Smuin Closes 24th Season With 'Dance Series 02' Featuring Val Caniparoli World Premiere IF I WERE A SUSHI ROLL

Smuin Closes 24th Season With 'Dance Series 02' Featuring Val Caniparoli World Premiere IF I WERE A SUSHI ROLL

Smuin closes another successful and innovative season with Dance Series 02, featuring the world premiere of If I Were a Sushi Roll by internationally renowned choreographer Val Caniparoli. Created on Smuin's famously versatile and athletic dancers, this fascinating piece weaves a captivating movement narrative set to a compelling soundtrack of contemporary classical baroque. Back by popular demand is Helen Pickett's sensual Oasis, the highly acclaimed big-concept ballet set to a soaring original score by famed Emmy Award-winning "House of Cards" composer Jeff Beal. An ode to the abundant beauty and powerful transformative ability of this life-giving essence, the seven-part piece was described as "lush" and "beautifully performed" by The Mercury News upon its world premiere with Smuin in spring 2016. Rounding out the bill is a long-awaited reprisal of Amy Seiwert's visually stunning Falling Up, an intimate exploration of strength and trust between partners set to the music of Brahms. Smuin tours the Bay Area with its Dance Series 02 program beginning with shows in San Francisco (April 20-29), continuing in Walnut Creek (May 11-12) and Mountain View (May 24-27), and finishing in Carmel (June 1-2). Tickets ($32-$79) are available by calling the individual venues (see below for details) or visiting www.smuinballet.org.

Acclaimed choreographer Val Caniparoli draws on the capacious skill set of Smuin's multitalented dancers for his world premiere of If I Were a Sushi Roll, a playful and inventive new piece that melds his choreographic singularity with the distinctive musical stylings of American contemporary classical composer Nico Muhly and Faroese singer/songwriter Teitur. Selections from their 2016 album "Confessions," in which they collaborated with Dutch ensemble Holland Baroque, provide an irresistible backdrop for Caniparoli's new cutting-edge ballet. One of the most performed choreographers in the world, he was last seen at Smuin with the witty Tutto Eccetto il Lavandino (everything but the kitchen sink), which the San Francisco Chronicle praised for "miraculously timed [and] magic" choreography. Prior to this, his ballet Swipe received its West Coast premiere with Smuin in 2012, earning praise for its "impeccable timing" and "gorgeous dancing" by The Mercury News. Caniparoli has contributed to the repertoires of more than 45 dance companies, including Pacific Northwest Ballet, Boston Ballet, 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 began his career at San Francisco Ballet under the co-artistic directorship of Lew Christensen and Michael Smuin.

Also on the bill is Oasis, a visually stunning collaboration between Helen Pickett and "House of Cards" composer Jeff Beal returning to dazzle audiences with its vivid choreography, lush musical score, and exquisite lighting, set design, and projections. Inspired by the idea of water in its many forms, Oasis celebrates the various incarnations and implications of this precious resource. Complemented by the swells and retreats of Beal's original score, the ballet evoked sentiments such as "stirring and gorgeously dispatched" and "impeccable" by the San Francisco Chronicle upon its world premiere with Smuin in 2016. The Company has also presented Pickett's Petal, which earned both the choreographer and Smuin rave reviews from The Mercury News ("Visually silken [and] vivid!") and The Huffington Post ("Heart-stopping. Delightful. Radiant.") Impressed by the Company's work ethic, Pickett was eager to return. Of Smuin's dancers, she said: "They're hungry dancers, wicked smart and curious...I really enjoy that in a dancer." Pickett has created dances on companies around the world including Boston Ballet, Washington Ballet, Louisville Ballet, Ballet X, Royal Ballet of Flanders, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and Scottish Ballet, among many others.

Rounding out this dynamic trio of pieces is Falling Up by Amy Seiwert, returning a decade after its debut. Created under the generous spirit and encouragement of Michael Smuin, and the final ballet he saw Seiwert create, the piece graced the Company's mainstage in 2007-thrusting Seiwert into the spotlight as "one of the country's most exciting young dance makers" (San Francisco Chronicle). Set to a glorious Brahms piano score, Seiwert's trademark sculptural movement and intimate partnering was immediately hailed as both an audience and critical sensation. The reprisal of this tender ballet exploring the strength and trust between partners concludes Seiwert's long-time post as Smuin's Choreographer-in-Residence, as she leaves the Bay Area to become Artistic Director of Sacramento Ballet.

For more than 20 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.

Daily Newspaper and Online Media sponsor for Smuin's 2017/2018 season is the San Francisco Chronicle/SFGate.com.

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