Ringing in RIAF

By Megan McDonald October 12, 2011

The opening night party for the Ringling International Arts Festival  had a relaxed yet thrilling vibe—and it proved all over again that the best party spot in town (and the best place to get your fill of international artistic talent) is the magnificent Ringling courtyard. 

Our favorite part was getting to talk to the artists—like Stefanie Batten Bland (looking stunning in a gold skirt borrowed from the Asolo costume shop that she wore as a strapless dress). Bland splits her time between Paris and Brooklyn and her Company Stefanie Batten Bland is performing at RIAF this week. “People are so nice here!” she exclaimed, before calling for her fellow company members to join her on the dance floor to the sounds of The Romantics’ “What I Like About You.”


We got the same reaction from many of the other artists in attendance, including Ethiopian-born singer Meklit Hadero, stunning Soledad Villamil of the Argentinian tango group Hermanos Macana and members of the Wooster Group, just to name a few. And yes, we admit it—we loved standing just feet away from legendary ballet star Mikhail Baryshnikov, who was clearly enjoying the October night and the sounds of the Asphalt Orchestra, which paraded through the museum courtyard on three separate occasions. 


Below, we’ve put together a video playlist of who and what you can expect to see at RIAF this year. 




Asphalt Orchestra


Company Stefanie Batten Bland


Meklit Hadero


The Wooster Group



Soledad Villamil and Hermanos Macana


Colin Dunne


Brooklyn Rider 

And finally, here’s a video of the Asphalt Orchestra performing live at last night’s event. We admit it’s a bit grainy, but if you look closely, you can see Baryshnikov, in his white shirt and black pants, standing in the background.




Who are you most looking forward to seeing at RIAF 2011?

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