Smuin celebrates its silver anniversary this season! The Company, established in 1994, began as a pick-up company of 10 dancers and has blossomed into the thriving voice in Bay Area dance that it is today. For over 10 years Celia Fushille has enriched the Company’s impressive repertoire with contemporary choreographic voices, commissioned world premieres, and collaborated with innovative choreographers from around the world. The inspiration behind the 25th season’s programming, Fushille said is “to celebrate our founder, his energy,” and enthusiasm. For Smuin’s 25th anniversary, the Company pays tribute to the past while looking forward to a bright and exciting future.
Dance Series 01 features some of Smuin’s most memorable works. Revisit Michael Smuin’s beloved masterpiece The Eternal Idol, as well as his final creation for the Company, Schubert Scherzo. Smuin’s romantic pas de deux, The Eternal Idol, was initially created for famed American Ballet Theatre dancers Cynthia Gregory and Ivan Nagy in 1969. The choreographer found inspiration in Auguste Rodin’s sculptures of couples locked in loving embraces, and brought the artwork to life through the medium of dance. The Company is pleased to revive Schubert Scherzo, a work last performed at the Joyce Theater in New York during its 2007/08 season. This lively ensemble piece for five couples, set to Franz Schubert’s Symphony in C Major, was called “a clear statement of [Smuin’s] legacy, at its best” by The New York Times.
Get a glimpse of the future of contemporary ballet with three mainstage premieres from Company dancers Nicole Haskins, Ben Needham-Wood, and former dancer Rex Wheeler. Each emerging choreographer will be presenting works initially workshopped in Smuin’s Choreography Showcases. Nicole Haskins’ Merely Players is an uplifting, pop-inspired creation, showcasing contemporary ballet in a way that is both energetic and sensitive. Rex Wheeler’s Sinfonietta, set to Tchaikovsky’s Sinfonietta for String Orchestra, is a spritely take on the classical ballet idiom. Ben Needham-Wood’s Echo tells the story of Echo and Narcissus from Ovid’s Metamorphosis in a wistful melding of mythology with contemporary dance.
End the evening with Blue Until June, Trey McIntyre’s sultry tribute to Etta James. The piece delves into the nuances of relationships, shown in a tumultuous and passionate light against the backdrop of Etta James’ classic songs At Last, Fool That I Am, and more. Blue Until June (2000) is McIntyre’s fourth work to be performed by Smuin; the Company welcomes the return of this prolific choreographer for Dance Series 01.
Light up your holidays with Smuin’s beloved yuletide tradition, The Christmas Ballet. From classical to cool and contemporary, lift your spirits with two inspiring acts filled with a stunning and original array of ballet, tap, and jazz. From Smuin favorites like Ave Maria, Santa Baby, and Drummer Boy, to brand new additions, the Company’s holiday program has something for everyone! This year’s edition will feature new pieces commemorating the Company’s 25th anniversary season alongside classic Smuin favorites.
Return to Smuin’s roots with highlights from Michael Smuin’s vast creative archive in Dance Series 02. Entertaining, imaginative, and full of fun, some of Smuin’s most beloved works return with The Best of Smuin! As the title implies, the program will include “a look back at the best of Michael [Smuin’s] work.” With a crop of five new dancers joining the Company this season, Fushille plans to base the specifics of the program and its selections on what suits the artists best. Fall in love all over again with classic numbers like Unforgettable and Fever from Dances With Songs. Excerpts from Dancin’ with Gershwin and Frankie and Johnny will return to the stage in what’s sure to be a colorful and entertaining feast for the eyes.
In a nod to the future of contemporary ballet, Amy Seiwert, one of Smuin’s most illustrious alumni, returns to present a world premiere to close Smuin’s 25th anniversary celebration. Since 2004, Seiwert has choreographed 11 new works for the Company, each with the signature flair unique to her ballets. As newly appointed artistic director of Sacramento Ballet, Seiwert promises to bring a fresh breath of creative air to Smuin’s repertory.
“We hope you’ll join us in celebrating 25 incredible years of Smuin, and looking ahead to the future of contemporary ballet,” said Fushille. Despite its founder’s passing in 2007, Smuin Contemporary Ballet has continued to grow and thrive over the past 25 years, carrying on Michael Smuin’s rich legacy while contributing new, intriguing additions to the Company’s repertoire. “This season we’re really celebrating our founder,” the Artistic Director affirmed. “I feel like it’s important in this 25th year to really look at where we’ve been; and then, with the showcase pieces and Amy Seiwert’s premiere, where we’re going.” The Company looks forward to celebrating what is sure to be a very memorable and exciting season.