Insiders' Guide: Ringling International Arts Festival 2012
Insiders' Guide: RIAF 2012
One of the best things about RIAF is having so many artistic options available to take in! But, with so many cool shows and so little time it so easy to get overwhelmed! But relax, geez... you're starting to freak me out. I realize it can all be a little intimidating. That’s why you’ve got us, your SarasotaDay.com Survival Guide to RIAF 2012.
If music is your thing, you have to experience Ensemble Basiani. Hailing from Georgia, the eastern European one, this all-male choir does a hybrid of yodeling and chanting that takes traditional folk music and makes it sound like... Boyz II Men. Seriously, you’re going to hear this sound and not be able to believe that some of these songs are centuries old. CENTURIES! Ok, so i'm going to get geeky here for a second. The ensemble uses polyphonic harmonies. A Polyphonic is when you use two or more simultaneous but relatively independent melodies, and basically stack them on each other. The Beach Boys, Fleet Foxes and Boys II Men use this technique a lot. These performances take place in the Historic Asolo Theater, the perfect setting to be surrounded by the voices. They have three performances, one each day, with the shows running about an hour.
An exciting new addition to this year’s festival is Shantala Shivalingappa. Born in India and raised in Paris, Shantala is a master of kuchipudi, the traditional South Indian dance that balances rhythmic dance with narrative storytelling. Shantala is a world-renowned performer who has trained with the greatest in her field. She brings a strong acting background to her dancing, which is a great thing in this type of presentation. Kuchipudi tells the story of ancient Indian mythology through the dancer’s movement and facial expressions. If you’ve been watching So You Think You Can Dance, where the choreographers present a story in each dance piece, well this is that on a larger scale.
Shantala’s RIAF performance will be Shiva Ganga, a work that explores the balance between two Hindu Gods: Shiva, who creates the universe through power and dance, and Ginga, who is respected for her grace and elegance.
You can catch Shantala in the Historic Asolo Theater for one performance each day of the Festival.
If dance is your preferred form of entertainment, then you’ll definitely want to catch the Mark Morris Dance Group. This dance company has left a trail of praise all across the globe. The company was founded in 1980, and many of said that Mark Morris created a shift in modern dance. All of his pieces are closely connected to the live music they are accompanied by. With a mix of athleticism, humor, and strong musicality, the troupe kicks off this year’s opening night with a program of signature pieces including a brand new work. Like all of the offerings, you’ll have an opportunity to catch the Dance Group each day of the festival.
This year marks the first time that movies are included in RIAF with the Festival Film Series. Each afternoon, the festival screens a documentary that highlights a different artistic aspect. The first two films are being shown in the Historic Asolo Theater.
follows the career of American dance legends Carmen de Lavallande and Geoffrey Holder. Can we just point out to people that Geoffey was Punjab in the movie Annie?
is about Nobel Prize-winning Russian poet Joseph Brodsky.
Saturday’s film in the Mertz Theatre is a double feature:
celebrates the Merce Cunningham Dance Co’s world Legacy Tour.
Following Park Avenue, this haunting take on jealousy, Labyrinth Within posits a man, a woman, and an elusive lover in a series of intense pas de deux. Danced to a score by David Lang, the work features New York City Ballet principal Wendy Whelan, Giovanni Bucchieri and Pontus Lidberg, who also directed the film.
We did mention theater as part of the Festival, and that brings us to Pig Iron Theatre Company. This company from Philadelphia pride themselves on theatrical work that defies description. Ummm... if it defies description... how do we describe it?
Pig Iron is known for unconventional presentation that results in an effective storytelling. Self described as “dance-clown-theater-
CLOSING NIGHT PARTY
And finally, this year’s festival closes on Sat the 13 with the New Orleans favorite, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band. The party happens right here in the Museum’s courtyard. This is your chance to meet all of the artists from the entire festival in one of the museum’s biggest parties to date. But don’t worry... I’ll we'll be bringing you a Survival Guide for the Closing Night Party soon enough.
So now you should feel more comfortable to grab the brochure or check out the full schedule online at www.ringlingartsfestival.org Pick out a couple of the performances that appeal to you and make a day of it! With only three days, you can check out a different event each day. Banyan Cafe will be open for lunch and Treviso Fine Dining will stay open late for the festival, so you can grab a bite in between shows. Also, be sure to catch Deco Japan, which will be on display during the entire festival!
See you at RIAF 2012
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