Smuin dancers recently returned from a whirlwind tour of Big Sky country, where they performed a specially curated program for a sold-out audience in Hamilton, Montana. Since its inception, the Company has returned numerous times to perform near Missoula, Montana, home and birthplace of Company Founder Michael Smuin.
While the artistic and production staff made their way north during the first weeks of Spring, they were met with cold temperatures and copious amounts of snow after crossing the Rockies. The snowy backdrop served as an inspirational setting for the first leg of the weekend tour, which involved traveling from Missoula to Hamilton, before settling in at their designated cabins at the Stock Farm Club. The scenic accommodations were surrounded by hiking trails, a golf course, and an equestrian centre. Elk and deer were often seen in the area, and the sprinkling of snow during the Company’s visit felt more magical than an inclement interruption.
On the Friday evening preceding the performance, dancer Nicole Haskins ventured out to the Ballet Bitterroot Dance Academy in Hamilton, where she taught a master class for local ballet students. When touring, the Company enjoys teaching classes in each new city; this outreach opportunity allows our dancers to interact with the next generation of artists, often answering questions on their experiences as professional dancers and sharing their love of the art. Educational outreach programs, like Smuin’s master classes, are often made possible by local donors and grants that serve to subsidize costs of studio rentals and travel.
Smuin’s Montana tour was presented by the Bitterroot Performing Arts Council, which brings dance programs to the local community every other season. The evening’s program consisted of a mixed bill featuring Michael Smuin classics The Eternal Idol and Fly me to the Moon, alongside Trey McIntyre’s Blue Until June and Rex Wheeler’s Sinfonietta, both of which were featured in this season’s Dance Series 01. Following the warm reception and performance, the dancers ventured out into the lobby of the Bitterroot Performing Arts Center for a meet and greet with the audience. The performance itself had been sold out for months in advance, and the 700-seat theater was packed with eager patrons of all ages, some of whom had traveled a considerable distance to attend the program.
The Company’s last tour to Montana commemorated its 20th anniversary season, and this return trip to Smuin’s roots honored the company founder’s memory at the tail end of its 25th season. We hope to return to perform in the Land of the Shining Mountains again very soon.
Read more about our latest tour to Montana in this KPVI article!