Photo Flash: Smuin Lights Up Bay Area With Annual Holiday Treat THE CHRISTMAS BALLET

Smuin makes the holidays sizzle with its annual yuletide celebration of dance, The Christmas Ballet. With a stunning and original array of ballet, tap, and jazz, this joyous showcase of styles offers both sugar and spice, with the surprise unwrapping of new treats every year. The 2017 edition of The Christmas Ballet features three saucy world premieres one by acclaimed Choreographer-in-Residence Amy Seiwert, another created by Smuin dancer Rex Wheeler, and a debut number choreographed by dancer Erica Felsch. An exuberant holiday treat that was declared "the finest toast to the season" by the San Francisco Chronicle last year, The Christmas Ballet will tour the Bay Area, beginning with shows in Walnut Creek (November 17-18), continuing in Carmel (December 1-2) and Mountain View (December 6-10), and wrapping up with its annual holiday run at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco (December 14-24). Tickets ($25-$89) are available by calling the individual venues (see below for details) or visiting www.smuinballet.org.

Now in its 23rd season, The Christmas Ballet is a chocolate box of fan favorites and delectable new surprises. The first act, Classical Christmas, features the dancers enrobed in brilliant white costumes, performing traditional holiday favorites including Michael Smuin classics "Bach Magnificat" and "Ave Maria," Amy Seiwert's joyful "Sleigh Ride," and Michael Smuin's nod to Hanukkah, "Licht bensh'n."

This year, the Company unveils a world premiere from Amy Seiwert in the first act-her final creation as Choreographer-in-Residence of Smuin as she moves into her new position as Artistic Director of Sacramento Ballet. This classic piece will be set to the joyful opening section of the Christmas Concerto by Antonio Vivaldi, Concerto for 2 trumpets, RV 537. Seiwert, called "one of the country's most exciting young dance makers" by the San Francisco Chronicle, has created many dances for Smuin, four of which will be featured in this year's edition of The Christmas Ballet.

The second act of The Christmas Ballet kicks off with a red-hot costume change. In Cool Christmas, the dancers perform a lively medley of modern festive numbers including the flirty Smuin favorite "Santa Baby," featuring the world's longest feather boa, and a swinging "Jingle Bells Mambo" by Val Caniparoli. Also on the bill are "Christmas in New Orleans," a fun and light-hearted "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," and the return of the delightful tap-dancing Christmas trees featured in the tongue-in-cheek "Droopy Little Christmas Tree."

Smuin dancer Erica Felsch will make her debut as a choreographer in Act II, presenting the world premiere of a warm and witty new work. As a dancer with Smuin since the 2012/2013 season, Felsch's most recent solo as "The Rose" in the West Coast premiere of Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's "Requiem for a Rose" earned her rave reviews in the Company's fall 2017 program. In the 2017 edition of The Christmas Ballet, Felsch will not only make her choreographic debut on the snow-covered stage, but also stars in Smuin's signature number "Santa Baby," featuring the world's longest, show-stopping feather boa. Cool Christmas will also unwrap a rollicking new piece brimful of holiday spirit by Smuin dancer Rex Wheeler. Now in his third season at Smuin, Wheeler has choreographed numerous, highly-acclaimed works for the Company. "This one's definitely a keeper," raved The Mercury News, on his premiere of the joyful "We Three Kings" last holiday season, which returns to the stage in this year's edition of The Christmas Ballet.


For more than 24 years, Smuin has pushed the boundaries of contemporary ballet within a distinctly American style, engaging and delighting audiences with uncommon physicality and expression. Founded in San Francisco in 1994 by Tony- and Emmy-award-winning choreographer Michael Smuin, the company is committed to creating work that merges the diverse vocabularies of classical ballet and contemporary dance. As Artistic Director since 2007, Celia Fushille has maintained Michael Smuin's legacy while enriching the company's impressive repertoire by collaborating with inventive choreographers from around the world, commissioning world premieres, and bringing new contemporary choreographic voices to the Smuin stage.

Photo credit: Keith Sutter

high res photos

Photo Flash: Smuin Lights Up Bay Area With Annual Holiday Treat THE CHRISTMAS BALLET
Smuin dancer Ben Needham-Wood appears in Val Caniparoli's swinging Jingle Bells Mambo, part of Smuin's annual The Christmas Ballet, touring the Bay Area now through December 24.

Photo Flash: Smuin Lights Up Bay Area With Annual Holiday Treat THE CHRISTMAS BALLET
Smuin dancers JoNathan Powell and Erin Yarbrough-Powell appear in White Christmas, choreographed by dancer Ben Needham-Wood after Michael Smuin, part of Smuin's annual The Christmas Ballet, touring the Bay Area now through December 24.

Photo Flash: Smuin Lights Up Bay Area With Annual Holiday Treat THE CHRISTMAS BALLET
Smuin dancers Terez Dean and Mengjun Chen in The Christmas Song, choreographed by Smuin dancer Erica Felsch, part of Smuin's annual The Christmas Ballet touring the Bay Area now through December 24.

Photo Flash: Smuin Lights Up Bay Area With Annual Holiday Treat THE CHRISTMAS BALLET
Smuin dancers Terez Dean and Mengjun Chen in The Christmas Song, choreographed by Smuin dancer Erica Felsch, part of Smuin's annual The Christmas Ballet touring the Bay Area now through December 24.

Photo Flash: Smuin Lights Up Bay Area With Annual Holiday Treat THE CHRISTMAS BALLET
Smuin dancers Terez Dean and Mengjun Chen with the Company enjoy chestnuts roasting on an open fire in The Christmas Song, choreographed by Smuin dancer Erica Felsch, part of Smuin's annual The Christmas Ballet touring the Bay Area now through December 24.

Photo Flash: Smuin Lights Up Bay Area With Annual Holiday Treat THE CHRISTMAS BALLET
Smuin dancers Terez Dean and Mengjun Chen with the Company enjoy chestnuts roasting on an open fire in The Christmas Song, choreographed by Smuin dancer Erica Felsch, part of Smuin's annual The Christmas Ballet touring the Bay Area now through December 24.

Photo Flash: Smuin Lights Up Bay Area With Annual Holiday Treat THE CHRISTMAS BALLET
Smuin dancers Ben Needham-Wood and Tessa Barbour in Christmas Tree Rock, choreographed by Smuin dancer Rex Wheeler, part of Smuin's annual The Christmas Ballet touring the Bay Area now through December 24.

Photo Flash: Smuin Lights Up Bay Area With Annual Holiday Treat THE CHRISTMAS BALLET
From L-R: Smuin dancers Robert Kretz, Terez Dean, Erica Chipp-Adams, Ben Needham-Wood, Dustin James, Oliver-Paul Adams, and Tessa Barbour in Christmas Tree Rock choreographed by Smuin dancer Rex Wheeler, part of Smuin's annual The Christmas Ballet touring the Bay Area now through December 24.

Photo Flash: Smuin Lights Up Bay Area With Annual Holiday Treat THE CHRISTMAS BALLET
From L-R: Smuin dancers Robert Kretz, Terez Dean, Erica Chipp-Adams, Ben Needham-Wood, Dustin James, Oliver-Paul Adams, and Tessa Barbour in Christmas Tree Rock choreographed by Smuin dancer Rex Wheeler, part of Smuin's annual The Christmas Ballet touring the Bay Area now through December 24.

Photo Flash: Smuin Lights Up Bay Area With Annual Holiday Treat THE CHRISTMAS BALLET
Smuin dancers Ben Needham-Wood (top) and Oliver-Paul Adams (bottom) in Christmas Tree Rock, choreographed by Smuin dancer Rex Wheeler, part of Smuin's annual The Christmas Ballet touring the Bay Area now through December 24.

Photo Flash: Smuin Lights Up Bay Area With Annual Holiday Treat THE CHRISTMAS BALLET
Smuin dancers Ben Needham-Wood (top) and Oliver-Paul Adams (bottom) in Christmas Tree Rock, choreographed by Smuin dancer Rex Wheeler, part of Smuin's annual The Christmas Ballet touring the Bay Area now through December 24.

Photo Flash: Smuin Lights Up Bay Area With Annual Holiday Treat THE CHRISTMAS BALLET
Smuin dancer Nicole Haskins soars in Choreographer-in-Residence Amy Seiwert’s Christmas Concerto, part of Smuin's annual The Christmas Ballet touring the Bay Area now through December 24.

Photo Flash: Smuin Lights Up Bay Area With Annual Holiday Treat THE CHRISTMAS BALLET
Smuin dancers Terez Dean and Nicole Haskins perform in Choreographer-in-Residence Amy Seiwert’s Christmas Concerto, part of Smuin's annual The Christmas Ballet touring the Bay Area now through December 24.

Photo Flash: Smuin Lights Up Bay Area With Annual Holiday Treat THE CHRISTMAS BALLET
Smuin dancer Erica Felsch struts across the stage with the world's longest feather boa in the classic Santa Baby, part of Smuin's annual The Christmas Ballet, touring the Bay Area now through December 24. Photo credit: Keith Sutter

Photo Flash: Smuin Lights Up Bay Area With Annual Holiday Treat THE CHRISTMAS BALLET

Photo Flash: Smuin Lights Up Bay Area With Annual Holiday Treat THE CHRISTMAS BALLET

Photo Flash: Smuin Lights Up Bay Area With Annual Holiday Treat THE CHRISTMAS BALLET

Photo Flash: Smuin Lights Up Bay Area With Annual Holiday Treat THE CHRISTMAS BALLET

Photo Flash: Smuin Lights Up Bay Area With Annual Holiday Treat THE CHRISTMAS BALLET
Smuin dancer Erica Felsch with the men of the Company in the classic Santa Baby, part of Smuin's annual The Christmas Ballet, touring the Bay Area now through December 24. Photo credit: Keith Sutter


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