Smuin Ballet to Host 2014 XXRAVAGANZA GALA, 3/1

Celebrating its rich history of quality and innovation in choreography, Smuin Ballet celebrates its 20th Anniversary with a dynamic 2014 XXRAVAGANZA GALA, to be held Saturday, March 1, 2014. Honorary Chairs Elaine and Tony La Russa are joined by Event Co-chairs Patti and Jerry Hume, Athena and John Konstin, and celebrity guest auctioneers, former San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown and "Voice of the Giants" Renel Brooks-Moon, to create an exhilarating tribute to Smuin Ballet, featuring highlights from the past 20 years as well as glimpses of this season's brilliant lineup. Senator Mark Leno will open the festivities with a special presentation from the State Senate in honor of Smuin Ballet and its 20 years of creative and artistic excellence. The black tie event will include a cocktail reception and silent auction, followed by a delectable dinner catered by McCall's, live auction, and performance by Smuin Ballet's acclaimed dancers. Smuin Ballet's 2014 XXRAVAGANZA GALA takes place at The Galleria, 101 Henry Adams Street, San Francisco. For tickets or for more information, the public may contact Smuin Ballet at (415) 556-5000 x106 or visit www.smuinballet.org.

Live and silent auction items at the event will include rare and memorable experiences and superb goods and services. One of the most unique auction packages of the evening includes a personal tour of the nonprofit ARF (Animal Rescue Foundationwww.arf.net/) led by Hall of Famer and Honorary Chair Tony La Russa, and then dinner for two with the La Russas and Celia Fushille. This priceless experience will be one for the memory books! Among other fun one-of-a-kind auction items will be Giants tickets that include a visit to the public address booth with "Voice of the Giants" announcer Renel Brooks-Moon, dinner for four with SFMOMA's Snohetta Architects, an afternoon of dress-up at Wilkes Bashford, rare and hard-to-find wines, full relaxation and romantic getaways in Napa and Sonoma, fabulous jewelry, a lavish getaway to Mexico, and much more.

Debuting in San Francisco on March 7, 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 New York and European tours. Founder 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. Smuin Ballet was recently praised by Alistair McCauley of The New York Times as "Engaging, fresh, irresistible. Smuin dancers are at their finest."

Photo by Drew Altizer

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