The year isn't over yet, but you can already feel the city slowing. With the exception of holiday parties and kid-friendly festivities, Miami is going low-key as locals prepare for the winter break.
But don't let the lack of action get you down. Instead, look ahead to the exciting cultural events waiting for you in the new year.
Miami City Ballet: Dances at a Gathering. Like Doublemint gum, Miami City Ballet is set to bring double the fun. The program boasts two 20th-century masterpieces from two mastermind choreographers, Jerome Robbins and Twyla Tharp. The first piece of the show — Dances at a Gathering — zooms in on the athleticism, grace, and beauty of dance in its purest form, showcasing ten dancers and live Frédéric Chopin tunes. The second piece — Brahms/Handel — is a high-energy exposé that bends ballet boundaries in a high-energy and clever manner. January 11 through 13 at the Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-949-6722; arshtcenter.org, and January 26 through 27 at the Broward Center, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954-462-0222; browardcenter.org.
ScreenDance Festival. ScreenDance Festival is set to dance into its sixth year in Miami. The spectacle takes place at various venues throughout the 305, showing the latest and greatest in terms of the art of dance on film. A number of skill-developing workshops, panel discussions, exclusive screenings will be available for attendees to enjoy. It's all cultivated by festival director and Miami-based choreographer/director Pioneer Winter, whose own film works have been screened across the globe. January 17, 18, 19, and 25 and February 22 at various venues throughout Miami; 305-576-4350; miamilightproject.com.
Coconut Grove Arts Festival. "Arts" may be in the Coconut Grove Arts Festival's name, but there's a lot more to this event. The Grove is transformed into a multisensory experience boasting a culinary pavilion, an entertainment stage with live performances, and a family zone. And, of course, there is lots and lots of art. The 2019 edition is expected to draw nearly 400 artists spanning 14 categories of art, including mixed media, painting, photography, digital art, glass, fiber, jewelry, and metalwork. February 16 through 18 on McFarlane Road, South Bayshore Drive, and Pan American Drive, Coconut Grove; 305-447-0401; cgaf.com.
South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Annually for the past 17 years, beautiful white tents have lined Miami Beach — and there has been even more beautiful food housed under them. Well, it's all about to happen for an 18th year as the Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival returns to the shores. The five-day fest is loaded with stars spanning the culinary realm, such as Giada De Laurentiis, Guy Fieri, and Bobby Flay. More than 100 events will take place — including fun stuff in Broward and West Palm Beach too — so bring an appetite. February 20 through 24 at various venues throughout Miami Beach; 877-762-3933; sobewff.org.
Miami Film Festival. Movie lovers, unite! Returning for a 36th year this March, the Miami Film Festival is sure to pack the memorable cinematic punch it has delivered for decades. A full list of venues, films, events, and ticket information will be available in early 2019. As for what we know now, the Opening Night Film & Party will take place Friday, March 1, at the Olympia Theater, where stars will walk the red carpet. At past editions of MIFF, Kevin Kline, Sofia Loren, Ashton Kutcher, and a slew of others have graced the event. The closing-night Awards Night Film & Party will happen Saturday, March 9, when Grand Jury Awards will be handed out to the festival's big winners. Oh, plus plenty of movies can be enjoyed between the partying too. March 1 through 10 at various locations in Miami; 305-237-3456; miamifilmfestival.com.
Cocaine Cowboys. Billy Corben's Cocaine Cowboys documentaries are Miami cinematic and global faves. If you haven't seen them, they chronicle the rise of the illegal drug trade in Miami throughout the '70s and '80s through the lens of a hired assassin working with infamous drug dealer Griselda Blanco. And now the films are taking theatrical form, shedding light on the drug trade and its influence on the Miami we know today. The Colony Miami/Miami New Drama piece is the collective brainchild of Corben, Miami New Drama's Michel Hausmann, and award-winning playwright Aurin Squire. March 7 through April 7 at Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach; 800-211-1414; colonymb.org.
Frida. Frida means "beautiful" or "beloved." It's also the latest to-be-beloved work from Florida Grand Opera, including the return of revival director and choreographer Marco Pelle of the New York Theatre Ballet. Also, FGO's Roberto Kalb will make his conducting debut after seasons as assistant conductor. As for the performance itself, it's sung in English and Spanish and is generally regarded as high drama and captivating, capturing the life of the passionate artist and Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. March 16 and 17 at Miramar Cultural Center, 2400 Civic Center Pl., Miramar; March 21, 23, and 24 at Miami-Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler St., Miami; and March 28 through 30 at Parker Playhouse, 707 NE Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale; 800-741-1010; fgo.org.
O, Miami Poetry Festival. The O, Miami Poetry Festival has one key goal: for every single person in greater Miami to encounter a poem in April. So the folks behind the fest have delivered poetry to the people in a number of creative ways since its founding in 2011, including poems on county busses, poetry sandwiches at select businesses, and cafecitos in poetry-clad cups. The possibilities are seemingly endless. Since its inception, the fest has produced more than 400 events. Be on the lookout for some big-time poetry happenings, and if nothing else, be inspired to sit and read some poetry yourself. April 1 through 30 at various locations throughout Miami; omiami.org.
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Nu Deco @ Arsht. The Nu Deco Ensemble's 2018-19 season, running October through mid-May, will hit a number of beloved Miami venues along the way. Among the unique shows the ensemble will deliver is an all-Americana performance at the Arsht. The April 18 show will feature a rendition of Aaron Copland's Billy the Kid Suite, William Britelle's Spiritual America, a symphonic suite exploring the tunes of Bill Withers, and a performance by American indie-folk duo Milk Carton and Kids. Rumor has it that piano rocker Ben Folds will make a guest appearance. April 18 at the Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-702-0116; nu-deco.org.
Here & Now 2019. Here & Now will happen at the Light Box May 2 through 4, and you'll totally have to be, well, there and then. In 1999, Miami Light Project launched its signature commission program, boasting work from some of Miami's most promising emerging talent. The work spans and often defies the performance and multimedia spaces. And the talents on display — more than 75 South Florida artists over the years — have gone on to do some pretty cool things. More than 30 of the artists commissioned have performed in 14 states and 15 countries for thousands of spectators. May 2 through 4 at The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse, 404 NW 26th St., Miami; 305-576-4350; miamilightproject.com.