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Smuin Ballet Presents OH, INVERTED WORLD, Closes 2/27

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Smuin Ballet presents the riveting Oh, Inverted World by acclaimed choreographer Trey McIntyre set to music by the popular indie-rock band The Shins in Walnut Creek (Feb 4-5), Carmel (Feb 18-19), and Mountain View (Feb 23-27)..  This dynamic ballet the New York Times called "striking" and "remarkable" made its world premiere in San Francisco last October.  The program will also include Bluegrass/ Slyde by Michael Smuin, an electric piece called "riotous" by the SF Examiner and featuring the bluegrass twang of renowned banjoist Béla Fleck and master bassist Edgar Meyer. Rounding out the program is Smuin's classic ballet Brahms-Haydn Variations, a lyrical favorite filled with courtly references, called "lovely" by the San Francisco Chronicle and "impressive" by the New York Times.  Single tickets ($49-$62) are available through their prospective theatres or by visiting www.smuinballet.org.
 
An innovative fusion of Trey McIntyre's fresh, impulsive choreography and The Shins' distinctive style, Oh, Inverted World is a mesmeric and lingering work, neatly summed up by the New York Times, "Having seen it once, I wish I could see it again soon."  The piece is set to music by the influential indie-rock band The Shins, featuring songs from their breakthrough debut album, for which the dance is named, Oh, Inverted World.  This critically acclaimed album was prominently featured in the Grammy Award-winning soundtrack of the hit film Garden State and skyrocketed the band and its unique, 1960's-influenced power-pop sound into public consciousness.
 
Smuin Ballet was honored to be the first company to present a world premiere by McIntyre since he launched his own company, the nationally celebrated Trey McIntyre Project in 2008.  Said Smuin Artistic and Executive Director Celia Fushille, "Our collaboration with Trey is exactly the kind of piece that fits into my vision for Smuin's programming-exciting and vibrant.  We are challenging ourselves to bring the world's best new work to Bay Area audiences." McIntyre, called "amazingly fresh" by the New York Times, has created a canon of works for leading ballet companies such as Stuttgart Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and New York City Ballet. McIntyre first worked with Smuin Ballet in May 2009 with the playful West Coast premiere The Naughty Boy!  After its smashing success, Fushille and McIntyre remained in touch, leading to the commission of Oh, Inverted World.
Also included in the fall program are two works by Michael Smuin, the cleverly choreographed Bluegrass/ Slyde and the tender Brahms-Haydn Variations.  Set to the vivacious music of prominent contemporary bassist Edgar Meyer and prodigy banjo player Béla Fleck, Smuin's athletic and unique Bluegrass/ Slyde has dancers swinging on a moving set, whipping around beams and wrapping around carousel-like poles.  The San Francisco Chronicle declared the dance "a Smuin work unlike any other."  A master instrumentalist and chameleon of styles, Edgar Meyer has established himself as a vibrant performer and an innovative composer in a variety of arenas from classical to bluegrass. His virtuosity and musicianship inspired critics to call him, "quite simply, the best bassist alive."  Béla Fleck, arguably the premiere banjo player in the world, has virtually reinvented the image and the sound of the banjo through a remarkable performing and recording career that has taken him all over the musical map and on a range of solo projects and collaborations. The program rounds out with the amorous Brahms-Haydn Variations, a lyrical favorite filled with courtly references and set to music by two of the most prolific and prominent composers of the Romantic and Classical periods. This romantic interlude was called "lovely" by the San Francisco Chronicle.
 
Debuting in San Francisco in 1994, Smuin Ballet immediately established itself as one of the Bay Area's most eagerly watched performing arts companies, as "one of this country's most entertaining, original ballet troupes" (Dance Magazine), and as a dance company of international acclaim, performing to sold-out houses on European tours. Michael Smuin's singular philosophy to create pieces which merge the diverse vocabularies of classical ballet and contemporary dance has served as the company's touchstone since its beginning. 
 
Now at the helm of Smuin Ballet is Artistic and Executive Director Celia Fushille, whose vision includes maintaining and increasing the company's reputation for presenting accessible and innovative repertoire, attracting new audiences of all ages to the medium.  The company has continued to highlight works created by Smuin, both for his own and for other ballet companies, but Fushille also enriches its impressive repertoire with newer choreographic voices, bringing the Bay Area its first look at works by exciting choreographers from around the world, as well as developing world premieres by company members.


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by Barnett Serchuk