Review of Tangram – “A Pocket Full of Wry”; Duo Amal – “Shimmering Translucency” and The Last Day of The Ringling International Arts Festival

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End of the Ringling International Arts Festival. 

By: Rodger Skidmore

Yes, the festival is over, but only the 2014 edition, the 2015 version is already planned. Interestingly that one will have a theme – Southeast Asia. There will be dance theater, folk music, traditional music with singing, a circus, and music, music music galore. The performers will be coming from China, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Cambodia, Taiwan and East Timor. Doesn’t sound like it can get any more exotic that that. The full roster of performers will be released in February, 2015. The above is just a sampling.

And how were some of the performances on the last day of this year’s festival? 

tangramTangram – A Pocket Full of Wry

Two bodies, fast hands and slow movements. The show started off with some very wry solo pieces. The action, between blackouts, bounced back and forth between the two performers. As the tension built, their movements melded together – perhaps to double wry, but, thankfully, never ham on wry.

Both Cristiana Casadio and Stefan Sing have studied dance, among other art forms, with one specializing in ballet and the other in juggling. Yes, good jugglers need to know how to expertly move their bodies, as well as their hands. Sing was able to juggle his myriad balls around, above, towards, through and threw his partner. And she, as insinuatingly sinuous as she was, kept the ball rolling with exquisitely complex body movements at this performance at the Historic Asolo Theater – the perfect size venue to showcase these artists .

Duo AmalDuo Amal – Shimmering Translucency

Glisteningly, the first notes of Franz Schubert’s Fantasia in F minor floated out over the orchestra floor of the Mildred Sainer Pavilion. This was, at first, a bit unsettling, as the music’s quiet beauty was in such stark contrast to the audience’s mood of the moment before. They had walked or driven over from the parking lot of the Ringling Museum, had milled about before being let into the auditorium and then sat chatting as they waited for 2:00 PM, that day’s bewitching hour. Bishara Haroni and Yaron Kohlberg walked slowly onto the stage, adjusted their individual piano benches, and then played. Soon enough the audience was wrapped up in the rapturous sounds of Schubert’s enchanting piano fantasy.

The next piece to be played was a finger-tingling exercise by Avner Dorman which was quite pleasant and just a bit longer than this paragraph. If anyone had fallen asleep during the Schubert’s sensuous movements, they were sure to be awake now.

This being a showcase of four hands with two pianos, it was very pleasant when the artists switched from one piano to the other between pieces. This permitted those on the left and the right side of the audience to see how each of them individually attacked the keys. Perhaps it was a visual metaphor for working and playing well with others from either side of the world stage.

The concert ended with Shostakovich’s Concertino for two pianos in A minor and Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Suite No. 1 Fantaisie-Tableau for two pianos. When these two pieces were over, one knew how short an hour could be.


But that was not all

As there were two hours between these two performances it was a perfect time to take up the Ringling Museum’s offer to stroll through their galleries before, after or between acts.

Having seen all of the permanent collection many times over it was a quick but quiet walk past these historic paintings. The Searing Wing was, as usual, displaying a variety of works. There will be a major new exhibition of Art In The Spanish American Home (1492-1898) and another, De Vos Banners (circus posters by Frans De Vos) starting in late October and early November. But for now there was an exhibit of Thomas Chimes large mural and many of his smaller works as well as 21 photos by Danny Lyon from his book The Bikeriders (1963-1968) which showed midwestern bikers (mainly Chicago Outlaws) in all their leather and tattooed glory.

A show in the Searing of high interest is Seeing The Unseen, which will be on display through February 28th, 2015. The art in this exhibit is hard to describe, but then again, it was hard to make. There are LARGE photos which took a lot of imagination to create and do push the envelope of perception. There are also two 15 minute videos in a small alcove which, for the right person, can be highly entertaining/interesting. While watching, alone, many heads peered around the corner into this dark space, glanced at the screen and then were retracted. They moved on. I was just moved.

Fat BoyAlso on the grounds, for your viewing pleasure through 2014, is Fat Boy by Leonard Ursachi, a Romanian artist. This is one of his “bunker” sculptures.

Photo Courtesy: Ringling Museum









Li Wei


One of the artists, Li Wei, will be doing performance art at the Ringling on November 17th at 2:00 PM. As this will be outside, on the grounds of the museum, there will be no charge. 

Photo Courtesy: Ringling Museum








All Photos Courtesy: Ringling Museum



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