With a kickoff show collaboration with UnidosNow, an Eco-Performance Fest, innovative jazz artists from around the world, and more, the most provocative performance series in the area offers another refreshing year of genre-busting works.

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art (The Ringling) is pleased to announce the 2024-2025 Art of Performance Series lineup. This season includes a total of 12 “mainstage” performances throughout the year.

In collaboration with UnidosNowNocheUnidos, the kickoff celebration of the season, will light up the Museum of Art Courtyard to feature Bomba Yemayá, hailing from Puerto Rico, and the 79rs Gang, who will bring the spirit of Carnival from their New Orleans community.

In mid-November, five surprising acts will pepper the week-long SunHAT Eco-Performance Fest. In early January 2025, local Artists will present short Works-in-Progress, (MicroWIP). A partnership with Asolo Repertory Theater will bring All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914, right next door to play throughout December for the holidays. Spring 2025 is abundant with five innovative jazz performances by artists from around the world. Right in the middle of the season, renowned hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris brings Losing My Religion—a work commissioned by the Hermitage Artist Retreat's Greenfield Prize—to the Historic Asolo Theater stage.

About NocheUnidos, ¡Pasemos la noche vestidos de blanco!

October 18, 2024

Info and Tickets

As Hispanic Heritage Month closes, The Ringling will kick off the season in collaboration with UnidosNow for the third annual NocheUnidos. This evening celebration in the Museum of Art Courtyard honors the rich and dynamic cultures that have influenced our Gulf Coast community, including the African diaspora, Indigenous America, and Europe. The event will begin with festive Puerto Rican rhythms from Bomba Yemayá and parades into the night with an upbeat Mardi Gras spirit captured by the New Orleans-based 79rs Gang. All are invited to dress in white to call in the season with elegancia and enjoy an evening of dancing, food, music, and fellowship.

  • Bomba Yemayá (San Juan, Puerto Rico) is a leading bomba performance group born out of the island’s rich cultural heritage. Bomba is an emblematic Puerto Rican musical genre that emerged 400 years ago from the colonial plantations where West African enslaved people and their descendants worked. It remains one of the most popular forms of folk music on the island and serves as significant evidence of its rich African influences.
  • 79rs Gang (New Orleans, LA) The 79rs Gang is led by musicians Jermaine Bossier and Romeo Bougere, the Big Chiefs of two rival Mardi Gras Indian tribes, the 7th and the 9th Wards, which are both municipalities and cultural communities of greater New Orleans. These young talents interweave traditional Mardi Gras rhythms with vibrant contemporary hip-hop styling and sophisticated lyrics. Their fresh takes on timeless themes fuse funky hits, traditional Mardi Gras sounds, and Carnival celebration energy.

About SunHAT Eco-Performance Fest

November 11-18, 2024

Info and Tickets


This campus-wide, week-long festival elevates Eco-Performance and celebrates artists exploring narratives about ecology, climate emergency, and environmental justice. Rather than focusing on the science behind these issues, these performances respond to the gravity of the moment with humor, surprise, delight, and emotion creating a week of cultural exchange with the living world.

“These performances are Cultural SPF for our times,” says Elizabeth Doud, the Currie-Kohlmann Curator of Performance at The Ringling. “They offer emotional respite, a balm, and a space for celebration of our human community and the creative force of our non-human world.”

The festival is aptly called SunHAT, a nod to the festival performances moving out from under the cover of the beloved Historic Asolo Theater (HAT) to locations throughout the grounds and gardens of The Ringling. “For a festival that celebrates all there is to love and feel about our relationship with the living world, I wanted to explore ways that performance can exist beyond the theater, which is so energy intensive,” says Doud.

Throughout the week, The Ringling grounds will be alive with a site-specific-fungi dance, artist talks under the banyans, raves to vegan rap, processions to the Bay, and the comedic charm of water-conscious clowns. “Environmental pressures and the higher stakes of climate change have inspired a new cultural territory. All these artists are on the vanguard of this movement,” says Doud. “In a few years, what we are calling Eco-Performance will be incorporated into every performance as there will be no human story untouched by this reality.”

To make the festival as accessible as possible, each performance is ticketed in a pay-as-you-will structure with a minimum fee of $0.99 per show.

Festival Schedule:

You Look Like a Fun Guy by Dance Heginbotham (New York)

Location: North Searing Lawn

  • November 13 at 5:15 p.m.
    • To be followed at 6:45 p.m. with a Mushroom Dinner and Artist Talk Back with Choreographer John Heginbotham 
  • November 14 at 5:15 p.m.

This outdoor dance and theater presentation is inspired by mushrooms, their astonishing powers to transform dead things into living things, build underground networks spanning miles, but also their tastiness—and their surprising relationship to avant-garde composer John Cage, who, due to his knowledge on the subject, won enough money on an Italian game show to support the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.

SunHAT Festival Party with DJ Cavem (Sausalito, CA)

Location: Campiello at The Ringling Bayfront

  • November 14 at 7:00 p.m.

The party for SunHAT Eco-Performance Fest will feature the phenomenal eco-hip-hop Artist and vegan chef DJ Cavem. Cavem coined the term “eco-hip-hop” in 2007. The genre has since sprouted into a global movement bringing his mission to create music about climate change, food justice, and plant-based foods far beyond his Denver hometown. Having performed at the Obama White House, featured in Oprah Magazine and on the Rachael Ray Show, Dr. Ietef “DJ Cavem” Vita has become known as more than just a rapper—he is an activist, educator, and vegan chef. His performances and workshops appeal widely to youth and adult audiences.

Invisible Rivers by Mondo Bizarro (New Orleans, LA)

Location: Ca’ d’Zan Terrace and Grounds

  • Procession and Performance - Exact date and time TBA
  • Procession and Performance - Exact date and time TBA

Performed on and near Sarasota Bay, this unique collaboration between Louisiana-based Mondo Bizarro and the Land Memory Bank & Seed Exchange combines the twin influences of art and education to involve citizen audiences in Invisible Rivers. Part procession, part performance-art talk, Invisible Rivers is a project that uses music, theater, and boatbuilding to bring their experiences from the rapidly changing coastal region of southeast Louisiana. Using a pontoon stage, the artists will work with the local community to host classes, dialogues, and performances on the “float lab.” These performances will elaborate on the stories of our region's interconnected struggles against coastal land loss, environmental racism, and displacement in the land we love.

Sakasaka by Compagnie Zolobe (Madagascar)

Location: The Wagon Room / Historic Circus Galleries

  • November 15 at 4:30 p.m.
  • November 16 at 4:30 p.m.
  • November 17 at 4:30 p.m.
  • November 18 at 11 a.m.

Sakasaka, which means “thirsty” in Malagasy, is a wordless, physical comedy with live music. Using only a mop, a bench, and buckets, the three clowns that make up Madagascar’s Compagnie Zolobe set audiences to laughter as they try to drink a cup of water. Of course, nothing goes right, and antics ensue. The clown trio takes audiences on adventures including a Thriller dance homage, a trip on the Titanic, and open-heart surgery. Delightfully entertaining, Sakasaka also highlights the global issue of water scarcity and the importance of protecting this precious resource.

Morning // Mourning by Gelsey Bell (NYC)

Location: The Historic Asolo Theater, The HAT

  • November 15 at 7:30 p.m.
  • November 16 at 7:30 p.m.

Inspired by the book The World Without Us (2007) by Alan Weisman, this experimental opera inhabits a world in which all humans have disappeared from Earth. An ensemble of five vocalist/multi-instrumentalists guides the audience through changes on Earth as forests grow back, new species evolve, and the human-made world erodes away. The piece is a fantastical and playful exploration of the dire political and ethical contradictions that structure current human relations with nature.

About MicroWIP

January 24, 2025

In early January, a series of micro works-in-progress offers a glimpse into the work of local artists who are testing out ideas. “These performances are some of the best we offer,” Doud says. “When artists are in the process of prototyping new work, the tension and vulnerability of the performance lends itself to an intimate and powerful community experience.”

About Jazz Works from Around the World

February 14 – April 16, 2025

Jazz and tap dance are American art forms that remain at the forefront of creative impulse worldwide. This season’s subscription series offers five exceptional performances by artists from around the world who have steadily innovated even while being the standard bearers of their disciplines. Some of these artists are well known and others thrilling discoveries; all of them are stars in the constellations of these enduring forms.

Throughout spring these works will offer intense weekends of mainstage performances and talks that provide spaces to enjoy, debate, and celebrate the power and meaning of jazz.

Series Schedule:

Cape Verdean Blues by Kavita Shah (NYC and Cape Verde)

Jazz Vocals and Cape Verdean Traditional Music

Location: Historic Asolo Theater

  • February 14, 2025, at 7:30 p.m.

This stirring evening features a sublime set of traditional Cape Verdean songs fused with jazz sensibilities performed by the polyglot vocalist Kavita Shah and some of Cape Verde’s most renowned musicians. Shah is an award-winning vocalist, composer, researcher, and educator who makes work in deep engagement with the jazz tradition, while also addressing and advancing its global sensibilities. A lifelong New Yorker of Indian origin hailed for possessing an “amazing dexterity for musical languages” (NPR), Shah incorporates her ethnographic research on Brazilian, West African, and Indian musical traditions into her original repertoire. In September 2023, after seven years of immersion in the traditional mornas and coladeiras of her idol Cesária Évora on the Atlantic Island of São Vicente with Évora's former musical director and virtuoso guitarist Bau, Shah released her latest album Cape Verdean Blues (Folkalist Records).

The Two Rivers Ensemble featuring Amir ElSaffar (NYC)

Jazz Trumpet / Persian Fusion

Location: Historic Asolo Theater

  • February 15 & 16, 2025

The Two Rivers Ensemble is a sextet of jazz and Middle Eastern musicians that has made innovative strides in using the maqam modal system with the American jazz idiom. Deeply rooted in the musical forms of Iraq and nearby regions, the music still speaks the language of swing, improvisation, and group interaction, and the resultant sound is distinct from other contemporary cross-cultural musical fusions. After 14 years of extensive performing and touring, The Two Rivers Ensemble has developed an instinctive ease with ElSaffar’s highly complex music, enabling the band to play with a creativity that transcends pure technical challenge in a style that is rooted in tradition, while creating an entirely new aesthetic. Downbeat Magazine called Amir ElSaffar’s work, “certainly the first Middle Eastern-imbued jazz combo at Newport to win a standing ovation for its first song.”

Composer, trumpeter, santur player, and vocalist Amir ElSaffar is a recipient of the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award and a 2018 US Artist Fellow who has been described as “uniquely poised to reconcile jazz and Arabic music,” (the Wire) and “one of the most promising figures in jazz today” (Chicago Tribune). A purveyor of the centuries-old, now endangered, Iraqi maqam tradition, ElSaffar is an expert trumpeter with a classical background, conversant not only in the language of contemporary jazz, but has created techniques to play microtones and ornaments idiomatic to Arabic music that are not typically heard on the trumpet.

Alain Pérez (Cuba)

Latin Jazz / Cuban Timba

Location: Historic Asolo Theater (HAT)

  • February 21 & 22, 2025, at 7:30 p.m.

Bassist, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, Alain Pérez is one of Cuba’s most active and versatile musicians on the international scene today. He has performed and recorded with jazz legends in various musical vernaculars, forming part of the original Chucho Valdés Quartet that recorded on Blue Note Records, as the bassist of the renowned Paco de Lucía sextet, for the flamenco singer Enrique Morente, and was also part of the new Jerry González quartet. He is a band leader and producer for numerous projects, including his own orchestral project. He is a Grammy winner and nominee in multiple categories as both interpreter and author and is deeply cherished as a producer and ambassador of Latin Jazz and Cuban Popular music worldwide.

The Baby Laurence Legacy Project by Brinae Ali and the Baltimore Jazz Collective

Tap Dance and Jazz

Location: Historic Asolo Theater

  • March 14, 2025, at 11 a.m.
  • March 15, 2025, at 7:30 p.m.
  • March 16, 2025, at 5:00 p.m.
  • March 17, 2025, at 1:00 p.m.

The Baby Laurence Legacy Project is an evening-length performance that investigates and celebrates the artistic genius of Donald “Baby Laurence” Jackson, a Baltimore-bred game-changer, and his impact on tap dance and jazz music. This production aims to redefine the relationship between technology, tap dancing, and jazz music to build a platform for sharing Laurence’s largely forgotten story with audiences. The work honors his artistic genius and probes the social context that led to his alcoholism, chronic drug use, continual incarceration, poverty, and early death at age 53. Songs from his album, such as “Baby at Birdland” and “Delilah’s Theme,” will be reimagined with new arrangements and choreography. The Baby Laurence Legacy Project will reveal to audiences how Laurence embodied the bebop aesthetic, which channeled a defiance of the white gaze and a self-referencing Black consciousness as in the music of Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Max Roach, and Charlie Parker.

Lívia Mattos Trio (Brazil)

Jazz, Brazilian Popular Music, and Circus

Location: Historic Asolo Theater

  • April 18 & 19, 2025, at 7:30 p.m.

Bahia-based accordion player, songwriter, vocalist, filmmaker, and visual artist, Lívia Mattos has been developing her singular skills as a player and unconventional frontwoman since she started her artistic adventures as a circus performer. Singularly entertaining and musically rich, her concerts blend Brazilian Popular Music, burlesque jazz, and circus sensibilities. She has collaborated with renowned artists like Rosa Passos, Badi Assad, and Chico César, as well as the Symphonic Orchestra of Bahia and released her debut album as a songwriter, Vinha da Ida, in 2017, receiving acclaim for its surprising arrangements, inventive lyrics, unusual fusion of Brazilian roots, jazz and global rhythms, and its overall fresh originality. Its success led to tours in Europe and the Americas, as well as earning her four prestigious Brazilian arts and culture awards. Her adventures continue with her latest album, Apneia, now touring with her unique trio, comprising long-term colleagues, Rafael dos Santos (drums) and Jefferson Babu (tuba).

Spring Extra: Losing My Religion

April 4 & 5, 2025

Losing My Religion by Rennie Harris Puremovement (Philadelphia, PA)

Hip-hop Dance

Location: Historic Asolo Theater

  • April 4 & 5, 2025, at 7:30 p.m.

Losing My Religion is a new creation by Rennie Harris, “The most brilliant Hip-Hop choreographer in America” (The New Yorker). Harris’s theater company Rennie Harris Puremovement (RHPM) will perform the abstract retrospective work inspired by Harris’s life journey, the human experience, and his thoughts on the world’s collective dilemmas—from war to social, economic, and political injustices, humanity is forever caught in a perpetual loop of turmoil, grief, and despair.

Harris challenges both what has come to be expected of street dance and hip-hop culture and degenerative social norms/beliefs with his reconstructionist philosophy and approach to artmaking. As a part of the company work, Harris will incorporate a reimagining of his renowned solo, Endangered Species. The solo's inclusion completes a story of systemic racism and revolt and a shift away from what was, to what is, and what can be. Losing My Religion examines the historical use of hip-hop and street dance as languages of protest, resilience, and power, while the choreography and forms invite audiences to imagine the ways in which they can use their bodies as resistance.

This work is the result of a commission by the Hermitage Artist Retreat through their prestigious Greenfield Prize and reflects an ongoing collaboration with our two institutions to support creative practice in the region.


About The Ringling

As the State Art Museum of Florida and part of Florida State University, The Ringling is Florida’s center for the arts, history, and learning. Bringing the past and contemporary culture to life through extraordinary visitor experiences, The Ringling is a place of exploration, discovery, and respite. The Ringling’s campus in Sarasota, Florida—which includes the Museum of Art, the Circus Museum, the glass arts pavilion, a historic mansion, an 18th-century theater, and Bayfront Gardens—is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.


Media Contact // EVENT IMAGES

Bethany Ritz, Public Relations Manager

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

941-358-2625| bethany.ritz@ringling.org

// Spokesperson Available for Interviews

Elizabeth Doud

Currie-Kohlmann Curator of Performance

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art