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    Ballet and Sinatra: A Perfect Match in Michael Smuin’s Rollicking Fly Me to the Moon


    Start spreading the news! Smuin Contemporary Ballet marks its 30th anniversary with a joyful evening that includes Michael Smuin’s beloved Sinatra tribute. An audience and critical favorite since its premiere in 2004, Fly Me to the Moon pays homage to the timeless tunes of Ol’ Blue Eyes, brought to life with Michael’s ineffable Broadway-infused choreography. Fly Me to the Moon will be joined by Zorro! in Smuin Contemporary Ballet’s program, Celebrating Michael Smuin, to be presented for only five performances (February 29–March 3, 2024) at the Blue Shield of California Theater at YBCA.

    Performed against a twinkling backdrop of glowing stars, Fly Me to the Moon is set to warm and witty Sinatra favorites including the dreamy “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” funny and charming “I Won’t Dance,” brash and brassy “That’s Life,” and more, culminating in a full chorus, high kicking “New York, New York” finale.

    From a soft-shoe duet to heroic leaps and dazzling spins, Michael’s playful choreography features classical ballet movement, as well as dance styles ranging from ballet to ballroom and even tap. With Fly Me to the Moon, the company celebrates Michael’s lifelong dedication to expanding the perception of ballet, creating works that would surprise, delight, and inspire.


    A critical and audience favorite, Fly Me to the Moon garnered widespread acclaim for its range of dance styles that perfectly complemented the tunes. San Francisco Classical Voice called the ballet “hard to beat,” declaring Smuin’s dancers “the ring-a-ding greatest.” The San Francisco Chronicle also complimented the work’s artistry, noting, “Look past the pizzazz and you’ll find some rigorous classicism, with challenging turn combinations, nifty footwork, and allegro jumps, well dispatched by all 13 dancers. The piece has moves!” Floating in gorgeous pastel costumes, topped with fedoras reminiscent of the ‘50s, the dancers perfectly showcase Sinatra’s—and Michael’s—panache in this timeless crowd-pleaser.

    Also featured on the program is Zorro!, another brilliant showcase of Michael Smuin’s inimitable pizzazz. The story ballet’s electrifying choreography was declared, “Delicious. Irrepressible. Broadway meets ballet in the greatest terms,” by the San Francisco Chronicle, and a “sword fighting, whip cracking spectacular” by Talkin’ Broadway.


    Celebrating Michael Smuin is dedicated to the memory of the company’s dynamic late founder. A consummate ballet choreographer, as well as a Tony Award-winning Broadway dancemaker, Michael Smuin was equally renowned for his incandescent, jubilant, and sometimes heartbreaking ballets, including his landmark Romeo & Juliet for San Francisco Ballet (broadcast on PBS’ Great Performances), to his magnetic storytelling in works ranging from The Blue Angel to Pinocchio. Michael’s bold, athletic, unexpected choreography expanded the boundaries of traditional ballet, allowing his dancers the chance to shine in works that included everything from tango to tap, soft-shoe to swing, ballroom to Broadway. Boasting a career filled with accolades, Michael Smuin possessed a rare talent.

    The final performance of Celebrating Michael Smuin will be followed by Smuin’s Annual Gala at The St. Regis San Francisco. Arts, community, philanthropic, and civic leaders of San Francisco will mingle with Smuin artistic staff and dancers at this grand celebration hosted by co-chairs John Konstin and Lee D. Baxter along with Smuin’s Board of Trustees and Friends of Smuin host committee.

    This year’s gala will honor Smuin Artistic Director Celia Fushille and her achievements over her 30-year tenure with the company. A founding member of Smuin and its principal dancer for more than 12 years, Fushille has served as Artistic Director of Smuin Contemporary Ballet since 2007. She has built on Michael Smuin’s philosophy to create pieces that merge the diverse vocabularies of classical ballet and contemporary dance, as well as added her voice to Michael’s, creating a unique legacy during her 17-year tenure at the helm. After completing three decades with Smuin, Fushille will step away as Artistic Director at the conclusion of this season in June 2024. For more information on Smuin’s Annual Gala, visit

    Smuin Contemporary Ballet’s Celebrating Michael Smuin will perform February 29–March 3, 2024, at the Blue Shield of California Theater at YBCA (700 Howard St, San Francisco). Tickets are available by calling 415-912-1899 and at

    Arts & Entertainment
    Published on February 22, 2024