Miami's performing arts is as unique and diverse as its people. You are bound to find internationally acclaimed dance companies and cutting-edge theater. There are a number of venues showing avant-garde films on a regular basis, mainly at old movie theaters and art houses.

Three of the best-known venues are the Jackie Gleason Theater, Actor’s Playhouse and the Coconut Grove Playhouse, which present full seasons of Broadway musicals and theatre productions. Miami theater offerings also include experimental theater and Spanish-language plays.

The world-acclaimed Miami City Ballet showcases classical and ethnic dance forms. Internationally famed dance companies such as the American Ballet Theatre, the Kirov and Bolshoi Ballets, Dance Theatre of Harlem and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater have also honored Miami's stage.

Based in Miami-Dade County Auditorium, 2901 West Flagler Street, Florida Grand Opera ( www.fgo.org ) puts five to six productions (mostly Italian and German operas) from October through May.

Just The Funny Theater & Training Center, 3119 Coral Way, ( www.JustTheFunny.com ) offers weekly improvisation and sketch comedy shows on Friday and Saturday nights at 9:00 pm and 11:00 pm; with 9 pm shows for all ages, and 11 pm shows for adults.  Just The Funny also offers classes in improvisation and sketch writing, and is South Florida's only improv acting conservatory, classes are also available for kids and teens.  Check their website for schedules and times.

Additionally, a number of international festivals have made Miami their home.

The International Hispanic Theatre Festival ( www.teatroavante.com ) , at various locations throughout the Miami-Dade County, present in June award winning productions from Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean and the United States, including world and US premieres. Productions are both in English and Spanish.

The International Ballet Festival of Miami( www.miamihispanicballet.com ) is a nationally and internationally recognized festival featuring performances by renowned dance companies. It takes place in August.

The Miami International Film Festival ( www.hispanicfilm.com ) presents foreign films and include academic conferences and symposiums related to the film industry, particularly in the Hispanic world.

The Miami Improv Festival ( www.MiamiImprovFestival.com ) celebrates the best in improvisational and sketch comedy from around the world, and features shows and workshops in the craft.  The festival takes place over several weekends throughout the year at the Just The Funny Theater & Training Center.

You can check out free weekly magazine New Times for the latest updates on shows and events.