International Ballet Festival Pirouettes into Miami Beach

If you happen to be clubbing on South Beach this weekend and notice an abnormally high percentage of graciously elegant foreigners on the dancefloor, it might be because the

International Ballet Festival of Miami
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is in town. Dancers from 18 of the world's most famous ballet companies have descended on Miami in their freshest tutus and most colorful pointe shoes to show us what the dance is all about.

For most of us, ballet is just a blur of leaping, turning, and pointed toes. But for the true devotee, there are great differences between the flowing movement of Italy's Cecchetti and the long lines emphasized by the Balanchine method of the New York City Ballet, not to mention the grand storytelling of Russia's Bolshoi style. Confusing the styles would be like walking up to 50 Cent and telling him you love his romantic ballads.

But fear not, aspiring culture snobs. At this Sunday's Closing Grand Gala of the Stars, all of the companies from Alberta to Vienna will be demonstrating their styles while performing classical, neo-classical, and contemporary choreography.

"It's unique, and it's varied. You never see anything like this in

Miami," says festival coordinator Karen Couty. "Occasionally a dance

company will come through and perform a full-length ballet or you'll

see, of course, Miami City Ballet which is wonderful but pretty much

geared towards one style of dance. Here you'll see all styles of dance

from all over the world and you'll see some of the greatest classical


Highlights include a modern ballet piece from Nacho Duato of Spain (who

we're told is "huge" in the contemporary ballet world right now), the

Paris Opera of France, Teatro a la Scala from Italy, and the New York

City Ballet Company. Score some tickets and never again be left out of a conversation about

famous French pas des deux or the beauty of Ballets Russes.

The Closing Grand Gala of the Stars takes place Sunday at 5 p.m. at the

Fillmore Miami Beach (1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach). Tickets cost

$43.50 to $73. Tickets cost $43.50-$73. Call 305-673-7300 or visit


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