Smuin Contemporary Ballet concludes its 28th season with the dynamic program, Dance Series 2: PS Forever Smuin, featuring four diverse ballets from established dancers and rising choreographic voices, with performances in San Francisco, Mountain View and Carmel.
Audiences will be delighted with the return of acclaimed dancer Val Caniparoli’s Playful Confessions, an inventive work that weaves a captivating narrative to a compelling soundtrack by the contemporary American classical composer Nico Muhly and Faroese singer/songwriter Teitur. Also on view is Amy Seiwert’s Rebirth, a powerful dance loosely inspired by India’s 385-mile “women’s wall” protest to raise awareness for gender equality, set to an uplifting a cappella soundtrack by Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble of Oakland. Smuin Artists Tessa Barbour and Brennan Wall will also expand on their creations featured in the 2021 Choreography Showcase and last spring’s “Smuin al Fresco” program, premiering these new works on the company’s main stage.
This program will also be offered as an on-demand virtual streaming option from the end of May and for several weeks. Dance Series 2: PS Forever Smuin will tour the Bay Area starting with shows in San Francisco (April 29-May 7), continuing in Mountain View (May 19-22) and ending in Carmel (May 27-28). Tickets ($25 to $84) are available by calling individual venues (see below for details) or visiting www.smuinballet.org.
Confessions by acclaimed dancer Val Caniparoli will be revived for Dance Series 2. Originally titled If I Were a Sushi Roll, the nine-part dance was the second work commissioned from Caniparoli by Smuin’s artistic director, Celia Fushille, which premiered in the spring of 2018. The compelling soundtrack of American Composer of Contemporary Classical Music Nico Muhly and Faroese singer/songwriter Teitur – with selections from their 2016 album ‘Confessions’, in which they collaborated with Dutch ensemble Holland Baroque – provide an irresistible backdrop for Caniparoli’s avant-garde ballet. The playful work was titled “Witty. Truly, madly, funny and spirit-tingling” by the San Francisco Chronicle, and “fresh and vibrant, a welcome reality in these days when dance fans ponder the future of ballet “, by the San Francisco Examiner. Caniparoli began her career at the San Francisco Ballet under the artistic co-direction of Lew Christensen and Michael Smuin. One of the world’s most performed choreographers, he has contributed to the repertoires of over 45 dance companies, including the San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Boston Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Ballet West, the Israel Ballet, the Singapore Dance Theater and South Africa’s State Theater Ballet, among others.
Amy Seiwert’s powerful Renaissance returns, showcasing the strength and versatility of Smuin’s performers with her jaw-dropping choreography, which beautifully complements the Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble a cappella soundtrack. The renowned Oakland-based a cappella group, specializing in traditional and contemporary Balkan, Slavic and Caucasian vocal style techniques, has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts, Chorus America and the American Choral Directors’ Association. In creating this artwork, Seiwert was inspired by the women’s protest in India that took place on January 1, 2019. Millions of women joined to form a 385-mile ‘wall’ in Kerala to raise awareness of the gender equality and to protest against a religious ban that prevented women of childbearing age from entering one of the country’s sacred Hindu temples. The piece was warmly received by critics, including the San Francisco Chronicle, which described Renaissance as “a wonderfully liquid new work” that “shown the athleticism, lyrical grace, expressiveness and overall cohesion of dancers”, hailing the piece as “Dynamic”. Inventive, sinuous. The Renaissance has a certain serious and timeless side.” Seiwert was mentored by Michael Smuin for eight of her nine years as a dancer with the company. Artistic Director Celia Fushille appointed her as Smuin’s first choreographer-in-residence after his retirement from dance in 2008. As a choreographer, Seiwert has pushed the boundaries of dance, collaborating with artists from other disciplines and experimenting with all its diverse forms and expressions from a classical base, making her an invaluable voice in the Bay Area dance community. Her signature choreography has been described by the San Francisco Chronicle as “keeping the founder Michael SmuinThe legacy of shameless showmanship lives on!”
Faithful to Fushille’s desire to bring out choreographic voices within the company, two artists have been invited to flesh out the works created last season. A classic duo of Tessa Barbour on Tchaikovsky, performed for the first time in the open air in last spring’s “Smuin al Fresco” series, has now been extended to a work for three couples. Also featured is Brennan Wall’s Untwine, a contemporary pas de deux featuring Cassidy Isaacson in partnership with Brandon Alexander, which was featured in Smuin’s 2021 choreography showcase. The expanded work will include four couples.
This program will be offered as an on-demand virtual streaming option, starting in late May and continuing for several weeks.