Smuin Ballet to Conclude 20th Season With Two World Premieres in XXCENTRIC Spring Dance Series, 5/2-6/7

Smuin Ballet to Conclude 20th Season With Two World Premieres in XXCENTRIC Spring Dance Series, 5/2-6/7

Smuin Ballet closes its 20th Anniversary Season with two World Premieres and a Michael Smuin classic, touring the Bay Area May 2 - June 7, 2014 in the XXcentric Spring Dance Series. The program will feature one act of Michael Smuin's ebullient Dancin' With Gershwin ballet, back on the Smuin stage for the first time since 2008. XXcentric will also include World Premieres from Smuin's Choreographer in Residence Amy Seiwert and Val Caniparoli, internationally renowned choreographer and principal character dancer at San Francisco Ballet. The XXcentric Spring Dance Series will kick off its tour at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco (May 2-11), continuing at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek (May 16-17); the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts (May 21-25); and at the Sunset Center in Carmel (June 6-7). Tickets ($24-$70) are available by calling the individual venues or visiting www.smuinballet.org.

A gleeful romp through some of Broadway's most beloved numbers, Michael Smuin's Dancin' With Gershwin features vocal and instrumental recordings by such artists as Peter Gabriel, Marilyn Monroe, Sting, Carmen McRae, and Michael Feinstein, performing such memorable classics as "Summertime," "Do it Again," and "The Man I Love." The ballet was inspired by Michael Smuin's experience choreographing a 1996 public television special on Ira Gershwin's 100th birthday. Dancin' With Gershwin is an innovative exploration of American dance, charting the ways in which existing dance traditions have been cross-bred and reinvented, creating new, more intensely complex dance forms.

Smuin choreographer-in-residence Amy Seiwert introduces her World Premiere ballet But now I must rest to Bay Area stages this spring. Drawing her inspiration from the lush music of Cesária Évora, the world renowned Cape Verdian "barefoot diva" known as "The Queen of Morna," Seiwert weaves a tapestry of grounded contemporary movement with themes of longing, love, history, and hope. 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.

Also introducing a World Premiere in honor of Smuin Ballet's 20th anniversary is Val Caniparoli, presenting Tutto Eccetto il Lavandino (everything but the kitchen sink). Marrying his trademark style and physicality with the music of Antonio Vivaldi, Caniparoli's newest work celebrates the versatility of the Smuin dancers, blending high energy athleticism with wit and reflective beauty. One of the most sought-after American choreographers in the United States and abroad, Caniparoli has created a body of work that is rooted in classicism but influenced by all forms of movement: modern dance, ethnic dance, social dancing, and even ice skating. He has contributed to the repertoires of more than forty-five dance companies, including Pacific Northwest Ballet, Boston Ballet, Northern Ballet Theatre, Pennsylvania Ballet, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Ballet West (Resident Choreographer 1993-97), Washington Ballet, Israel Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre, Atlanta Ballet, State Theatre Ballet of South Africa, and Tulsa Ballet. Caniparoli is most closely associated with San Francisco Ballet, his artistic home for over thirty years, where he began his career under the co-artistic directorship of Lew Christensen and Michael Smuin. He continues to choreograph for the company and perform as a principal character dancer. His balletSwipe received its West Coast Premiere with Smuin Ballet in 2012.

Debuting in San Francisco in March 1994, Smuin Ballet immediately established itself as one of the Bay Area's most eagerly watched performing arts companies 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.