Smuin Contemporary Ballet returns to The Joyce Theater with a triple bill of original commissions each making their New York premiere. Val Caniparoli’s Tutto Eccetto il Lavandino (2014), is “an exacting neoclassical ballet that shows off the company’s chops” (San Francisco Chronicle). Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Tupelo Tornado (2024) takes inspiration from the life and lore of Elvis Presley in an eclectic portrait of the iconic idol’s clashes with fame. Closing the program is Renaissance (2019), a stirring work by Smuin’s incoming Artistic Director Amy Seiwert that honors the power of collective action, with music by the Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble.

Calendar for Smuin at the Joyce

Val Caniparoli

Val Caniparoli

Choreographer, Tutto Eccetto il Lavandino

Val Caniparoli’s versatility has made him one of the most sought-after American choreographers internationally. He is most closely associated with San Francisco Ballet, his artistic home for more than 50 years, where he also served as Resident Choreographer and Ballet Master. Caniparoli has contributed to the repertoires of more than 60 companies, including Joffrey Ballet, Finnish National Ballet, Royal New Zealand Ballet, Scottish Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, Smuin Ballet, Boston Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Alberta Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Northern Ballet Theatre, Pennsylvania Ballet, Alberta Ballet, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Ballet West (resident choreographer 1993-97), Washington Ballet, Israel Ballet, Richmond Ballet, Louisville Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Singapore Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, State Theatre Ballet of South Africa, and Tulsa Ballet (resident choreographer 2001-06). He has also choreographed for the Chicago Lyric Opera, San Francisco Opera, and The Metropolitan Opera and several occasions with the San Francisco Symphony. Choreography for the esteemed American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.), include A Christmas CarolA Doll’s House, A Little Night Music, Arcadia, and the creation, with Carey Perloff, of a new movement-theater piece, Tosca Cafe. One of his most popular ballets, Lambarena, was nominated for the Prix Benois de la Danse in 1997 for Best Choreography and was also featured on Sesame Street. In 2015, Caniparoli co-choreographed, with Helgi Tomasson, a commercial for the 50th Anniversary Super Bowl with dancers from San Francisco Ballet.

Caniparoli’s full evening-length ballets include Lady of the Camellias, five different productions of The Nutcracker for Royal New Zealand Ballet, Louisville Ballet, Grand Rapids Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet and Tulsa Ballet (co-created with Ma Cong), Jekyll & Hyde for Finnish National Ballet and Val Caniparoli’s, A Cinderella Story choreographed to music of Richard Rodgers for Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

Born in Renton, Washington, Caniparoli opted for a professional dance career after studying music and theatre at Washington State University. He received a Ford Foundation Scholarship to attend San Francisco Ballet School. He performed with San Francisco Opera Ballet before joining San Francisco Ballet in 1973, where he continues to perform as a Principal Character Dancer

Amy Seiwert

Amy Seiwert

Choreographer, Renaissance

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.

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