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Ringling International Arts Festival returns with inventive contemporary performance
eVenti Verticale: Founded in 2006, this Italian performance group brings together theater, circus, graphic art, acrobatics, dance, music, visual comedy and new technologies – all on a vertical stage.

SARASOTA, FLA.- Ringling International Arts Festival returns for its ninth season with an array of innovative, provocative and ingenious expressions of music, movement and mass spectacle. Taking place between Oct. 18 and 21, these dynamic productions will be performed throughout The Ringling – at the Historic Asolo Theater, the Ringling Circus Museum, the Museum of Art and the West Courtyard.

“RIAF continues to bring compelling performances from around the globe. The festival truly embodies the museum’s commitment to showcasing contemporary performance in its broad spectrum of forms,” said Executive Director Steven High.

RIAF 2017 will feature 24 performances of seven varied productions. With music ranging from the folkloric to the avant-garde, dance that explores the comedy and pathos of 21st-century life, and theatrical narratives both intimate and massive in scope and scale, RIAF is an opportunity to see cuttingedge performances from around the world.

The festival opens on Oct. 18 with a celebration in the West Courtyard and includes a special introduction of RIAF’s guest artists as well as a performance by eVenti Verticale of Wanted. Following the final bows on Oct. 21, patrons can celebrate the weekend at the “Ringling World’s Fair.” This closing night party will feature music, dancing and entertainment in the Museum of Art courtyard with World’s Fair style pavilions dedicated to the world of arts.

ensemblenewSRQ: The Sarasota musical group brings two provocative encounters with new music to the galleries of The Ringling Museum of Art. In the first, the mysteries of sound and space are explored in the music of John Luther Adams, performed in the James Turrell Skyspace; in the second, the profound challenges of Luciano Berio’s Sequenzas are embraced in an immersive experience set in the Huntington Gallery.  Program One: The Space Around You: Musical Reflections in the Turrell Skyspace Oct. 19 – 5 p.m. Oct. 20 – 5 p.m.  Program Two: The Magical World of Berio’s Sequenzas in the Huntington Gallery Oct. 20 – 2 p.m. Oct. 21 – 2 p.m. & 5 p.m.

eVenti Verticale: Founded in 2006, this Italian performance group brings together theater, circus, graphic art, acrobatics, dance, music, visual comedy and new technologies – all on a vertical stage. In their piece Wanted, two men are on the run. Suspended in front of a massive video projection, they take the audience on an adventurous trip that teeters between the fictions of animation and the pseudo-reality of computer graphics. Performances will be held in the West Courtyard: Oct. 18 – 8 p.m. (note this is part of the RIAF first night celebration) Oct. 19 – 8 p.m. Oct. 20 – 8 p.m.

Volker Gerling: Since 2003, this German photographer has walked over 3,500 km across his native country creating flipbook portraits of those he meets. His work, Portraits in Motion, presents a selection of his favorites, whereby he holds each one under a video camera so that its moving images are projected onto a large screen while he narrates the stories behind them. Portraits in Motion received the Total Theatre Award for Innovation at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and was called, “uniquely heart-warming” by The New York Times. Performances will be held in the Historic Asolo Theater: Oct. 19 – 5 p.m. Oct. 20 – 2 p.m.

James McGinn: A new work by this Sarasota native, Ing an Die, is the product of a decade of research into Wagner’s theory of a total or universal work of art. The piece, operatic in both scope and scale, combines several choreographic languages with symbolic imagery to create a shape-shifting love story set amidst a post-apocalyptic landscape. Performances will be held in the Historic Asolo Theater: Oct. 19 – 8 p.m. Oct. 20 – 5 p.m. Oct. 21 – 5 p.m.

Monica Bill Barnes & Co.: This contemporary American dance ensemble “brings dance where it does not belong” and celebrates individuality, humor and the innate theatricality of everyday life. For Happy Hour, the Ringling Circus Museum is transformed into a Side Show Cabaret, where “two guys” – desperate to be popular – crash an after-hours party only to be hilariously inept in their quest. Performed by Monica Bill Barnes and Anna Bass, Happy Hour brings the audience together for cocktails, karaoke and laughter and leaves them with a life-affirming experience. Performances will be held in the Circus Museum: Oct. 19 – 5 p.m. Oct. 20 – 5 p.m. & 8 p.m. Oct. 21 – 5 p.m.

Nobuntu: Having performed throughout Africa and across Europe, this female acapella quintet is making its American debut with an inventive program ranging from traditional Zimbabwean songs to Afro Jazz and Gospel. Performed with pure voices, augmented by minimalistic percussion, traditional instruments and authentic dance, Nobuntu honors its eponymous values of humility, love, unity and family with an aim to transcend racial, tribal and religious boundaries. Performances will be held in the Historic Asolo Theater: Oct. 19 – 2 p.m. Oct. 20 – 8 p.m. Oct. 21 – 2 p.m.

Nassim Soleimanpour/Urbanite Theatre: Forbidden to leave his native Iran, Soleimanpour has distilled the experience of a generation born amidst the hardship of the Iran-Iraq war into a wild, utterly original play, White Rabbit Red Rabbit. The script arrives in a sealed envelope and is presented to a solo actor at the onset of each performance. There is no rehearsal and no direction. The drama is realized in real time by both actor and audience in a cold reading. RIAF has joined with Urbanite Theatre to present this truly unique performance. Entertainment Weekly described it as, "A dazzling, transcendent piece of alive-andkicking theater...I experienced a play that no one in the world will ever experience again... the whole building felt like it was living and breathing." Performances will be held in the Circus Museum: Oct. 19 – 2 p.m. & 8 p.m. Oct. 20 – 2 p.m. Oct. 21 – 2 p.m.

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