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Smuin Adds 'Class For A Cause' Benefiting Wildfire Relief and More to Virtual Classes

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The next Class for a Cause will take place September 25.

Since launching in April, Smuin Contemporary Ballet has led hundreds of aspiring and professional dancers through Zoom-based drop-in Virtual Classes in ballet, tap, contemporary, jazz, hip hop, dance-based fitness and more. Taught by Smuin dancers and alumni, the latest extension of these popular classes for all levels of at-home dancers includes the addition of "Easy Movin' with Smuin" aimed at seniors and anyone interested in focusing on balance and coordination. Smuin also announces the continuation of its Class for a Cause program benefiting organizations supporting important needs in the community.

The next Class for a Cause: Together Orr Apart, a special contemporary class for individuals or couples taught by husband-and-wife duo Terez Dean Orr and John Speed Orr, will take place September 25 with proceeds benefiting the California Community Foundation's Wildfire Relief Fund. Smuin's Virtual Classes will be extended through October 31 (see schedule below). Classes are offered on a sliding scale from $6 - $20, and students must register 30 minutes in advance to receive a Zoom link to participate. For more information or to register, the public may visit

Smuin Ballet Master Amy London was asked by Artistic Director Celia Fushille to spearhead the efforts to launch Smuin's class programs, which offer a diverse array of dance styles. London has been Smuin's Ballet Master for 12 years, and with more than two decades of experience as a dance educator and program director she was ideally suited to create Smuin's program. Regarding Class for a Cause, London said, "We want to use our art to continue to positively impact issues that are important to our community." In solidarity with the national focus on Black Lives Matter, the company donated all class tuition revenue from June 2 to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Proceeds from Class for a Cause events have also benefited the African American Art and Culture Complex, Center for Black Equity, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Class for a Cause

All proceeds for Class for a Cause will go towards positively impacting issues and supporting important organizations in the community.

Together Orr Apart

Fri 5pm (Sept 25)
Teacher: Terez Dean Orr, John Speed Orr
In this session's Class for a Cause, individual or coupled up dancers can join married company artists Terez Dean Orr and John Speed Orr for a fun beginning/intermediate contemporary class. The Orrs will lead students through a warm-up, working their way into Contemporary movement phrases that will be rewarding danced as a solo Orr duet. Movement will be inspired by their dance film projects created during shelter-in-place. All proceeds from this Class for a Cause will benefit the California Community Foundation's Wildfire Relief Fund.

Ballet Classes

Three levels of ballet taught by current and former Smuin company dancers are on offer this session.

Beginning Adult Ballet

Tues 9:30am, Wed/Thurs 5pm, Sat 10:15am
Teachers: Tess Lane, Mengjun Chen, Brennan Wall, Ian Buchanan
Adults who have always wanted to try a Ballet class can join Smuin artists for fun and approachable classes which will guide students through the fundamentals, and continue to build on work from previous sessions. For best progression, a minimum of two classes per week is recommended.

Beginning/Intermediate Adult Ballet

Mon/Wed 10am
Teachers: Valerie Harmon
These classes are geared toward adult dancers with some prior dance experience. Those looking for a greater challenge than beginner-level classes can sign up for this class, which focuses on fundamental Ballet technique through barre work followed by a short (small space) center practice.

Intermediate Adult Ballet

Mon/Wed 6:15pm, Sat 11:45am
Teachers: Terez Dean Orr, Tess Lane, Brennan Wall, Mengjun Chen
These classes will focus on continuing to strengthen technique with barre, and some center work.

Intermediate Pointe

Tues 6:15pm
Teacher: Lauren Pschirrer
These classes begin with strengthening and stabilizing exercises followed by pointe work, structured to safely continue pointe training at home. This class is for dancers 13 years and older with at least two years of previous pointe training.

Dance Variety

Versatility and excellence in a wide range of dance styles is a trademark of Smuin and its multi-talented artists. Students are invited to try one class, sample a variety of styles, or enroll in a series.

Beginning Hip Hop

Mon 4pm
Teacher: Ben Needham-Wood
Adults who have always wanted to find their Hip Hop rhythm can join Needham-Wood, who will teach a variety of new moves during a quick warm-up, followed by a fun and original combo.

Beginning/Intermediate Broadway Jazz

Sun 4pm, Tues 4pm
Teacher: Weston Krukow
Smuin alum Krukow has spent his time post-Smuin on national and international tours of Broadway's "An American in Paris." Students can join in the fun and bring a dance story to life with a class that brings Broadway style straight to their homes. The second class on Tuesdays is a continuation of the material begun on Sundays. This class has been renamed from Musical Theater to better reflect the dance emphasis; the class content has not changed.

Beginning/Intermediate Tap

Tues/Thurs 5pm
Teacher: Tessa Barbour
With or without the shoes, students can "tap" into their inner Fred Astaire or Ginger Rogers, learning fun new rhythms and dance steps from Smuin's resident tapper extraordinaire.

Beginning/Intermediate Character

Thurs 6:15pm
Teacher: Mengjun Chen
Back by popular demand! Students will learn the highly stylized flavor and theatrics of Character dance, a style that draws influences from traditional folk and national dances.

Intermediate/Advanced Contemporary

Mon 5pm
Teacher: Cassidy Isaacson
Combining elements of modern dance, ballet, jazz and cultural dance, Contemporary is a movement style where every creative outcome is possible.

Fri-Yay! Dance Break (All Levels)

Fri 4pm (Sept 18, Oct 2, Oct 16, Oct 30)
Teacher: Ben Needham-Wood
This energetic bi-weekly class offers fun for the whole family. All ages are welcome to get their bodies moving and their spirit energized in a joyful hour of dance appropriate for "any body." A great way to end the week with a smile and start the weekend off on the right (or left) foot.

Dance-Based Fitness


Sat 9am
Teacher: Lauren Pschirrer
A full-body workout designed to build strength, improve coordination, balance, control and endurance throughout the body, through specifically designed exercises. Emphasis placed on proper alignment, the importance of the breath, and developing a strong core. Modification for all levels and experience.

Easy Movin' with Smuin

Thurs 10am
Teacher: Valerie Harmon
This low-intensity class features full body exercises for seniors or anyone wanting to focus on balance, stability, range of motion, and coordination, plus a short phrase of movement set to music. The entire class may be enjoyed seated or standing, and additional options will be given to add light resistance work. Optional equipment includes: a towel or belt, and light weights such as soup cans, milk containers, or hardcover books.

Stretch & Strengthen

Wed 11:30am
Teacher: Valerie Harmon
Pilates-based exercises and full body stretching to strengthen and lengthen! A great way to augment any style of dance by strengthening core muscles and increasing flexibility. Modifications for all levels of experience.

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