“When I think back to Smuin’s very first performance, I recall being filled with anticipation and hope about what the future might hold. We were a pick-up company of 10 dancers with a founder who had a dream. Michael Smuin was a visionary who inspired his dancers, entertained his audiences, and blazed a trail by infusing ballet with humor, whimsy, and passion.” – Celia Fushille, Artistic Director
It’s been 25 years since Smuin Contemporary Ballet’s first performance and we are still in awe of the dedication and commitment of our dancers, trustees, staff, devoted patrons, and donors. The Company has continued to survive and thrive with the support of our devoted patrons and donors. As we begin our 25th season, Smuin aspires to honor the past, celebrate the present, and envision the future.
Artistic Director Celia Fushille aims to advance Michael Smuin’s vision of embracing popular culture; since the Company’s inception in 1994, Smuin set out to, “infuse ballet with the rhythm, speed, and syncopation of American popular culture.” A Tony and Emmy award-winning choreographer, Michael Smuin successfully merged the showmanship of Broadway with the training and artistry of classical ballet. After many years, Smuin continues to present ballet in an accessible and entertaining light.
The Company continues to preserve and perform Michael Smuin’s beloved works, and this momentous season marks the revival of many of his treasured ballets. Dance Series 01 revisits one of Smuin’s most iconic ballets: The Eternal Idol (1969), as well as his final creation, Schubert Scherzo (2007). The Christmas Ballet will feature many of Michael Smuin’s most popular works created for the Company’s signature holiday spectacular. With the final program of the season, Dance Series 02, the Company is thrilled to present The Best of Smuin—featuring the return of timeless Michael Smuin favorites such as “Unforgettable,” “Foolish Things,” and the red-hot chair solo “Fever” from Smuin’s inaugural program Dances With Songs. Along with highlights from Carmina Burana, Dancin’ With Gershwin, and Zorro!, this showcase of classics is packed with the ol’ razzle-dazzle, visually stunning effects, and twists that are Smuin’s trademarks.
Smuin is dedicated not only to presenting work by established choreographers, but to nurturing the next generation of talented dancemakers. Three emerging choreographers, all current or former Smuin dancers, will present mainstage premieres this season. Former Choreographer in Residence Amy Seiwert will also return in the spring to create a new work for the Company. Like Fushille, Seiwert’s involvement with Smuin spans decades, and Michael Smuin continuously encouraged her to pursue her passion for choreography. Since 2004, Seiwert has created 11 new ballets for the Company. She received her first commission from Smuin during the Company’s 10th anniversary season, where Michael Smuin acknowledged her work as “a nod to the future” direction of the Company.
Looking ahead, Fushille is committed to building on Smuin’s already diverse repertoire, adding to the 16 original works created for the Company since Michael Smuin’s passing in 2007. During her time at Smuin’s helm, Fushille has invited numerous acclaimed choreographers to create work for the Company that highlights the athleticism, vibrancy, and diverse scope of ballet. With the start of its 25th anniversary season, the future of the Company continues to look bright. This season marks the start of construction on Smuin’s future home in the Potrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco— the highly anticipated prospect of Smuin’s permanent home will soon become reality.
Smuin is a nonprofit organization that presents over 60 shows every year throughout the Bay Area. With ticket sales covering less than 40% of the Company’s budget, our generous donors are essential to the creation, performance, and enjoyment of our art. Off stage Smuin will continue to utilize donor contributions wisely and efficiently— 64% of the Company’s budget goes directly toward dancers’ salaries, wellness, choreographers, music rights, theater rentals, costumes, props, and sets. The rest of the budget breaks down accordingly—staff (14%), marketing (10%), fundraising & events (5%), studio & warehouse rentals (4%), and general administration (3%). We hope you will continue your support of the Company, and ask you to consider making a contribution in honor of this milestone and our next 25 years. To mark Smuin’s silver anniversary, one of the Company’s generous trustees will match each contribution made until October 15, 2018. Donate Now.