The season will feature 14 artists and companies in dozens of timely multidisciplinary performances.
When one curtain closes, another opens.
The Ringling hosted the final Ringling International Arts Festival in 2017. Last year, the New Stages contemporary performance series replaced it. And this upcoming 2019-2020 season, The Art of Performance series is taking the museum’s commitment to staged works even further.
“During a performance you get into a capsule and the audience takes a trip together,” says Currie-Kohlmann Curator of Performance Art Elizabeth Doud. “The artists are the captains of that ship and what they do only happens that way that one night — I love that it’s fleeting and unites a temporary collective.”
Asked why The Ringling is continuing to further its commitment to the performing arts, Project Coordinator Sonja Shea says the question is one that could take an hour to answer, it’s such a hot topic in the museum world. But The Ringling’s history gives her a sense of direction.
“A museum is a place to integrate the arts, and to not have the performing arts represented is against our mission,” she says. “Chick Austin (The Ringling’s first director) saw the whole museum as a stage for performances, so we’re keeping that alive.”
On May 29 in the museum’s Chao Lecture Hall, media, subscribers and other museum supporters were the first to hear the details of the 2019-2020 performing arts season that will be hosted in The Ringling’s Historic Asolo Theater.
The following is an overview of the upcoming season from the perspective of Doud and Shea.
Nrityagram Dance Ensemble
Oct. 11 and 12
This renowned all-female performing arts troupe — which calls themselves a “village” — is made up of 13 dancers and musicians from southern India who are helping keep the Odissi classical dance tradition alive. Doud says this genre of dance is typically found in temples because the choreography is based on interpretations of Hindu mythology, but audiences will soon be able to see it at the Historic Asolo Theater for two performances. Shea says the museum will also host a conversation with the artists and a master class for the public to try their hand at Odissi dance.
“Raíz de 4” by the Casa Patas Flamenco Foundation
Nov. 6 and 7
Master flamenco artists Rafael Peral and Marisa Adame are bringing Spain to Sarasota with this vibrant evening of live flamenco. These two dance performances of the group’s latest work, which explores Spanish folklore and the roots of flamenco, will feature live percussion and vocals. Shea says Sarasotans interested in learning the style can attend a master class hosted by the dynamic duo.
Nov. 15 and 16
Hear one of the hottest musicians in the Latin jazz piano scene at this solo concert. Gonzalo Rubalcaba is a Cuban artist now based in South Florida who first made a splash when he was discovered by Dizzy Gillespie in 1985. He’s since won two Grammys and two Latin Grammys.
“Tijuana” by Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol
Dec. 6 and 7
Shea says this performance and its accompanying community outreach programs were inspired by the idea to celebrate more than just Christmas and Hanukkah during the this upcoming holiday season. One holiday she says is often overlooked is The Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, and The Ringling is honoring this Mexican tradition with several partnerships in December: Sarasota Film Society will screen several Mexican films, UnidosNow will lead a viewpoint lecture on the holiday and there will be a gallery walk and talk to discuss the various depictions of the Virgin Mary throughout The Ringling’s art collection.
This performance, however, takes on another aspect of the Mexican experience. The Mexico-city based theater collective Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol (which translates to “Lizards laying out on the sun”) explores the experience of low-income workers in Tijuana in this anthropological theater experiment undertaken by Lagartijas member Gabino Rodríguez. This one-man show is a narration by Rodríguez of his experience essentially going undercover to work on an assembly line in a Tijuana factory on the U.S. border for six months.
“This performance investigates the question of what it means to be Mexican today,” Doud says.
“¡Vívelo!” by Son Luna and Jóvenes Zapateadores
Dec.12, 13 and 14
Continuing its celebration of Mexican culture, The Ringling will also host Mexican musical ensemble Son Luna and dance troupe Jóvenes Zapateadores in a series of three performances that will combine everything from folkloric dance to African-inspired movement. Shea says this lively group that aims to share the heritage of its native Veracruz will also host a workshop with students from Booker High School as well as a public artist talk.
“The language of art transcends political frontiers,” Doud says.
“Peony Dreams: On the Other Side of Sleep” by Yin Mei
Jan. 17 and 18
Doud calls Chinese choreographer Yin Mei “an extraordinary personality” who is now based in New York City. She’s best known for using large pieces of paper and ink to create visual arts works live onstage via movement, thus using her background as a former dancer in China’s Henan Province Dance Company during the Cultural Revolution for a new purpose.
“Feos” by Aline Kuppenheim/Teatro y su doble
Feb. 7 and 8
This Chilean puppet theater company will perform an intricate piece with a pre-recorded soundscape that translates to “Night of the Uglies.” Doud says the story follows two people with physical deformities who meet and form an intimacy they haven’t found with anyone else.
Moun-Moon: Inez Barlatier in Concert
Feb. 21 and 22
Doud believes this American-born artist of Haitian descent is on the cusp of fame. She’s based in Miami and derives her inspiration from African, Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Latin cultures as a dynamic singer/songwriter/guitarist/percussionist.
“Spirittrials” by Dalhak Braithwaite
March 13 and 14
Dalhak Braithwaite is an Oakland, Calif.-based spoken word artist, actor and hip-hop dancer who will use both movement and words to share a mostly autobiographical story of his experience as a young black man who was once incarcerated for drug possession — a story that doubles as a larger meditation on the current state of the American criminal justice system.
Companhia Urbana de Danca
This Brazilian dance company has been together for nearly 15 years. Doud says members infuse elements of traditional Brazilian dance into hip-hop to create a one-of-a-kind blend that’s “hard to sit and watch — you want to get up and dance, it’s that electrifying.”
“Liberate the Earth” by Artichoke Dance Company
Celebrate Earth Day at The Ringling with this Brooklyn-based dance troupe using the arts to promote change. This “performing arts activism” event will be the only outdoor performance of the season, and it’ll take place throughout the grounds of the museum. The company dons plastic bag dresses to tell a story of ecological phenomena through movement.
“This World Made Itself — Myth and Infrastructure” by Miwa Matreyek
April 10 and 11
Miwa Matreyek is a Los Angeles-based animator, designer, director and performer most known for her live shadow puppetry pieces in which she steps into an animated film she’s created, using her body to tell a story. Doud says the work reflects primarily on the non-human world, pondering everything from industry to nature and often the creation of life.
April 24 and 25
Doud says this Chicago-based classical music ensemble is a forward-thinking group that performs both contemporary music and music by composers who are no longer living. Shea is hoping to book the group for a community engagement activity that would bring them into a local school to have students create their own ringtones.
Season tickets are expected to go on sale Aug. 1 and will be available by calling the box office at 359-5700 or online at ringling.org.