Sleepless in South Beach

Miami is a city internationally known for partying ‘till dawn. Night owls and revelers flock to South Beach for top-notch nightlife. Sleepless Night, a different kind of party, is taking over Miami Beach once again.

The free event takes advantage of daylight saving time to pack in a full 13 hours of musical, theatrical and dance performances.

“We try to program for every possible audience, so there really is something for everyone,” said Gary Farmer, cultural affairs program manager for Miami Beach Tourism and Cultural Development.

Beachgoers will experience a feast of culture with art exhibits, interactive performances and full-length dramatic productions in both English and Spanish, along with powerful poetry, dance and comedy.

“The arts community at large loves the event,” said Stephen Di Benedetto, associate professor of theatre history and theory at the University of Miami. “It is great for our city.”

Exhibits and performances are not only done by local artists, but also by national and international performers. Performers include The Carpetbag Brigade, a physical theater company from San Francisco that will debut their combined acrobatics, modern dance and circus-like performance “Callings” for the first time on the East Coast. Another act performing is The Dream Engine’s Heliosphere, an aerial dance that hangs hundreds of feet above the audience and creates the illusion of flying through acrobatic dance, colorful lighting and music.

“You can walk around the beach and see dance, comedy, art and music all over,” said UM senior Lyla Yaner, who attended the last Sleepless Night. “When you look at the schedule, there’s so much you want to do that looks amazing.”

The event usually has a big turnout, but it also tends to have a relaxed atmosphere.

“As in previous years, we are expecting over 100,000 people, but because there are so many events and venues and hours, the crowd never seems overwhelming,” Farmer said. “The overall vibe is exciting, upbeat and chill – sort of like watching fireworks in a crowd on the Fourth of July.”

Although it is a popular event, the city has been unable to support it as an annual event due to its high operational costs. The last time Sleepless Night was held was in 2009.

Sleepless Night is sponsored largely by the Knight Foundation, a group that seeks to raise cultural awareness of the arts in communities across the U.S., including Miami.

“This innovative event is exciting and important. It involves all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds and explores the varieties of cultures with one community,” theatre arts professor Patricia Dolan said. “We can always see something new and different through art, something we often miss in the confines of an ordinary day. Community events such as this are vital and valuable.”

Sleepless Night will take place in four different zones: North Beach, Collins Park, Lincoln Road and South Beach. Free shuttle service will be provided to move among the four performance zones.


If you go

When: Saturday at 6 p.m. through Sunday at 6 a.m.

For more info: visit sleeplessnights.org

November 2, 2011


Kristen Spillane

Senior Sports Writer

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