Smuin Brings Etta James, Rodin & More To Carmel & Mountain View
Smuin continues its 25th anniversary season with Dance Series 01, a dazzling program that pushes the boundaries of contemporary ballet. Acclaimed dancemaker Trey McIntyre returns to Smuin with Blue Until June, a thrilling tribute to Etta James. Continuing Smuin's long-time dedication to fostering new talent within the company is a trio of groundbreaking works first developed in Smuin's Choreography Showcase: Merely Players by Smuin dancer Nicole Haskins, Reflection by Smuin dancer Ben Needham-Wood, and Sinfonietta by former Smuin dancer Rex Wheeler. Dance Series 01 will also include Michael Smuin's timeless Schubert Scherzo, an effervescent dance set to Schubert's sprightly C-Major Symphony and The Eternal Idol, Michael Smuin's romantic pas de deux inspired by Auguste Rodin's iconic sculptures. Dance Series 01 will be presented February 1-2 at the Sunset Center in Carmel and February 21-24 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets ($58-$76) are available by calling the individual venues (see below for details) or visiting www.smuinballet.org.
This program debuted in San Francisco last fall and was hailed as a "delight" and "meltingly lyrical" by the San Francisco Chronicle. Dance Series 01 features the return of acclaimed choreographer Trey McIntyre with Blue Until June. This sultry dance set to the heart-wrenching vocals of blues legend Etta James is McIntyre's third collaboration with Smuin, which also commissioned his hit Oh, Inverted World and the Summer of Love celebration Be Here Now. Hailed by The New York Times as "one of the most important choreographers working today," McIntyre has produced more than 100 pieces during his career, and his work has been lauded for its "true artistry" by the San Francisco Examiner and "witty physicality" by the San Francisco Chronicle. The Palm Beach Post called Blue Until June an "eye-opener" that "beautifully captures the innate desperation of the blues."
Also on the program is a trio of works by current and former Smuin dancers, originally developed in Smuin Choreography Showcases. Merely Players offers a groundbreaking piece by Smuin dancer Nicole Haskins set to pop music. Now in her sixth season at Smuin, Haskin's talent has established her as both a standout dancer and choreographer. Reflection is an emotive dance choreographed by Smuin dancer Ben Needham-Wood, who has created a number of memorable works for the company. Most recently, he received a Northern California Regional Emmy Award (2018) for his role in producing, writing, and choreographing "BaseBallet: Into the Game," a documentary promoting the athleticism of dance. Rounding out the trio is Sinfonietta by Rex Wheeler, who retired from the company at the end of last season. Born in London, Wheeler performed with Birmingham Royal Ballet and, on several occasions, for the Royal Family before joining Smuin in 2015. As a choreographer, he has created works for organizations across the country.
Returning to celebrate Michael Smuin's brilliant choreography are Schubert Scherzo and The Eternal Idol, two lauded works from the founder revived for the company's 25th anniversary season. Set to Schubert's sprightly C-Major Symphony, the joyous Schubert Scherzo was called "a clear statement of [Smuin's] legacy, at its best" by The New York Times. The Eternal Idol, originally created for American Ballet Theatre in 1969, is a sensuous pas de deux set to the slow movement of Chopin's F Minor Piano Concerto.
For 25 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.
For more information call (650) 903-6000 or www.smuinballet.org. Tickets ($58-$75).