On March 15th, Artistic Director Celia Fushille took the stage to welcome guests to our 21st annual Gala and announce that Smuin Ballet has finally found a home in San Francisco! We will be leasing a building that will for the first time in the Company’s history allow dancers and staff to be under one roof. The new space is located in Potrero Hill at 1830 17th Street near Rhode Island, and will house dance classes and company rehearsal and studios, as well as offices for the administration staff.
This year’s gala, co-chaired by Patti and Jerry Hume and Athena and John Konstin, occurred at the San Francisco Design Center’s Galleria. Patrons socialized around the exquisitely decorated event space and relished in the opportunity to mingle with the artists of Smuin Ballet. The female dancers were glamorously clad in jewels by Bulgari, the event’s exclusive gift sponsor.
Dinner was impressively catered by McCalls with the wine for the evening generously donated by Grgich Hills Estate. Guests were also treated to a spectacular performance featuring the Smuin Ballet dancers. The program consisted of entertaining and evocative works by founder Michael Smuin, Choreographer in Residence Amy Seiwert, company dancer Ben Needham-Wood, and former company dancer, now Smuin Ballet’s Communications Manager, Darren Anderson.
Guests enjoyed a lively auction hosted by auctioneer Michael Tate. Prizes included the Ultimate SF Giant’s Package and a Baker’s Dozen Dining experience, which consisted of dinner for two at 13 exclusive Bay Area restaurants such as Prospect, Boulevard, Jardinière, and AQ. There were also glamorous vacation destinations, behind-the-scenes and a walk-on role with Smuin Ballet, and an afternoon of football with John Madden where winners watch up to nine NFL games simultaneously at John’s Goal Line Productions Studio.
Some of the evening’s eminent guests included former Mayor of San Francisco Willie Brown, Board of Supervisors President London Breed, San Francisco Supervisor David Chiu, State Senator Mark Leno, San Francisco Giants announcer Renel Brooks-Moon, and San Francisco’s beloved clothing icon Wilkes Bashford.
This year’s gala raised a record breaking $388,000, which will go towards maintaining the quality of our renowned productions which we perform around the Bay Area and on tour.
Smuin Ballet will be opening the Spring season in San Francisco with the Unlaced Dance Series May 8 – June 6 in San Francisco, Mountain View, Walnut Creek, and Carmel. The program includes the return of Michal Smuin’s breathtaking Romeo and Juliet Balcony Pas de Deux, Smuin’s enchanting Hearts Suite, Helen Pickett’s living kaleidoscope Petal, and a cutting edge world premiere by the creator of Cold Virtues, Adam Hougland.
Information on the Unlaced program can be found here
** Written by Darren Anderson