May 3 - May 31

Dance Series 2

Tupelo Tornado, a World Premiere by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa

Broken Open, by Amy Seiwert – Composer/Cellist Julia Kent will play live May 3-5

Untwine, by Brennan Wall

Starshadows, by Michael Smuin


May 3-12, San Francisco – Composer/Cellist Julia Kent will play live May 3-5

May 16-19, Mountain View

May 24-25, Walnut Creek

May 30-31, Carmel

Dance Series 2 celebrates where we’ve been and where we’re going. Annabelle Lopez Ochoa takes inspiration from the life of Elvis in Tupelo Tornado, her first creation for Smuin. Amy Seiwert’s Broken Open, which the San Francisco Chronicle called “fresh, challenging, and relevant” at its 2015 premiere, returns, as well as Smuin Artist Brennan Wall’s Untwine, with its inventive and swirling lifts. Michael Smuin’s Starshadows, a dreamy piece for three couples to a Ravel score and one of his earliest works for the Company, completes the program.

The performance runtime is approximately 2 hours.

View the theater program View casting

Learn More!

Click here for insights into Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Tupelo Tornado

Click here for insights into Amy Seiwert’s Broken Open



Annabelle Lopez Ochoa

Annabelle Lopez Ochoa

Choreographer, Tupelo Tornado

The Belgian-Colombian Annabelle Lopez Ochoa is an award-winning and sought-after choreographer that has created new works for more than 70 dance companies around the world such as the Dutch National Ballet, English National Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, West Australian Ballet, Ballet Nacional de Cuba, San Francisco Ballet, New York City Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, among many others.

After a 12-years long dance career, where she danced in various European companies such as the Scapino Ballet, she decides in 2003 to focus her energies solely on choreography. In that same year she is hailed “rising star of the Dutch dance scene” (NRC newspaper) and only 7 years later the Temecula Performing Arts Examiner wrote; ”Ochoa is truly a masterful choreographer with an edge for what dance can and should be in this constantly changing industry”.

A versatile choreographer, Lopez Ochoa creates within the dance field but also for theatre, opera, musical theatre. Her wide-ranging body of work includes short conceptual pieces, full-length narrative ballets, and dance films.

In 2019, Annabelle became the recipient of the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award as well as the program director of the Jacob’s Pillow Contemporary Ballet Summer Course.

This season Annabelle will create her 10th narrative ballet “Coco Chanel, the life of a fashion icon” for the Hong Kong Ballet.

Photo by Julio Cesar Herrera

Amy Seiwert

Amy Seiwert

Choreographer, Broken Open

Amy Seiwert enjoyed a nineteen-year performing career dancing with Smuin, Los Angeles Chamber, and Sacramento Ballets. As a dancer with Smuin, she became involved with the “Protégé Program,” where Michael Smuin was her mentor. She retired as a dancer from Smuin in 2008. That same year, Celia Fushille named her Choreographer in Residence, a position she held for a decade. She is the recipient of numerous choreographic awards, including a “Goldie” award from the San Francisco Bay Guardian in 2010, which described Seiwert as the Bay Area’s most original dance thinker, “taking what some consider a dead language and using it with a 21st-century lingo to tell us something about who we are.” 

In 2017 Seiwert’s first full-evening work, “Wandering,” set to Schubert’s Winterreise, was commissioned by the Joyce Theater in New York. The NEA and Kennedy Center have also supported Seiwert’s works. A former Artist in Residence at ODC Theater, she has also served on the Artist Faculty for Jacob’s Pillow’s Contemporary Ballet program. Her creations are in the repertory of Smuin, ODC/Dance, Ballet Austin, BalletX, Opera Parallèle, AXIS Dance, Oakland Ballet, and others. She is honored to be rejoining the artistic team of Smuin Ballet.

Michael Smuin

Michael Smuin

Choreographer, Starshadows

“In 1994, Michael Smuin set out to “infuse ballet with the rhythm, speed, and syncopation of American popular culture.”

In 1994, Michael Smuin set out to “infuse ballet with the rhythm, speed, and syncopation of American popular culture,” and Smuin Contemporary Ballet (née Smuin Ballets/SF, or more recently, Smuin Ballet) was born. Michael Smuin’s vision lives on following his sudden passing in 2007, and the Company continues to push the boundaries of contemporary ballet within a distinctly modern style, combining classical ballet training, technique, and artistry with uncommon physicality and expression.

Company Founder Michael Smuin was born on October 13, 1938, in Missoula, Montana. Smuin studied tap dancing as a child and became instantly enamoured with ballet when his mother took him to see the Ballet Russe on tour at the University of Montana. At the age of 15, Smuin moved to Salt Lake City to study dance on scholarship at the University of Utah. A few years later, San Francisco Ballet director Lew Christensen recruited Smuin for San Francisco Ballet, where he danced for six years. Smuin took a leave of absence from the company in 1962 to relocate to New York, where he performed in Bob Fosse’s Little Me on Broadway. During this time, Smuin created a nightclub act with his then-wife and fellow dancer Paula Tracy. Their “well-disguised ballet,” as Smuin would call it, toured widely and was billed alongside such entertainers as Louis Armstrong, Peggy Lee, and Frank Sinatra. The act later appeared on television on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Hollywood Palace, and Bell Telephone Hour, among others. Smuin joined American Ballet Theatre in 1965, where he choreographed Pulcinella Variations, The Catherine Wheel, Eternal Idol and several other pieces for the company before returning to San Francisco in 1973. During his years in New York he also worked with Leonard Bernstein, choreographing Candide.

Smuin spent 12 years as a choreographer and co-director of San Francisco Ballet, a period that coincided with his direction of Sophisticated Ladies on Broadway. Smuin served as Artistic Director of San Francisco Ballet until 1985, and was instrumental in raising the company’s profile in the international arts community. His ventures included serving as co-chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts dance panel (1979-1981), staging a performance at the White House, and presenting his Romeo and Juliet and his Emmy Award-winning feature A Song for Dead Warriors for PBS’s Dance in America program. In 1988, Smuin received both a Tony and a Drama Desk Award for his choreography for Anything Goes.

Outside of ballet and Broadway, Smuin choreographed several Francis Ford Coppola films, some of which include Rumble Fish, The Cotton Club and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. His choreography can also be seen in such films as A Walk in the Clouds, The Joy Luck Club, The Fantastiks, and Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (Special Edition).

Michael Smuin’s ballets are currently in the repertories of major dance companies around the country. Since founding Smuin Contemporary American Ballet in 1994, he created 40 new works for his company alone. His creations range from classical, as seen in his acclaimed September 11th tribute, Stabat Mater (2002), and Carmina Burana (1997), to the innovative Bluegrass/Slyde with its revolving-pole set, to one-act story ballets like Pinocchio (1999) and  Zorro (2003). Many of Smuin’s ballet’s boast a touch of Broadway flair, such as the wildly popular Dancin’ With Gershwin (2001) and Fly Me to the Moon (2004).

Smuin passed away suddenly on April 23, 2007, surrounded by his dancers while teaching company class. His vision, style, and energy remain with the Company to this day.

Brennan Wall

Brennan Wall

Choreographer, Untwine

Brennan Wall, originally from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, studied at Los Angeles Ballet Academy. She danced with Silicon Valley Ballet (previously Ballet San Jose) as a trainee before joining The New Ballet’s Studio Company. In 2017, Wall joined Ballet de Monterrey under director José Manuel Carreño. She performed in Luis Serrano’s La Bayadere, Swan Lake, and Don Quijote, and danced soloist roles in The Nutcracker, Alberto Méndez’s Phantom of the Opera, and Diego Landin’s Shorthand of Emotion. Wall joined Smuin in 2019.

Meet The Artist

Julia Kent

Julia Kent

Composer/Cellist, Broken Open

Cellist and composer Julia Kent was born in Vancouver, Canada, and lives in New York City. She makes music using layered and processed cello, electronics, and found sounds, creating haunting and evocative soundscapes that range from hushed intimacy to cinematic expansiveness. She has released five solo records, the most recent being Temporal on UK label Leaf, and has toured throughout North America and Europe, including appearances at Primavera Sound, Mutek Montreal, Meltdown, and Unsound.

She also composes for film, television, theatre, and dance, including award-winning film scores and music for productions at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, BAM Fishman Space in New York City, Ballett Nationaltheater Mannheim, and Balletto Teatro di Torino.


The Leaf Label