As for the international festival, set for Oct. 13-17, the event features several United States and world premieres in theater, music and dance. Opening night festivities alone include four premieres at the Florida State University and Ringling Museum campus.

That evening will feature the much anticipated “Solos with Mikhail Baryshnikov and David Neumann” with a world premiere dance choreographed by Susan Marshall and the world premiere of “Capricho” by Florida native and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz. The play, co-produced with the Asolo Repertory Theatre, is about an understudy who is waiting for his time to go on.

There’s also “Glass and Bach for Solo Violin” with Tim Fain, who will highlight a world premiere by Phillip Glass and, straight from the Czech Republic, the Forman Brothers Theatre’s “Obludarium.” The piece will feature music and puppetry under a big tent on the festival grounds.

“Opening night, we had this dream to make it a really special night where all the theaters are active and alive,” said Stanford Makishi, executive director of the Baryshnikov Arts Center, who hopes to recapture last year’s festival spirit.

Other performances include the stylings of the Rubberbanddance Group, a U.S. premiere of Les Slovaks Dance Collective, late night entertainment from Romanian cabaret singer Sanda Weigl and much more, including Russia’s The Theater Art Studio, which will present its play “The Boys” in Russian.

“It’s like watching the opera,” Currie said of the troupe.

The emerging fringe festival between the two counties is still under construction, but touts the name Festival sARTee (pronounced sar-tay), with the tagline “Two Counties, No Boundaries.” The name combines “Art” with abbreviations of the two counties. sARTee, set for Oct. 8-24, will have a mix of arts, ballet, culinary art, circus art and more.

“It’s going to stretch from Englewood right up to Anna Maria Island,” Currie said.

It will be the first time Realize Bradenton, the Bradenton Convention and Visitors Bureau, Arts Council of Manatee County and their Sarasota counterparts have collaborated.

To be considered for sARTEe, area arts groups can submit events at www. sartee.com.

Single-ticket sales begin in May. Subscription packages are available now.

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