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    Smuin Ballet Celebrates Silver Anniversary with Rousing Season Finale

    Smuin Contemporary Ballet concludes its quarter-century celebration with a tribute to founder Michael Smuin, presenting a selection of his vibrant, witty and exuberant works set to the music of George and Ira Gershwin, Peggy Lee, Nat King Cole and others. The tribute will be a highlight of Dance Series 02 that will launch with shows at San Francisco’s YBCA Theater (April 26–May 5), then will tour to Walnut Creek (May 17–18), Mountain View (May 23–26) and Carmel (May 31–June 1).

    The tribute, The Best of Smuin, will offer a cavalcade of Michael’s dazzling works dating back to the inaugural 1994 program Dances with Songs, as well as selections from Smuin’s much lauded ballets Carmina Burana, Frankie and Johnny and others. It will be a fabulous showcase packed with Smuin’s signature razzle-dazzle, visually stunning effects and trademark twists. Altogether the program presents a heartfelt tribute to the company’s dynamic founder, who was a Tony and Emmy award-winning choreographer. His storied career ranged from classical ballet, Broadway, television, films and more.

    Acclaimed choreographer Amy Seiwert returns to Smuin for this memorable occasion with a powerful World Premiere titled “Renaissance.” The strength and versatility of Smuin’s dancers, highlighted by Seiwert’s breathtaking choreography, beautifully complements the empowering a cappella soundtrack of Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble, the acclaimed Oakland-based group that specializes in the techniques of traditional and contemporary Balkan, Slavic and Caucasian vocal styling.

     

    In creating this work, Seiwert drew inspiration from the women’s protest in India on January 1, 2019. Millions of women joined hands to form a 385-mile “wall” in Kerala to create awareness of gender equality, and to protest a religious ban that prevented women of childbearing age from entering one of the country’s sacred Hindu temples.

    Seiwert was mentored by Michael Smuin for eight of her nine years as a dancer at the company, becoming Smuin’s Choreographer in Residence upon her retirement from dancing in 2008, a position that she held until 2018. As a choreographer, she has pushed the boundaries of dance, collaborating with artists of other disciplines and experimenting with all of its various forms and expressions from a classical base—making her an invaluable voice in the Bay Area dance community. Now Artistic Director of Sacramento Ballet, Seiwert returns to help Smuin celebrate this milestone anniversary with a stunning new piece featuring her signature choreography.

    For 25 years, Smuin has expanded the boundaries of contemporary ballet, engaging and delighting audiences with uncommon physicality and expression. The company remains committed to creating work that merges the diverse vocabularies of classical ballet and contemporary dance. 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.

     

    This festive anniversary season finale pays homage to the brilliant works of its founder, and the legacy he has created. More information and tickets for Smuin’s Dance Series 02 can be found online ( http://www.smuinballet.org/ ) or by calling 415-912-1899.