Smuin Ballet’s The Christmas Ballet just concluded at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, following a fantastic run at the Lesher Center in Walnut Creek and the Sunset Center in Carmel. An annual yuletide treat, The Christmas Ballet is full of dance offerings both classical and cool. New to The Christmas Ballet this year are two world premieres: “Home for the Holidays,” a delightful romp by Choreographer-in Residence Amy Seiwert, and “Joy to the World,” an energetic ensemble closing to Act I by Company member Nicole Haskins.
Paul Freeman of the Palo Alto Daily News enjoyed Val Caniparoli’s “Jingle Bells Mambo,” calling it an “amusing” work. Freeman was particularly impressed by Company member Weston Krukow in “Palestrina,” a “demanding” piece where Krukow “whirls Erin Yarbrough-Powell in arabesques, lifts her over his head, then catches her as she leaps.”
Leigh Donlan of Ballet to the People calls The Christmas Ballet a unique “brand of holiday cheer within a delightful framework of contrasts.” Continually “refashioned” with new works, The Christmas Ballet offers Donlan both classical and “rambunctious” fare. Mary Ellen Hunt of SF Gate praised The Christmas Ballet, calling it a “toe-tapping holiday cavalcade of ballet bonbons that ranges from serenely classical to sassy jazz.”
Allan Ulrich of the San Francisco Chronicle called Company member Nicole Haskins’ “Joy to the World” a “company outing” full of “exuberant classical symmetries.” Entranced by Company dancer Susan Roemer, he noted: “You can’t take your eyes off of her in the Bob Fosse-style number set to Duke Ellington’s version of the sugar plum variation.” He also commented on Choreographer-in-Residence Amy Seiwert’s “Home for the Holidays,” terming it an “amiable setting” of Perry Como’s classic featuring “a dollop of sentiment” for Christmas. Overall: “there’s no better way to express the joy of the season” than The Christmas Ballet!
Ann Murphy of the Eureka Times Standard described Haskins’ “Joy to the World” as a “bounding, colorful” work and Seiwert’s “Home for the Holidays” a “charming family diorama, sweet without being treacly.” Murphy praised Company member Erica Felsch for her “wonderfully sultry” performance in the Smuin Ballet classic “Santa Baby,” noting the work is “so redolent of the late ‘50s it could be considered historical pop art.”
Barbara Rose Shuler of the Monterey Herald called “Santa Baby” a “sizzlingly delightful… signature feather boa Christmas number,” danced by Company members Erica Felsch and Susan Roemer. Shuler enjoyed the “fresh and sassy dance entertainment” of The Christmas Ballet, saying: “If you haven’t experienced Smuin yet, you are in for a treat, a great way to begin the holiday revelry.”
After all, as Hunt noted, it would be a “blue Christmas without Michael Smuin’s The Christmas Ballet!” Don’t miss what Hunt calls a longtime “holiday tradition—complete with dazzling tap numbers, a 40-foot feather boa and falling snowflakes!”
The Christmas Ballet continues its magic in venues throughout the Bay Area from December 17-27. Learn more and order tickets.