Triumph of the Spirit: See Thursday.

december 21
Dances for the Holiday Spirit: The holidays may not make you want to dance. In fact, they may make you downright hostile. Momentum Dance Company, however, literally jumps for joy this time of year. Tonight at the Colony Theater (1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach), Momentum gets jolly by presenting "Dances for the Holiday Spirit." Several works (some in progress) are on the bill; a few are set to Italian Baroque concertos by composers such as Corelli, Vivaldi, and Torelli. Haydn and Handel compositions provide the background for others. A highlight: Cuban ballerina Rosario "Charin" Suarez performs a work, specially created for her by Momentum artistic director Delma Isles, set to the allegro from Giuseppe Tartini's Christmas Concerto in A major. The show starts at 7:00 p.m. Tickets range from $7 to $15. For $25 you can hang out with the artists, eat cake, and sip champagne after the performance. Call 674R>-1026. (NK)

Triumph of the Spirit: See Thursday.
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Laser Show: See Saturday.

december 22
Florida Philharmonic: It wouldn't be Christmas without a messiah. We are not referring to the one who was supposedly born in Bethlehem on December 25, but then again, he is kind of essential to the whole shebang. We refer to George Frederick Handel's Messiah, that monumental work for chorus and orchestra written in 1740. You know -- the one that contains the rousing "Hallelujah" chorus. So what if you've heard it a million times; you can't deny the thrill. It is said that old Handel himself fainted during a performance of his Messiah and died shortly thereafter. With any luck tonight you'll just be inspired and not rendered unconscious or worse when the Florida Philharmonic and the Florida Philharmonic Chorus under the baton of James Judd perform the majestic oratorio at Gusman Center for the Performing Arts (175 E. Flagler St.). Showtime is 8:00 p.m. Tickets range from $17 to $70. Call 930-1812. (NK)

Murray Dranoff Two-Piano Competition Finals: As much as you hate to admit it, you should have listened to your parents and paid more attention to those piano lessons. Now what do you have to show for all those years spent banging away at the ivories, an out-of-tune upright gathering dust in the living room and a really spiffy version of "Chopsticks"? Too bad. Had you kept practicing, you might have ended up a part of the two-piano teams selected to participate in tonight's finals of the Murray Dranoff Two-Piano Competition. Attracting musicians from all over the world, the competition (founded by Loretta Dranoff as a tribute to her late husband Murray, with whom she performed extensively in a piano duo) celebrates its tenth anniversary. Applications from 187 teams were whittled down to 22, then to nine semifinalists. The nine have spent the past six days competing for an opportunity to be one of three teams who will vie for $25,000 in cash, a three-yeR>ar professional management contract, and a series of performance engagements. Mom and Dad said you'd be sorry! The finals get underway at 5:00 p.m. at the Lincoln Theatre (541 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach). Tickets range from $15 to $50. For $200 to $250 you can also attend the black-tie gala afterward. Call 673-3331. (NK)

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Laser Show: See Saturday.

december 23
Tunga: 1977-1997: His name may sound like something out of a Tarzan movie, but among the artsy cognoscenti the Brazilian artist Tunga is considered not a savage but one of the eminent members of his generation. For more than twenty years Tunga (born Antonio Jose Barros de Carvalho e Mello Mouroa) has created work that explores and challenges assumptions about the link between art and literature, reality and fiction, facts and dreams. He has also become the unofficial crown prince of cross-referencing because of the magically complex, physically striking series of installations he has produced; they meld into a developing narrative that intertwines texts and objects. The installation Lezart consists of a huge force field created by 400 pounds of magnetic filament, copper, and lead that are dragged through space by a six-foot-long metal comb. A twenty-year retrospective of Tunga's work including sculptures, drawings, installations, video, and films is on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art (770 NE 125th St., North Miami) through February. Admission is four dollars. Call 893-6211 for hours. (NK)

Triumph of the Spirit: See Thursday.
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Laser Show: See Saturday.

december 24
Matzo Ball: Are you a Jew with nothing to do on Christmas Eve? Well, you're not alone. In six other cities, including Boston, Philadelphia, and New York, young Jewish professionals are stepping out and partying the night away while everyone else is crawling into bed at home and waiting for Santa to pull up in his sled. Where are they going? The MatR>zo Ball, sponsored by the Society of Young Jewish Professionals. Miami's version of the bash will be held at 8:00 tonight at Amnesia (136 Collins Ave., Miami Beach). For $20 you can dance all night to the sounds of the house DJ, fill up on yummy hors d'oeuvres, rake in some door prizes, and just maybe meet that special someone who doesn't believe in Santa either! Call 888-633-5326. (NK)

Triumph of the Spirit: See Thursday.
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Laser Show: See Saturday.
Tunga: 1977-1997: See Tuesday.

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