Smuin Ballet Takes 2014 Winter Tour to 'XXtremes', Now thru 3/29

Smuin Ballet Takes 2014 Winter Tour to 'XXtremes', Now thru 3/29

Smuin Ballet will continue its 20th Anniversary Season today, March 14-29 with the Bay Area tour of its XXtremes Winter Dance Series.

Featuring a lineup of stunning works that showcase the range and versatility of the lauded Smuin dancers, the dance series kicked off the company's 20th Anniversary Season in San Francisco last fall, with performances the San Francisco Chronicle said "lifts choreography to the level of spiritual art."

In XXtremes, Peninsula, East Bay, and Carmel audiences get their first look at Ji?í Kylián's acclaimed Return to a Strange Land, set to four heart-rending pieces for solo piano by Czech composer Leoš Janá?ek. Smuin also brings back by popular demand the enchanting ballet Dear Miss Cline, a buoyant and colorful romp set to the music of Patsy Cline by Choreographer in Residence Amy Seiwert, and Carmina Burana, one of Michael Smuin's most lauded works, set to Carl Orff's 1937 dramatic cantata of the same title.

The XXtremes Winter Dance Series will tour the Bay Area, beginning with shows in Walnut Creek (March 14-15), continuing in Mountain View (March 19-23), and finishing in Carmel (March 28-29). Tickets ($52-$70) are available by calling the individual venues or visiting

An eagerly awaited treat for fans of Kylián, whose Petite Mort was performed by Smuin in 2010 (the first professional Bay Area company selected to perform that iconic work), Return to a Strange Land had not been seen on the West Coast in almost 20 years before it received its Bay Area premiere with Smuin in October, which the San Francisco Chronicle called "moving" and "impressive," and SF Classical Voice called "a must-see!" Says Smuin Ballet's Celia Fushille, "We are delighted and deeply honored to be granted this opportunity of presenting another of Mr. Kylián's legendary works to the Bay Area." The piece, set on six dancers, combines elegant classical ballet and swiftly-changing geometric poses in a meditation on loss, healing, and hope, created as a tribute to Kylián's mentor John Cranko. According to Kylián, "The title Return to a Strange Land conveys the step from one form of existence into another. The substance, which bodies are made of, has always existed on the other side: the unconscious. To live is to become conscious. To die is to return to the other land: the strange land of one's origin." The Artistic Director of Netherlands Dance Theatre (NDT) from 1975 to 1999, Kylián has created nearly 100 original works for NDT, Stuttgart Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Swedish Television, Bayeriches Staatsballet Munchen, Tokyo Ballet, and more, and his ballets have been performed by more than 100 companies and schools worldwide.

Back by popular demand is Amy Seiwert's ebullient tribute to Patsy Cline, Dear Miss Cline, called "a charmer!" by the San Francisco Examiner. Featuring ten Nashville tunes including "Walkin' After Midnight," "Come On In," "Triangle," "There He Goes," "Pick Me Up On Your Way Down," and more, this high spirited and sentimental hit charms audiences with a rollicking trip through Cline's country canon. A former Smuin dancer, Seiwert has been choreographing since 1999 and has won numerous awards and critical accolades. Bay Area Reporter declares her to be "the most talented and prolific young choreographer working from a ballet base around here" and the San Francisco Chronicle has called her "sharply innovative" and "one of the country's most exciting young dance makers." Her work is in the repertory of Smuin Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, Richmond Ballet, and Atlanta Ballet, as well as Ballet Nouveau Colorado, Robert Moses KIN, and Ballet Austin.

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