Greetings of the season!

Here at Smuin, preparing our holiday program is always a good reminder of the many reasons we have to be grateful. At the top of that list is our delight in having you join us in the theater!

Smuin’s The Christmas Ballet has become a holiday tradition for many. Whether this is your first time seeing The Christmas Ballet or you’ve seen all 28 editions, we hope you will revel in the romance, beauty, and humor that have been hallmarks since Michael Smuin’s 1995 production opened.

In addition to favorite dances from years past, we have two premieres to unwrap for you. In Act I, Smuin alumna Nicole Haskins returns to choreograph a soulful pas de deux that is a prayer for Ukraine. Amy Seiwert’s new ensemble piece in Act II is a lively holiday romp. From pristine classical ballet to jazz and tap set to holiday classics, we hope The Christmas Ballet is just what you’ve wished for this season.

From all of us at Smuin, we wish you a joyous season and a new year filled with good health and every blessing.

Enjoy the performance!

Celia Fushille


At this time, masks are strongly encouraged for audience members at all performances of Smuin’s The Christmas Ballet. Proof of vaccination is not required for these performances.

2022 Edition


Michael Smuin


Artistic Director

Celia Fushille


Managing Director

Lori Laqua


Company Manager & Wardrobe

Jo Ellen Arntz


Ballet Master & Education Program Director

Amy London


Production Director

Kathryn T. Graham


Costume Design

Sandra Woodall


Lighting Design

Michael Oesch


Scenic Design

Douglas Schmidt



Celia Fushille Artistic Director

Lori Laqua Managing Director

Jo Ellen Arntz Company Manager & Wardrobe

Amy London Ballet Master & Education Program Director

Alicia Tos Development Director

Coral Bell Development Operations Manager

Cassandra Brighter Marketing Director

Maggie Carey Digital Marketing Assistant

Claire Buehler  Digital Marketing Assistant

Aja De Coudreaux Patron Services Manager

Jason Narin Finance Associate

Ellen Gaintner Special Projects Manager

Benjamin Warner Community Engagement Manager

Kathryn T Graham Production Director 

Michael Oesch Lighting Director

Taylor Ryan Rivers Technical Director

Kay Park Sound & AV Director

Alex Wolfthal Stage Manager

Vincent Avery Wardrobe Assistant

Carla Befera & Company Publicist

Chris Hardy Photography

Wuthmann Digital Website



Brandon Alexander

Tessa Barbour

Ian Buchanan

Claire Buehler

Anthony Cannarella

Maggie Carey

Mengjun Chen

Ricardo Dyer

Cassidy Isaacson

Tess Lane

Marc LaPierre

Terez Dean Orr

Lauren Pschirrer

Alison Ramoran

Yuri Rogers

João Sampaio

Brennan Wall


Board of Trustees

Madeleine Boshart President

Trisha Mount Vice President

Karen D. Kadushin Secretary

Hal Louchheim Treasurer

Lee D. Baxter

Bruce Braden

Robert Challey

Celia Fushille

John Konstin

Linda Membreño, M.D.

John Schlag

Randy Soso

Susie Stitt


Patti Hume Founding President

Vicki Fleishhacker

Robert Greenwood

Edie Kirkwood

John Murphy

Sue Steinberg

Allie Weissman (In Memoriam)


With Gratitude

Smuin is sponsored in part by San Francisco Grants for the Arts. Smuin also extends deep appreciation to the following for their generosity and support:

San Francisco Chronicle Logotype


All choreography by Michael Smuin unless otherwise noted.


Music: J.S. Bach
Recording: Gachinger Kantorei Stuttgart, Bach-Collegium Stuttgart;
Helmuth Rilling, Cond.


Music: Traditional Czech
Recording: Amor Artis Chamber Choir; Johannes Somary, Cond.

Sponsored by Loreli Trippel


Choreography: Nicole Haskins
Music: Traditional
Recording: James Galway


(World Premiere)
Choreography: Nicole Haskins
Music: Prayer for Ukraine by Oleksandr Konysky and Mykola Lysenko
Recording: Chanticleer

Sponsored by Dennis & Jan Ruby


Choreography: Tessa Barbour
Music: Traditional English
Recording: 101 Strings Orchestra


Music: Traditional French
Recording: Taverner Consort, Choir and Players; Andrew Parrott, Dir.


Choreography: Rex Wheeler
Music: Antonio Vivaldi (from Gloria in D Major)
Recording: Choir of King’s College, Cambridge and the Academy of Ancient Music, Stephen Cleobury, Cond.


Music: G.F. Handel (from Messiah)
Recording: Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra; Nicolas McGegan, Cond.


Music: Franz Schubert
Recording: Nana Mouskouri

Sponsored by Friends of Smuin, in memory of Bud & Georgia Taglio


Choreography: Jane Rehm
Music: Traditional
Recording: Canadian Brass


Music: Traditional Spanish
Recording: Placido Domingo


Music: Traditional English
Recording: The Waverly Consort; Michael Jaffee, Dir.

Sponsored by Dan & Allyn Carl


Music: Traditional Jewish
Recording: Moscow Ensemble of Jewish Music; Victor Kenzon, Dir.

Sponsored by Paul G. Smith & Gail Erwin


Music: Traditional Jewish
Recording: Moscow Ensemble of Jewish Music; Victor Kenzon, Dir.


Choreography: Nicole Haskins
Music: Traditional English
Recording: Philadelphia Orchestra; Eugene Ormandy, Dir.



All choreography by Michael Smuin unless otherwise noted.


Music: Richard Sherman & Joe Van Winkle
Recording: Louis Armstrong with Benny Carter’s Orchestra


Music: Katherine K. Davis, Henry Onorati & Harry Simeone
Recording: Lou Rawls


Choreography: Amy Seiwert
Music & Recording: Harry Connick Jr.


Music: Joan Javits, Phil Springer, Tony Springer
Recording: Eartha Kitt

In memory of Kevin McCoy


Music: Frank Loesser
Recording: Ray Charles & Betty Carter


Music & Recording: Benny Martin

Sponsored by Louise Gould


Music & Recording: Willie Nelson

Sponsored by Marcia McConnell


Choreography: Erica Felsch
Music: Robert Wells & Mel Tormé
Recording: Nat King Cole


Choreography: Tessa Barbour
Music: Meredith Willson
Recording: Johnny Mathis


Choreography: Amy Seiwert
Music: Traditional English Christmas Carol
Recording: Straight No Chaser

Sponsored by Gil & Ann Berkeley


Music & Recording: The Chieftains

Sponsored by Karen Kadushin


Music & Recording: The Chieftains


Music: Nicandro Castillo
Recording: Linda Ronstadt


Choreography: Rex Wheeler
Music: Johnny Marks
Recording: Brenda Lee

Sponsored by Dennis & Jan Ruby


Music: Irving Berlin
Recording: Bing Crosby
with Ken Darby Singers & John Scott Trotter and his Orchestra

Sponsored by Gregory & Joanne Giffra

    Special thanks to Andrew Etherington, our season snow sponsor.     


Performance casting is announced the day before each show and may change by venue.

December 14-24, 2022: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard Street, San Francisco

Casting for December 20, 2022: LGBTQ+ Night

View online  |  Print at home.

Past Performances

Casting for San Francisco December 14-18 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

View online  |  Print at home.

Casting for Carmel December 9-10 2022 at Sunset Center

November 19-20, 2022: Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek

Casting for Walnut Creek: click to open, download or print

December 1-4, 2022: Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro Street, Mountain View

Casting for Mountain View: click to open, download or print.


Datebook Proudly Supports Smuin Ballet

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Artist Profiles

Brandon Alexander

Brandon Alexander

BRANDON ALEXANDER, originally from Houston, Texas, received his training with Lori Amare and Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy. He has danced with the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Rochester City Ballet, Teater Vanemuine Ballet in Estonia, and Ballet Hagen in Germany. During his career he has danced works by Cayetano Soto, Itzik Galili, Riccardo De Nigris, Sir Frederick Ashton, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Giorgio Madia, Jamey Leverett, and Silas Stubbs among others. Alexander joined Smuin in 2020.

Meet the Artist

Tessa Barbour

Tessa Barbour

TESSA BARBOUR, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, trained at Alwin School of the Dance before studying abroad in Warrington, England on a scholarship awarded to her at the Cecchetti International Competition. She has danced with New Mexico Ballet, Connecticut Ballet, and San Diego Ballet. Her favorite past performances include Man in Black by James Kudelka and Indigo by Stanton Welch. Since joining Smuin in 2016, Barbour has performed works by Val Caniparoli, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Trey McIntyre, Helen Pickett, and Amy Seiwert.

Meet The Artist

Ian Buchanan

Ian Buchanan

IAN BUCHANAN hails from Fairfax, California, where he trained with Dance Theatre Seven. He has danced with Houston Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Tulsa Ballet, Rochester City Ballet, and Alberta Ballet. Buchanan has performed works by Jiří Kylián, Stanton Welch, Ma Cong, Ben Stevenson, Wen Wei Wang, Aszure Barton, Jean Grand-Maître, Julia Adam, Denise Clarke, and Leiland Charles. Buchanan joined Smuin in 2018.

Meet The Artist

Maggie Carey

Maggie Carey

MAGGIE CAREY, of Dayton, Ohio, received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance Performance from Butler University, where she performed works by choreographers including George Balanchine, Nacho Duato, and Paul Taylor. Upon graduating, Carey performed as a guest artist with the Dayton Ballet. She spent two years with the Cincinnati Ballet Second Company, performing works by Victoria Morgan, George Balanchine, Ohad Naharin, and working with choreographers such as Garrett Smith, Nicolo Fonte, and Jennifer Archibald. Carey joined Smuin Contemporary Ballet in 2018 and has since performed works by Amy Seiwert, Michael Smuin, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Rex Wheeler, Gina Patterson, and Val Caniparoli.

Meet The Artist

Mengjun Chen

Mengjun Chen

MENGJUN CHEN, a native of Wenzhou, China, trained at the Beijing Dance Academy and Joffrey Ballet Academy of Dance. After receiving his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Beijing Dance Academy, he joined Milwaukee Ballet where he performed major roles in Giselle, Swan Lake, Romeo & Juliet, The Nutcracker, Don Quixote, Cinderella, Dracula and La Boheme. Chen also performed contemporary works by Matthew Neenan, Gabrielle Lamb, Ma Cong, Amy Seiwert and Val Caniparoli. In 2014, he was a finalist in the USA International Ballet Competition. Chen joined Smuin in 2015.

Meet The Artist

Gabrielle Collins

Gabrielle Collins

Gabrielle Collins is from West Hartford, Connecticut and began her pre-professional training at the Hartt School. In 2014, she was a New York City finalist at the Youth America Grand Prix and won the gold medal at the Connecticut Classic for both the senior female and pas de deux categories. From 2014-2017, she danced with Atlanta Ballet II and performed leading roles including Marya in John McFall’s The Nutcracker. Additionally, she had the opportunity to be a guest dancer for The Atlanta Opera’s Romeo and Juliet. Gabrielle is an alumnus of the Ballet Program at Jacob’s Pillow where she was featured in Yury Yanowsky’s World Premiere at the opening gala in 2016. She joined Tulsa Ballet II in 2017 where she appeared in a soloist role in Helen Pickett’s Meðal and in the North American Premiere of Derek Deane’s Strictly Gershwin, among many others. She also performed in works by renowned choreographers such as Ma Cong, Jennifer Archibald and Penny Saunders during her time in Tulsa. In February 2020, Gabrielle performed the title role in Septime Webre’s Carmen with Dayton Ballet. In 2020, Gabrielle joined Cincinnati Ballet under the direction of Victoria Morgan. In Cincinnati, she has performed works including William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, Helen Pickett’s Petal, Stephanie Martinez’ Kiss, Alejandro Cerrudo’s Extremely Close, David Morse’s Our Story, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Written and Forgotten, Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs, Jennifer Archibald’s SIT, “Spring” and “Autumn” in Victoria Morgan’s Cinderella, Act III Pas de deux from Don Quixote, and Cathy Marston’s Moving, Still, among many others. Gabrielle is thrilled to continue her career with Smuin Ballet.

Ricardo Dyer

Ricardo Dyer

RICARDO DYER is a native of Panama based out of New York City. In 2011, he graduated from the dance department at The Governors School for the Arts in Norfolk, Virginia. He earned a degree in Dance Performance from Butler University where he performed extensively with Butler Ballet. After graduation, Dyer danced with Elements Contemporary Ballet, Charlottesville Ballet, and Ballet Memphis. Some of his favorite works performed include Balanchine’s Valse Fantaisie and Square Dance, as well as Trey McIntyre’s Memphis. Dyer joined Smuin in 2019.

Cassidy Isaacson

Cassidy Isaacson

CASSIDY ISAACSON, originally from Redmond, Washington, trained at Pacific Northwest Ballet before joining Grand Rapids Ballet Company at age 16. Some favorite works performed during her eight years at Grand Rapids Ballet include Trey McIntyre’s Wild Sweet Love, Alejandro Cerrudo’s Extremely Close, Penny Saunders’ In Frame and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Written and Forgotten. Isaacson joined Smuin in 2019.

Meet The Artist

Sarah Jordan

Sarah Jordan

Sarah Jordan is From Chicago, IL, she received her BFA in Dance Performance and a minor in Art+Design from Butler University. After graduation, Jordan danced with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Cleveland Ballet, and Minnesota Dance Theatre before joining Smuin in 2023. She has performed works by Gerald Arpino, Rena Butler, Alejandro Cerrudo, Loyce Houlton, Ohad Naharin, and Paul Taylor. This is Jordan’s first season with Smuin.

Tess Lane

Tess Lane

TESS LANE trained at South Bay Ballet in Torrance, CA, performing Robert Kelly’s Summertime at the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, MI. While apprenticing with Sacramento Ballet, she performed works by George Balanchine, Ron Cunningham, and Lila York. Lane joined California Ballet Company in 2013 and was featured in Swan Lake, Giselle, Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream as well as Septime Webre’s Peter Pan, The Great Gatsby, and Fluctuating Hemlines. She also danced in the National Choreographers’ Initiative in 2017 and 2018. Lane joined Smuin in 2018.

Meet The Artist

Marc LaPierre

Marc LaPierre

MARC LAPIERRE began his early training at Ballet Etudes in Norwalk CT under the direction of Nanette Vallas. While at Ballet Etudes he trained closely with Christina Fagundes. He then attended Ballet Academy East in New York City under the direction of Darla Hoover and at age 16, Marc furthered his training at The School of American Ballet. He then went on to dance with Los Angeles Ballet, where he had the pleasure of dancing works by August Bournonville, George Balanchine, Aszure Barton and Alejandro Cerrudo. Two years later he joined Oregon Ballet Theatre as an apprentice and was promoted to the Company corps de ballet in his second season. During his time with OBT, he danced works by Alvin Ailey, Ben Stevenson, Nicolo Fonte, Christopher Stowell, and Trey MyIntyre. LaPierre joined Smuin in 2021.

Terez Dean Orr

Terez Dean Orr

TEREZ DEAN ORR, originally from Hudson Valley, New York, received her training at the prestigious School of American Ballet, the official school of the New York City Ballet. In 2005, she joined the State Street Ballet of Santa Barbara, dancing a wide range of contemporary and classical works. Dean Orr joined Smuin in 2008 and has been featured in works by Jiří Kylián, Trey McIntyre, Val Caniparoli, Helen Pickett, Amy Seiwert, Ma Cong, Adam Hougland, and Michael Smuin. While dancing full time, she received her BA through the Saint Mary’s College LEAP program.

Meet The Artist

Jace Pauly

Jace Pauly

Jace Pauly was born in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains where he began his dance training with Melissa Miller-Port. She taught him technique and discipline, but most importantly she taught him to love dancing. At 17, Jace moved across the country to Walnut Hill School for the Arts where he  trained under Michael Owen, Denise Lewis and Russell Clarke, graduating with honors in 2015.

Jace was next invited to join Atlanta Ballet II under the direction of John McFall where he danced numerous roles and learned  from world renowned choreographers. Jace was then asked to join Oklahoma City Ballet by Robert Mills where he danced leading roles such as Jonathan Harker in Michael Pink’s Dracula and Benvolioin Mills’ Romeo and Juliet. Most recently dancing for Cincinnati Ballet, Jace performed the Act III Pas de Deux from Don Quixote, Ohad Naharin’s Minus 16, and Nine Sinatra Songs by Twyla Tharp amongst other exemplary works by choreographers Val Caniparoli and Garrett Smith. 

Jace loves performing for audiences all over the world along with the mental and physical challenges that ballet brings everyday. His parents, Katie and Doug, and his sisters, Skye and Chelan, are his biggest supporters, inspiring him in the studio and beyond. Jace’s other passions in life include music, cooking, and the outdoors. He always enjoys exploring eclectic areas, trying new foods, and will often be found reading in a hammock on sunny afternoons.



Yuri Rogers

Yuri Rogers

YURI ROGERS began his training with the Academy of Ballet San Francisco under the direction of Richard Gibson and Zory Karah. He then had the opportunity to continue his training and perform with the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, the Grand Rapids Ballet, and BalletMet in Columbus, Ohio. Rogers has performed works by Lar Lubovitch, Leiland Charles, and Edwaard Liang. Rogers joined Smuin in 2021.

João Sampaio

João Sampaio

JOÃO SAMPAIO trained in classical ballet in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil under Ana Palmieri and Romulo Ramos. He has won national and international dance competitions, including the Youth America Grand Prix and the World Ballet Competition. Sampaio joined Tulsa Ballet in 2014, where he performed featured roles in Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort, Wayne McGregor’s Infra, Nacho Duato’s Remanso, Kurt Jooss’ The Green Table, Yuri Possokhov’s Classical Symphony, and Edwaard Liang’s Romeo and Juliet and Age of Innocence. In 2018, he joined Festival Ballet Providence, performing lead roles in George Balanchine’s Serenade, Swan Lake, and The Nutcracker. Sampaio joined Smuin in 2019.

Portrait by Maggie Carey

Photos by Chris Hardy

Brennan Wall

Brennan Wall

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

Choreographer and Designer Profiles



Tessa Barbour began her choreographic endeavors during her first season with Smuin in 2015. Since then Barbour has created a multitude of works for Smuin’s Choreography Showcase, The Christmas Ballet and virtual dance films, showcasing her versatility in tap and neoclassical ballet. She has also created ballet and jazz pieces on her students at Marin Dance Theatre. In 2021, Jettison Creative invited Barbour to be their first artist in residence as director and choreographer of a short film project. Barbour looks forward to future opportunities as she develops her choreographic skills, voice and style.


Erica Felsch began her professional training at North Carolina School of the Arts, and went on to attend the pre-professional program at San Francisco Ballet. She has performed with Colorado Ballet, Madison Ballet, Nova Ballet, North Carolina School of the Arts Summer Performance Series, Sierra Nevada Ballet, and Ballet Arizona. Erica was featured in commercials, print ads, and an episode of Disney’s “Shake It Up”. She has originated roles in world premieres by Adam Hougland, Helen Pickett, Val Caniparoli and Garrett Ammon, and performed pieces by Michael Smuin, Jiří Kylián, Trey McIntyre, Darrell Moultrie, and many more.


Nicole Haskins, originally from Venice Beach, California, danced professionally with Sacramento Ballet, Washington Ballet, and Smuin Contemporary Ballet, retiring in 2019. Her choreographic career also flourished, including commissions for Sacramento Ballet, Richmond Ballet, Smuin Contemporary Ballet, Dayton Ballet, and Oregon Ballet Theatre. Her choreography has been presented at the Los Angeles Dance Invitational, the McCallum Theater’s Dancing Under The Stars Choreographic Competition, and regional festivals. She was one of the 2017 winners of Oregon Ballet Theatre’s Choreography XX competition, participated in the New York Choreographic Institute, receiving the Institute’s Fellowship Grant in 2011 and the Institute’s Commission Initiative in 2017. Haskins has recently returned to the Bay Area where she’s teaching at several studios.


Michael is a professional lighting designer for dance, theatre, operas, and musicals. Since joining Smuin in 2004, he has designed the lighting for The Christmas Ballet, The Turntable, Be Here Now, The Poetry of Being, Tutto Eccetto il Lavandino, Madness, Rack, & Honey, Oh, Inverted World, and Fly Me to the Moon, as well as many more Smuin Ballet productions. He also designs lighting for other companies throughout the Bay Area, where his designs have won a Theatre Bay Area award, Shelly Award, and he has been nominated for BATCC Awards, and an Isadora Duncan Award. See more of his work at


For the past 50 years, Schmidt has designed for film, television, arena, and theme park presentations, as well as more than 200 productions for Broadway, Off Broadway, regional theaters, and major opera companies in the U.S. and Europe. His Broadway credits include the original productions of Grease and Frankenstein. In 2015, he received the United States Institute for Theatre Technology Award for Distinguished Achievement in Scene Design and The Robert L.B. Tobin Award for Sustained Excellence in Theatrical Design.


Jane Hope Rehm (she, her) native to Perrysburg, Ohio received her training at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and San Francisco Ballet School. Rehm joined Ballet Memphis in 2001, where she both danced and began her choreographic pursuits. She went onto join Smuin Ballet in 2010, and was featured in works by Jiří Kylián, Trey McIntyre, Val Caniparoli, Helen Pickett, and Amy Seiwert. While at Smuin, she had the opportunity to create new choreographic works in the Choreography Showcase and The Christmas Ballet. Jane finished her career dancing for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Post:Ballet, and Julia Adam Dance. She now lives in west Sonoma County, and is grateful for any time spent in Smuin company – past, present and future.


Amy Seiwert worked with her mentor Michael Smuin for eight of her nine years as a dancer with Smuin. As the San Francisco Guardian wrote, “She quite possibly is the Bay Area’s most original dance thinker.” Named one of “25 to Watch” by Dance Magazine, her first full evening of choreography was named one of the “Top 10” dance events of 2007 by the San Francisco Chronicle. Her work is in the repertory of Washington, Atlanta, Oakland, Sacramento, Colorado, Louisville, Cincinnati, Carolina, Oklahoma City, Dayton, Milwaukee, and American Repertory Ballets, as well as Smuin, BalletMet, AXIS Dance, Robert Moses’ KIN, and Ballet Austin.


Rex Wheeler, AKA Lady Camden, is originally from London, England, and trained at the Royal Ballet School and Elmhurst School for Dance. After dancing with Birmingham Royal Ballet as a student, he performed with Slovak National Ballet and Sacramento Ballet before dancing with Smuin from 2015-2018. A San Francisco-based choreographer and a founding member of Capital Dance Project, Wheeler has created works for many organizations across the country including Sacramento Ballet, Richmond Ballet, the New York Choreographic Institute, and Smuin Contemporary Ballet.


Sandra Woodall has contributed scenic and costume designs to San Francisco Ballet, Frankfurt Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, National Ballet companies of Finland, Georgia and Norway, State Opera Ballet of Austria, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Houston Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance, and Singapore Dance Theatre, among others. Recent productions include visual design of Winter Journey (Beijing), written by Wan Fang, director, Stan Lai; Camino Real (Atlanta Ballet) choreographed by Helen Pickett; and Be Here Now, choreographed by Trey McIntyre for Smuin.

Company Profiles


MICHAEL SMUIN  |  Founder & Choreographer

An American master, the late Michael Smuin began his career as a dancer performing with San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and on Broadway. A Tony and Emmy award-winning choreographer, Smuin brought a signature style to his work on stage, in film, and on television. A maverick, he fearlessly blended the theatrical with classical and popular styles, combining elements drawn from his vast stage experience. Smuin’s works continue to dazzle and entertain contemporary audiences. His company, Smuin, was founded in 1994 to showcase his creative versatility and unique vision. The Company maintains his legacy today. 


Celia Fushille

Celia Fushille

Artistic Director

Celia Fushille has served as Artistic Director of Smuin Contemporary Ballet since 2007. From 2008-2014 she also served as Executive Director of the company. A founding member of Smuin Ballet and its principal dancer for more than 12 years, Fushille worked closely with company founder Michael Smuin. In a performing career spanning 25 years, Fushille appeared on stages in the U.S. and Europe, on television and in film. As Artistic Director, Fushille has created her own vision for the company while maintaining Michael Smuin’s legacy. She has expanded the repertoire of the company by commissioning 18 world premieres and including the work of renowned choreographers. Increasing the company’s stability and place in the arts community of San Francisco, she realized a 10-year goal with the company’s move into its permanent home in 2019. For the last decade Fushille has been part of the national discussion addressing diversity, equity and inclusion among leaders of U.S. dance companies. From 2020-2022, Fushille served on the board of Dance/USA and was chair of the Artistic Directors’ Council for Member Companies with a budgets of $3 million and greater. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree (summa cum laude) from Saint Mary’s College of California.

Lori Laqua

Lori Laqua

Managing Director

Lori Laqua brings 30+ years of experience to her role as Managing Director of Smuin Contemporary Ballet. Laqua oversaw the renovation of Smuin Center for Dance, the organization’s permanent home, which joined the rehearsal studios and administrative offices under one roof for the first time. Laqua previously served as project manager for the design and construction of the ODC Dance Commons and the ODC Theater during her 20 years there. She is especially pleased to have kept Smuin dancing during the pandemic having utilized the CARES Act and grant programs to help retain employees and to present programming on new platforms. Laqua holds a PhD (ABD) and MArch in Architectural History from the University of Virginia, a MA in Art History from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and a BA in History and Art History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Laqua joined Smuin in 2017.

JoEllen Arntz

JoEllen Arntz

Company Manager and Wardrobe Supervisor

Jo Ellen Arntz moved to San Francisco after receiving her BFA in dance from Creighton University (Omaha, Nebraska). She danced with San Francisco Ballet from 1981-1991 and has been teaching dance in the Bay Area since 1977, recently celebrating 20 years on faculty at Marin Dance Theater. She began at Smuin as Wardrobe Supervisor in 1996 and became Company Manager shortly thereafter. Working with Michael Smuin at San Francisco Ballet and later his own company prepared her for the multiple hats she wears in the organization today.

Amy London

Amy London

Rehearsal Director

Amy London received her training in her hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico, from Karen Alwin and Shauna Bereska. She danced with Hartford Ballet, Diablo Ballet, and Smuin Ballet. Her favorite Smuin roles included: Eternal Idol, Q.a.V. and Hearts Suite. She has served on faculty for schools throughout the Bay Area and as Artistic Coordinator at Marin Ballet, where she has choreographed more than 20 works. As Smuin’s Ballet Master, she enjoys preserving Michael Smuin’s legacy, as well as collaborating with and being the caretaker of the works of Val Caniparoli, Trey McIntyre, Amy Seiwert, Ma Cong, Helen Pickett, Adam Hougland, Choo-San Goh, and Jiří Kylián. As the inaugural Education Program Director for Smuin Center for Dance, she oversees its successful community engagement, outreach and faculty development.

Kathryn T Graham

Kathryn T Graham

Production Director

KT Graham joined Smuin Ballet in 1997 after working as Production Stage Manager and Lighting Designer for Lewitzky Dance Company in Los Angeles, as well as Technical & Lighting Director for Washington Ballet in Washington, D.C. with whom she toured extensively both nationally and internationally. She also engages in freelance projects and has particularly enjoyed serving as Production Stage Manager for Amy Seiwert’s Imagery, Dances from the Heart benefits for The Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation, and for the National Dance USA showcase in 2012.



Sandra Chinn

Robin Dekkers

Celia Fushille

Nicole Haskins

Xiao Liu-Moore

Amy London

Rika Onizuka

Amy Seiwert

Julianne Spratlin

Erik Wagner


Raymond Fabrizio

Lynn Inglese

Donald White


Ann Beck Dance & Specialty Costumes

JRA Designs & Alterations

Vincent Avery

CMC & design

Valeri Clark

Thiem Ma

Birgit Pfeffer

Joan Pino


Richard Binkoff

Andrew Etherington

Ted Helminski

James Horio


Kathy Andrews, John Murray Productions



Suzanne Martin DPT

Shirley Kollmann


John DeRoy

Leonard Stein

Allen Wood


Stephen Coleman

Devin Wu

Kristina Yotive


Carolyn Hart
Yueming Li


Elizabeth Maple DPT

Aimee Martel DPT

Meaghann Oakes-Rust DPT

Robin Tobias DPT


Dr. Michael Dillingham SOAR

Dr. Jeffrey Mann, Cal Sports and Orthopaedic Institute

Dr. Kevin Stone and The Stone Clinic

Dr. Alicia Knee, Center for Sports Medicine

Lisa Giannone, Active Care Physical Therapy

Jeffrey Cohen, Hilot Therapy



Smuin is deeply grateful to the following individuals and organizations for their generosity. It is through their support that we are able to create innovative works and share the beauty of dance. This list acknowledges contributions made between August 1, 2021–October 24, 2022.

We’ve made every effort to ensure that our donor list is accurate. Please contact Coral Bell, Development Operations Manager at or 415-556-5000, Ext. 104 with corrections.

Click here to add your name to our donor roster

A GIFT OF $50,000+

Bruce Braden
CalOSBA / CA Venues Grant Program
Julie Dickson
Dr. Richard & Sharonjean Leeds
Kevin M McCoy
David Meders
The Bernard Osher Foundation
San Francisco Chronicle
The Shubert Foundation

A GIFT OF $25,000+

Anonymous (3)
Daniel & Allyn Carl
Grants for the Arts
Edie Kirkwood
Dell Larcen & Ron Meserve
Hal & Carol Louchheim
Harvey Lynch
Dr. Linda Membreno
Bill & Kara Rosenberg
Dr. Lynn Spitler
Irving Weissman & Ann Tsukamoto Weissman

A GIFT OF $10,000+

Sandy Abbott
Karen Bartholomew
Lee D. Baxter
Dr. Barbara L. Bessey
Amie Chang
Clement Chen III
Gloria & Michael Chiang
Ms. Florence Danneberg
Joe DeBellis & Pat Ronzone
Tom Frankel & Janet Reider
Martha Gates
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Foundation
Guy & Tracy Jaquier
Karen D. Kadushin
Stepanie Kalman Foundation / David & Cynthia Bogolub
Joanna & Danny Kemper
John & Athena Konstin/Historic John’s Grill
Shirley & Hersch Loomis
Mercury News
D. G. Mitchell
Trisha Mount & Andrew Etherington
Thomas Savignano
Dorothy R. Saxe
John Schlag & Jennifer Gennari
SF Gate
Randy & Barbara Soso
Susan & Britt Stitt
Fred Terman & Nan Borreson
Loreli Trippel
Amanda Weitman & Chris Heffelfinger

A GIFT OF $5,000+

Melanie Adams & Dr. Dennis Fisher
Aukum Group
David & Sharon Beckman
Richard Binkoff
Janet & Kenneth Bollier
Bob & Sheila Challey
Ms. Marilyn Charm
Frank Ching & Charley Kearns
Bill & Nancy Doolittle
Robert J. Eldred & Elizabeth J. Folger
Mr. & Ms. Gregory M Giffra
Bill Gregory
Carol Marsha Kagano
John Lazlo & Robin Raborn
Susan Lowe
Buffington Miller
Mark Palmer & Christine Wells
Jeffrey & Marilyn Riehl
Eleanor Sue
Tenby Group
Karen & Steve Wiel

A GIFT OF $2,500+

Bahar Aghighi, MD
Alexander Family
Jo Ellen Arntz
James Brennock
James (Jim) Carter
Antoinette Chatton
The Clark Family
John Clatworthy
Pamela Rummage Culp
Susan Ducoeur
John Duffy
The Fleishhacker Foundation
Celia Fushille & Chris Hardy
Ms. Lisa Giannone & Michael Dillingham
Gail Giffen & Chris Pisarra
Choo-San Goh & R. Robert Magee Foundation
Diane Gosney & Allison Chang
Estelle Gregory
David L. Hatt
Bruce & Eleanor Heister
James Horio & Linda Cahill
Hal & Iris Korol
Sam Leftwich
Ms. Debra Leylegian
Marcia McConnell
Tasia Melvin-Bartell
Gilbert Neill & Rodney Woodard
Gary D. & Marcia L. Nelson
Alfred Norek
Louise Patterson
Anne Peterson
Potrero Hill Association of Merchants
Anne & Martin Roher
Dennis & Jan Ruby
Paul G. Smith & Gail Erwin
Ms. Gwen Smith
James Sokol
Susan & Britt Stitt
Lori Arthur Stroud
Ralph Widman & Esther Rodriguez

A GIFT OF $1,000+

Anonymous (8)
Suzanne Ah-Tye & Donald Tamaki
Robin Allgren MD PhD
Charlene Archibeque
Brenda Beckett
Gilbert & Ann Berkeley
Paula Blank
Mr. John Charles Bolger
Virginia & Homer Boushey
Brad and Claire Brian
Shawna Hartman Brotsky & Daniel Brotsky
Mr. Jess Brown
Richard, Elaine, & Julie Burgess
Mel & Jason Burnett
Patricia & Rich Campbell
Charlie Cassell
Lucy Weiger & Bob Crane
Brad Crowell and Gary Koehler
Mr. Steve Daley
Anita & Richard Davis
George Deabill, PhD
Tom Debley
Judith & Harold Dittmer
Ms. Andrea Eichhorn
Hon. James C Emerson
Eric Fabianac
Leak Fairon
Dr. Robert Fallat & Dr. Allyson Lavoy
Dale Fehringer &
Patty McCrary Fehringer
Suzi Ferreira
Dale Fishman
Donna & Richard Fraioli
Sharon & Joel Friedman
Mr. & Mrs. Emily & Russell Fudge
Diane Gardiner
Alexandra & Hanson Gifford
William S. Goldstein
& Christopher Archuleta
Hon Mai & Joseph Goodman
Louise Gould
Kathryn T. Graham
Mary Hero
Dan Joraanstad & Bob Hermann
Nolan & Debi Kennedy
Mr. Philip Kurjan & Ms. Noel Butler
Roland & Becky Lazzarotto
Nancy Leavens
Drs. Penny & John Loeb
Jane Lombard
Jim Lowry
Mr. Lynn Luckow
Ken & Janine Lyons
Henry Massie & Bridget Connelly
Mary-Helen & Kevin McMahon
Sharon & Paul Melodia
Dr. & Mrs. Thomas Mitts
Thomas & Dona Mork
Mr. Jerry Mosher
Janice Irvine-Mosher & Oren Mosher
Robert Mount & Ceres Baldevia
Paul Munro
Steven Natterstad
Vickie Nelson
George O’Neill
John Speed Orr & Terez Dean Orr
Ralph Pais & Gayl Huston
Palo Alto Weekly
Gary Allan Payne — in honor of Deb Glazer
Bev & Lew Perlson
Ms. Laura Peterson
Mrs. Lidia Pringle
Programmatic Online Ads
Robin Raborn & John Lazlo
Camille Reed — in Honor of Patti Hume
Virgil Rittenhouse & Sue Holloway
Kathryn Rouine-Rapp
Jon Saxe & Myrna Marshall
Michael & Rachel Schuman
Ed & Chris Schweitzer
Kathleen Sidenblad
Laurie Stephenson
Molly Sterling
Mrs. & Mr. Mary Alice & Walter Stevenson
Carolyn Stone
Art Strassle
Suzanne Stroh
Leslie & Steven Taglio
Richard & Effy Weisfield
Ms. Rosemary Welde
Daphne & Stuart Wells
R. Wallace & Eve Wertsch
Pravin Soni & Amy Wurtzburger
David Young & Donald Bird

A GIFT OF $500+

Anonymous (3)
Donna Ambrosini
Marilyn Austin
Carol D. Bacchetti
Pamela & Michael Barnes
Frank & Jeannie Berns
Albert & Arlene Boro
Michael Burke & Lynn Kennedy
Paul Casagrande
Corinne Celio
Katherine Bradshaw Chappelear
Lena & Stuart Clark
John & Danielle Cleary
Skip & Lorinda Clemens
Christopher Conner
Mary Dahlquist
Diana & Jed Dempsey
Irwin H. Derman
Marijke Donat
Matt Ehlen
Mr. Joseph Ficurelli
Frank & Jeanne Fischer
Vicki & David Fleishhacker
Cindy & Bruce Fox
Mr. Kirk Frederick
Nancy Garton & Kent Palmerton
Ms. Yvonne Gero
D. Peter Gleichenhaus
Mr. Aurash Gomroki
Mrs. Melissa Graney
Shand & William Green
Therese Grenchik
Paulette Gregg Schulte
Shellie Hagerman
Kathleen Hall & Leslie Murdock
Stephen Hass
Rick & Ann Homan
Ms. Jan Jaso
Victoria & Martin Johnson
Patrick Jude
Diane Kaercher
Robin Kennedy
James Kleinrather & Melody Singleton
Susan Lambert
Jeanne Lamprecht
Gustav Larsson
Ingrid LeBlanc
Richard Leffingwell
Pam & Gif Lehman
Marc Levinson & Mary Jane Large
Kathleen & Raymond Levitt
Linde-Sands Family Fund
Elizabeth Lowenstein
Mr. & Mrs. Marc & Lois Martin
Henry Massey
Massion Giving Fund
Steve & Niko Mayer
Tim & Candy McCarthy
Robert Melnikoff
Shauna Mika & Rick Callison
Ted Mitchell
Douglas Moore
Elliott Morin
Suzanne Moshier
Sarah Nagel
James & Gwen Neary
Mr. Scott Kenneth Nelson
Sheila L. North
Marcia F. O’Hern
Theresa O’Neill
Maureen O’Shea
Christina Owen
Chrissy Palmer
Sean Peake
Clara Pettegrew
Andrew Quint
Gordon Radley
Judi Fan & Bob Reay
Janet & Niels Reimers
Ms. Janet Lynda Reinstra
Kathryn E. Ringgold
Mr. & Mrs. Wayne Robins
Fred Saunders & Charles Kredensor
Douglas Schmidt & Stephen Martin
Mr. & Mrs. Edwin J. Schwartz
Michael Shea
Ruth Short
John Shott & Heidi Munzinger
Kristen & Steve Siegel
Joy Sleizer
Barbara Smith
Barbara Smith-Thomas
Mr. Jeffrey Sorrento
Ms. Canda Lee Steiner
Peter Stry
Mr. Lyle Swallow & Mr. Jack Becker
H. James Tellefson Janette Tom — in memory of Mary Tom
Steven R. Wade
Bradford & Susan Wait
Mrs. Carolyn R Winters
Margaret Wrensch
Cynthia Wuthmann

A GIFT OF $250+

Adobe Matching Gift Program
Anonymous (5)
Chick Adams & Laurie Davies
Katherine Akos & Harry Jacobs
Michael Angeles
Theo Armour
Janet & Frank Arundel
Laima Baltusis
Judy Barrett
Janelle Bedke & Ken Fox
Brian & Glynnis Belchers
Marilyn Beller
Michael Bena
Jill & Vincent Benitez
Connie Berkeley
William Berry
Norma Jean Bodey Galiher
Ann Brown
Mr. Wayne Bryan
Joe & Cyndy Carey
Donald & Nina Carter
Leona K. Chu
Kathy & Martin Cohn
Dan Craft
Charles Daly
Ms. Lena de Kesel-Lams
Mrs. Katherine E Dealtry
Carole Deitrich
John Domingos & Claudine Marken
Carol Duffield
Judith & Charles Dvorak
Steve Edmondson
Tehila & Saul Eisenstat
— in loving memory of Michael
Christine & Mark Fisher
Mauricio Franco
Gwen Gallagher
Diana Gay-Catania & David Catania
Kelly Gaynor
Christopher Gilkerson
Maria Gounaris
John A. Gregg & Nick DiSandro
Steve & Laurie Gregory
Mrs. Maureen Grinnell
Ms. Susan Hadley
Barbara Hebert
Neysa Hinton
Imar Moreira
Charles F. Holz
Gayle Ing
Judy Jackovics
Frances Johnston
Nancy Jones
Carol & Thom Kato
Bill & Patricia K’Burg
The Kirsch Family
Paul Kitagaki
Marcia Klein
Peter & Ann Knopf
Joseph Lawrence & Rudy Ciuca
David & Julie Lazar
Richard Leask & Barbara Means
Ruth Leibig
Frank L’Engle
Peggy Lowndes
Donald Lowry & Lynore Tillim
Patricia & Wolfgang Lusse
Ronnie Mannos
Eric Marshall
Shawn Marshall
Coralyn K. McGregor
Kevin G. McHenry
Shareen Merriam
Ms. Susan Wigh Michaud
Mr. & Mrs. Seth Moore-Brown
Beth Morris
Gail Hurvitz & Jerry Newton
Leslie W. & Lois G. Partridge
— in Memory of Lois Partridge
Stephanie Paula
Ms. Susan C Peters
Warren G. & Barbara S. Poole
Robert W. Rankin
Louise D. Roe
Terez Rose
Elizabeth M. Salzer
Lynn Sanford
Cynthia Schroeder
Douglas Schultz
SF Bay Times
Eileen Sheridan
Ross & Ellen Shimabukuro
Sandy Sill
Linda & Paul Sinsar
Marilyn & Richard Sperling
Jan Spielberger
Valerie Stewart
Dr. & Mrs. Kevin & Susan Stone
Mrs. Blossom Strong
Mr. Charles V Thornton
Mary Tilbury
Ms. Lannie Tonti
Marcia Tos
Sam & Joan Trust
Archana & Mayank Upadhyay
Leon Van Steen
Madhuri Vivit
Dr. Jennifer Wahlsten
Joel & Bonni Weinstein
Alan Wessel & Margarete Leclerc
Whitesell Family
Charitable Trust
Steve Wong
Ms. Donna Young-Morrison
Tom & Jean Zimmerman

A GIFT OF $150+

Anonymous (3)
Glenn Addleman
Gonzalo Alonso
Drs. Geraldine & Paul F. Alpert
Deirdre Moore & Peter Arnold
Keith Ball & Diana Morabito
Katrina Barma & Bret Parker
Jaime & Lieselotte Bayan
Marah Brehaut
Deborah Buehler
Ms. Sharon Butler
Brad & Lisa Cantwell
Charles & Deryl Castellano
Paul Churchill
Elsa Cumpton
Judie Denton
Erik & Heather Douglas
Carol Eggers & Dan Gruzd
Mark Esguerra
Christina Fidler
Julie & John Gerth
Anita & Richard Grandpre
Christine & William Green
Carol Haig
Doug Hanlin
Ms. Carolyn Hoke-van Orden
Edward King
Kimiko & Joel Klein
Rachel Landes
Annette Lipkin
Peter Marra
Dorian & Joseph Martinka
Stepheny McGraw
Joan & Terry Mchenry
G Dirk Meyer
Carrie Miller
Arnold Miller
Stephen & Wipawee Morris
Linda Muller
Padmaja Nandigam
Judith Naughton
Mr. Ronald Naventi
Mr. Robert Newcomer
Mrs. Hillevi Null
Jean & Dale Olds
Ms. Jean Olive-Lammers
Paul Ortega
Jean Parmelee
Mrs. Martha C. Parriott
Pamela Pfohl
Brian E. Ramsey
Mr. Timothy Roach
Drew Robarts
Ms. Laura Robbin
Barbara Schurhoff
Lisa M Schuster
Dr. Chandran Shanmugam
Mr. Boris Shekhter
Mr. Sam Edward Singer
Jane Solomons
Lynne Stietzel
Pat Terman & David Frydenlund
Tobias Physical Therapy
Dillip Thakur
Alice Weigel — in Honor of Jason Narin
Ms. Jennifer Winch
Mr. & Mrs. Richard G. Wollack
Mr. Al Zemsky


Lee D. Baxter
Bay Area News Group
Richard Binkoff
D. John Miller
Grgich Hills Estate
Mercury News
Palo Alto Weekly
San Fransisco Chronicle
SF Bay Times
SF Gate


Does your company match donations? Ask! It’s a great way to double your impact.
Charles Schwab & Co.
Chevron Texaco
Dodge & Cox
Genentech, Inc.
Lam Research Foundation
Morgan Stanley
Union Bank Foundation


The Friends of Smuin is a social club of Smuin aficionados. We invite you to join us! To learn more, please contact Alicia Tos, Development Director, at
Barbara Bessey
Richard Binkoff & Alan Crouch
Paula Blank
Lorinda Clemens
Pamela Rummage Culp
William (Bill) Gregory
Tracy Jaquier
Carol Kaganov
Debra Leylegian
Sam Leftwich
Susan Lowe
Lynn Luckow
Karen Maguire
Sharon Melodia
Vickie Nelson
Maureen O’Shea
Becky Pringle
Leslie Taglio
Kinman Tong
Lilian Wagner
Karen and Steve Wiel
Monique Yohanan


Please consider sharing your passion for innovative, evocative, contemporary ballet with future generations. By naming Smuin as a beneficiary in your estate plans and joining our Legacy Circle, your planned gift transforms your passion into a lasting legacy and investment into Smuin‘s future. We are deeply grateful to the following individuals for their generosity and forethought:

Jan & Dennis Adair
William Bason*
Bruce Braden
James Brennock
Patricia & Richard Campbell Mary Canning
Marilyn Charm
Clara Degen*
George Doubleday II*
Edmund Eger* & Lynn Spitler
Teren D. Ellison
Trisha Mount & Andrew Etherington
Frederic Freund*
Emily & Russell Fudge
Celia Fushille
Rudolph Glauser*
Beverly & Tom Gorley*
Marguerite E. Griffith*
Milan Milton Holdorf*
Mary Greer & Joie Hubbert*
Diane & Rob Johnson
Karen Kadushin
Carol & Alan* Kaganov
Joanna & Danny Kemper
John Lazlo & Robin Raborn
Dr. Richard & Sharonjean Leeds
Cliff Leventhal
Jan Loomis
Kevin McCoy*
David Meders
David & Violaine M’Raihi
Heidi Munzinger & John Shott
Deborah Ogden*
William Oman & Larry Crummer
Mary Jo Pace*
AnMarie Roache
Fred Saunders & Charles Kredensor
Dorothy Saxe
Barbara Schurhoff
Hal Segelstat
Ralph D. Sikes
Jeanette Sperry*
Jan Spielberger
Bert & LeAnne Steinberg
Susan & Michael Steinberg
Mike Tully
Lauri Vaughan*
Rosemary Welde

* deceased


Our holiday tradition returns!

Smuin’s annual The Christmas Ballet LGBTQ+ Night, returns to dazzle audiences with surprises and delights that celebrate our community.

Special guest star Lady Camden, the alter ego of Rex Wheeler, hosts the evening and steps into the red-hot heels of the iconic role “Santa Baby.” Every ticket purchased makes a donation to Project Open Hand, founded in 1985 to feed people with HIV/AIDS, providing nutritious meals with love to our sick and vulnerable neighbors in San Francisco and Oakland.

Lady Camden photo by Maximillian Tortoriello Photography