Smuin Ballet’s Dance Series One opened at the Lesher Center in Walnut Creek this past weekend. Featuring the world premiere of Choreographer-In-Residence Amy Seiwert’s Broken Open, the return of Michael Smuin’s Bouquet and Ma Cong’s French Twist, and Company member Ben Needham-Wood’s Maslow, the program was packed with a variety of offerings.
Reviewer Allan Ulrich of the San Francisco Chronicle was entranced by Amy Seiwert’s Broken Open, describing it as “fresh, challenging and relevant;” overall “a superb work” full of “kinetic punctuation.” He also noted new Company members Rachel Furst and Rex Wheeler, calling them “fascinating” and “zest[y], welcoming every risky encounter.”
Broken Open impressed Ann Murphy of the Mercury News. Commenting on Seiwert’s “keen craftsmanship,” Murphy described sequences of couples who “explode across the stage in razor sharp turns,” accompanied by “a silky mix of driving strings and bass heartbeats, provided by composer and cellist Julia Kent.”
French Twist conjured “punchy athleticism and pop sensuality” for Murphy; full of “devilish couplings” such as Company members Susan Roemer and Weston Krukow, whom Murphy noted gave French Twist a “keen edge.” Ulrich recalls the popularity of French Twist upon its 2010 premiere with Smuin Ballet, full of “constant unisons and bouncy Hugues Le bars scores” that remain an audience favorite.
Leslie Katz of the San Francisco Examiner noted Ben Needham-Wood’s Maslow, recognizing Company member Robert Kretz as well as the “spirited ensemble” moving with the “increasingly jazzy contemporary score.” Katz enjoyed Terez Dean’s performance as Kretz’s “shadow, or alter ego of sorts,” calling her “snazzy” and “engaging.”
As Ulrich noted: “Smuin Ballet is back in action!” Don’t miss Dance Series One—tickets are available now for performances in Mountain View and San Francisco!
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Dancers: Robert Kretz and Erin Yarbrough-Powell; Johnathan Powell, Mengjun Chen, Dustin James and Erin Yarbrough-Powell. Images: Chris Hardy.