Meet Smuin’s New Dancers!

        As a company, Smuin Contemporary Ballet prides itself on presenting bold, new works performed by dancers who are both skilled artists and athletes. This season, Smuin is pleased to welcome five new dancers and two visiting artists to the stage! Ian Buchanan, Maggie Carey, Alysia Chang, Peter Kurta, Tess Lane, Mattia Pallozzi, and Max van der Sterre will be joining the Company for its 25th anniversary celebration.

        Read on to get to know more about the fascinating lives of these up-and-coming Smuin dancers—from their pre-show rituals to their aspirations outside of dance, we’re eager to see what this intriguing group of new dancers will bring to the Company! Curious about Smuin’s new and returning dancers? Be sure to visit our dancer page to learn even more!

Ian Buchanan

What are some of your favorite roles that you performed so far?

Sancho Panza in Ben Stevenson’s Don Quixote and Jiří Kylián’s Forgotten Land.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?

I usually spend time going over choreography on stage, when possible, which helps me get into the flow.

What’s the strangest thing a choreographer has ever asked you to do?

A choreographer once told me to be on the music when there was no music.

What would you be if you weren’t a professional dancer?

I would most likely be doing something involving horticulture–maybe a gardener at a nursery.

Maggie Carey (Visiting Artist)

What are you looking forward to the most this season?

I am really excited to be in a different environment and working alongside a new group of dancers that I have never danced with before. I have also never performed any works by Trey McIntyre, so I am very excited to learn his piece Blue Until June and to work with him in the studio. I adore Etta James, so to be able to dance to her music will be so fulfilling.

What would you be if you weren’t a professional dancer?

I have always loved to paint! Watercolor painting is my favorite way to relax and unwind, it’s almost meditative in a way. I have also always been very interested in photography, both digital and film! Capturing moments that are easily forgotten is very important to me.

What would you say was your biggest onstage “blooper”?

I was performing the role of Clara in The Nutcracker. In Act I, when Drosselmeyer makes the Christmas tree grow really tall as he and Clara are both shrinking, there were a lot of pyrotechnics on stage with us. An entire pile of presents caught on fire, and the fire alarms started going off! The man playing Drosselmeyer started to fan the fire with his cloak to try to get it to go out, but it didn’t help very much. Not until he decided to just throw his cloak on the fire!

What’s something that people would be surprised to find out about you?         

I have a darkroom set at home and I develop my own film in my bathtub. I would love to have a small art/photography studio someday!

Alysia Chang (Visiting Artist)

What initially made you interested in dancing for Smuin?

I grew up going to see Smuin shows and was always so in awe of the theatricality of the dancers. It made me want to be up on stage experiencing what those dancers were feeling.

What are some of your favorite roles that you performed so far?

Some of my favorite roles have always been the roles that are created on me. I feel much more free when I am allowed to help shape the choreography. Ballets where I felt I could experience this include Wandering by Amy Seiwert, Divining by Janice Garrett/Charles Moulton, and portraying the role of Lola Montez alongside one of my childhood idols, Lorena Feijoo, in the San Francisco Opera’s production of Girls of the Golden West.

What’s the strangest thing a choreographer has ever asked you to do?

There are too many to name. I am usually game for most things, but there is always a moment of initial uncertainty when you are told to try something before there is a deeper level of trust. I like developing relationships with choreographers, so that each time you come back together, you can take the work that much farther.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?

I like to do some yoga and meditate to calm my mind down. If my mind is calm, my body will follow suit.

Peter Kurta

When did you first realize you wanted to be a professional dancer?

I first realized I wanted to pursue dance professionally when I transferred to a more serious school in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I was the only boy in my level and I wanted to overcome the odds.  I think that attitude has pushed me to where I am today!

What made you interested in dancing for Smuin?

I saw Smuin perform at the Joyce Theater in New York when I was 10. I’ve been a huge admirer ever since.

What’s the strangest thing a choreographer has ever asked you to do?

Probably a backwards roll into a double scorpion handstand into a tuck landing on my butt. It was very gymnastic, but I had absolutely no gymnastics training when I was young, so I practiced for weeks.

What’s something that people would be surprised to find out about you?

I left home for Canada when I was only 11 to pursue my professional dance training.

Tess Lane

What was your first ever professional role?

Ron Cunningham’s Romeo and Juliet. I think I was a Friend of Juliet and a market person.

What would you say was your biggest onstage “blooper”?

When I was a student I fell out of a big saut de chat, a leap, right in the center of the stage. I bounced back up and ran to my spot, but I was pretty embarrassed.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?

I have a little dance that my childhood friend and I used to do growing up, and I still try and do it before I go on stage. I also have a pre-performance playlist I like to listen to while I warm up or do my makeup.

What would you be if you weren’t a professional dancer?

Definitely something creative. I’ve gotten into costume design over the past few years, so maybe something in costume or fashion design.

Mattia Pallozzi

When did you first realize you wanted to be a professional dancer?

I’ve always loved how I felt while dancing. I believe around the age of 14 I realized that if I worked hard enough I could maybe turn a passion into a professional career.

What made you interested in dancing for Smuin?

[Smuin] has always been a company on my radar. I love the quality and variety of repertoire that the Company performs.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?

I have a little lucky charm that I bring to the theaters whenever I have a show.

What’s something that people would be surprised to find out about you?
I love to bake and illustrate, so whenever I have some time off from dancing (rarely ever!) I try to bake a cake or I’ll get on my iPad and start drawing.

Max van der Sterre

What are some of your favorite roles that you have performed so far?

Stompers in Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room, Jiří Kylián’s Six Dances, Jerome Robbins’s Glass Pieces and Pontus Lidberg’s The Little Match Girl Passion.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a professional dancer?

After watching Nederlands Dans Theatre perform at Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley. That performance changed my life and made me want to be a professional dancer.

What was your first ever professional role?

My first professional role was in Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with New York City Ballet.

What are you looking forward to the most this season?

I am looking forward to working with the talented dancers of Smuin and developing as an artist.

** Written by Eva Faizi, Smuin’s Communications Manager

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Interested in getting a closer look at Smuin? Attend special meet and greet events and pre-show talks held throughout the season! Get to know our all our dancers, both on and off stage, by purchasing tickets to Smuin’s 2018/19 season.

2018-10-18T14:04:30+00:00

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