Michael Smuin’s eponymous company (née Smuin Ballets/SF) has had many glitzy and glamorous nights in its 25 year history. From marking the Company’s milestones to commemorating retiring dancers, Smuin’s annual gala has become a highly-anticipated event of the season. The Company’s first gala, orchestrated by Michael Smuin, took place in 1997. Since then, Smuin Contemporary Ballet has continued to celebrate its successes while raising funds for the season ahead with this dazzling evening of dinner and dancing. Traditionally, the black tie event has included both a one-night-only performance featuring Smuin dancers and a live auction, undoubtedly the biggest fundraiser of the Company’s season.

        Over the years, the gala has welcomed countless esteemed guests, including filmmaker George Lucas, singer Linda Ronstadt, Olympic figure skater Brian Boitano, former Mayor Willie Brown, current San Francisco Mayor London Breed, and local cultural icons like the late clothier Wilkes Bashford, performer Geoff Hoyle, the “Voice of the Giants” Renel Brooks-Moon, and Giants announcer Mike Krukow. In 2006, the gala marked the retirement of then-dancer, now Artistic Director, Celia Fushille. The evening began with a tribute performance at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, which included Michael Smuin’s Fly Me to the Moon and other notable roles created for Fushille. Each gala since the Company’s inception has served to acknowledge the accomplishments of the season, while honoring the past and raising funds for Smuin’s future successes.

        The finishing touches of the evening are often made possible by generous in-kind donations and sponsorships from companies such as Napa Valley’s Grgich Hills Estate, Fossil, BVLGARI, and Inspirato. In recent years, the Company has unveiled its future plans at each gala, which have included both a new identity and plans for a permanent home to house both dancers and operations under one roof.

        As the Company looks forward to the future, we celebrate the past 25 successful years of bringing entertaining and evocative dance to the Bay Area with our upcoming Silver Celebration gala on March 3! Journey through the highlights of Smuin galas through the years in the photos included. 

We hope to see many of you at Smuin’s 25th anniversary gala as we raise funds to continue bringing the joy of contemporary ballet to the Bay Area and beyond. For more information, click here.

** Written by Eva Faizi, Smuin’s Communications Manager