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Ringling/Baryshnikov festival a showcase for Florida State students

Florida State University students will be in the spotlight in Sarasota as The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, operated by The Florida State University in Sarasota, Florida, and New York's Baryshnikov Arts Center launch the inaugural Ringling International Arts Festival, October 7-11, 2009.

Robert Spano (photo: J.D. Scott)

The unique partnership will bring together more than 100 artists from the United States, Australia, Canada, England, Israel, Scotland, and Spain to share the rich diversity of ideas and forms at play in the world.

In addition, according to Dean of Visual Arts, Theatre and Dance Sally McRorie, "Nearly 100 Florida State students in dance, theatre, music and the circus—from technicians to jugglers—will be at the Ringling to perform or work at the festival."

Performances and exhibits will be staged throughout the Ringling Museum of Art's 66-acre waterfront cultural estate on Sarasota Bay.

The festival will celebrate its debut with a special opening night classical concert featuring renowned conductor Robert Spano, conductor for the Atlanta Symphony, members of the the Florida State University Symphony Orchestra, and pianist Pedja Muzijevic. Spano and Muzijevic will travel to Tallahassee before the festival for rehearsals.

"Working with two world-class conductors such as Dr. Alex Jimenez and Robert Spano is a tremendous opportunity for our students," said Florida State Percussion Professor John Parks. "It's also great exposure for our program in an area that doesn't often get to see FSU's live performances."

"It is an honor for our orchestra to be performing the Opening Night concert for the first Ringling International Arts Festival," said Cecile Forsberg, Florida State Orchestra's general manager. "Our musicians are incredibly talented, and this will be a wonderful opportunity to showcase their talents."

FSU dance students, both undergraduate and graduate, will present excerpts from works from their last season at the Festival Café. Performers from Florida State's Flying High Circus will provide entertainment on the grounds as well as technical support.

"We're a part of Florida State, and one of the goals was to give the university students a venue to perform," says Dwight Currie, Ringling's Associate Director for Museum Programs, and the man behind the scenes for the festival.

After opening night, the excitement continues with performances in music, theater and dance, including the U.S. premiere of Peter Brook's Love is my sin; Ella's Hickson's award-winning play Eight; Elevator Repair Service in their new The Sun Also Rises, First Part (workshop premiere); the extraordinary Meow Meow in Beyond Glamour: The Absinthe Tour; a world premiere by choreographer Aszure Barton; the U.S. premiere of María Pagés's Flamenco y Poesía; emerging dance companies Deganit Shemy & Company and OtherShore; and two chamber concerts, each featuring a new commissioned work by composer Mason Bates.

In addition to the performances, the festival will feature three major art exhibitions: Louise Fishman Among the Old Masters, Venice in the Age of Canaletto, Path to the Paradise: The World of Buddhism. Between stage performances, museum tours, and strolls through the gardens, patrons can enjoy free performances in the Festival Café, artist talks, an Asian Cultural FunFest for families, late evening jazz concerts, and more.

All performances, with the exception of the opening night concert, are offered at multiple times over the five days.

Single ticket prices range between $10-$30 for each of the one-hour mainstage performances in theater, music and dance, with the exception of the opening night concert. Festival subscription packages include prime seating for a choice of four, six, or eight Festival performances, as well as admission to the Ringling Museum Estate. Single tickets and subscription packages can be purchased through the Historic Asolo Theater box office at the Ringling Museum of Art: 1.800.660.4ART (4278), 941-360-7399, or at

The Baryshnikov Arts Center opened its doors in New York City's Hell's Kitchen in November 2005. BAC serves as a creative laboratory, meeting place, and performance space for a vibrant community of artists from around the world. BAC is also dedicated to building audiences for the arts by presenting contemporary, innovative work at low or no cost to ticket buyers. For more information about the Baryshnikov Arts Center, please visit

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, The Florida State University, is one of the largest museum/ university campuses in the nation. It preserves the legacy of John and Mable Ringling by educating and enabling a large and diverse audience to experience and take delight in a world-renowned collection of fine art; Cà d'Zan, the Ringling historic mansion; the Circus Museums; the Historic Asolo Theater; as well as the historic architecture, courtyard, gardens and grounds overlooking Sarasota Bay on Florida's gulf coast. For more information about The Ringling Museum of Art, please visit

"Nearly 100 Florida State students in dance, theatre, music and the circus — from technicians to jugglers — will be at the Ringling to perform or work at the festival."

Sally McRorie
Dean, Florida State University College of Visual Arts, Theatre and Dance