Despite losing its visionary founder, the Company has not lacked for vision. Michael was particularly committed to presenting world premieres, as well as work that pushed the boundaries of what could be defined as ballet. For Smuin’s 10th anniversary in 2004, Michael commissioned a work from then-dancer Amy Seiwert. Following her retirement, Fushille named her Choreographer in Residence, a position she held through 2018. Now, 20 years after she joined the Company as a dancer in 1999, Seiwert returns to create her 13th work for Smuin.
Seiwert spent a decade as Choreographer in Residence, which allowed her to forge bonds with the Company dancers. “To be back in the studio with them is like breathing— we know each other’s styles really well,” Seiwert said. Like Michael before her, ballet technique is at the heart of Seiwert’s choreography, which toes the line between ballet and contemporary dance. Stylistically though, Michael and Seiwert’s work is very different. Someone once asked Seiwert if she had “ever considered being more like Michael.” Later recounting this to Michael, his response was, “Does she know you’re doing really well just being yourself?”
At the quarter-century mark, Smuin is fully established in the Bay Area. The Company is, at heart, the same one Michael founded in 1994. The words Smuin seeks to represent—entertaining, whimsical, evocative, original, innovative, creative—are all words that applied to Michael as well. Thank you for being a part of Michael’s venture. It’s been a wonderful ride so far, and there’s a bright future ahead. Cheers to 25!