From premieres by international choreographers to new surprises in its fiercely festive holiday program, Smuin Contemporary Ballet promises a stellar lineup for its 22/23 season. The company’s 29th season features a World Premiere by acclaimed Cuban choreographer Osnel Delgado, a jazzy Take Five by Rex Wheeler set to the music of Dave Brubeck, and Requiem for a Rose from renowned choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. Two new works created by female choreographers will lead Smuin’s spring program—a world premiere by Amy Seiwert, and a company premiere by rising dancemaker Katarzyna (Kate) Skarpetowska—in addition to Michael Smuin’s striking Dream and Val Caniparoli’s ingenious Swipe. Smuin’s The Christmas Ballet returns for the holiday season, touring the Bay Area with its signature collection of festive classics and inventive premieres. Smuin’s programs will be presented in San Francisco, Walnut Creek, Mountain View, and Carmel. After a three-year hiatus, Smuin’s Choreography Showcase also makes its triumphant return to live performances at the Smuin Center for Dance, offering audiences a treasure trove of world premieres created by Company artists. For subscriptions ($90-$215) or more information, the public may call (415) 912-1899 or visit www.smuinballet.org. Single tickets go on sale in August.
Smuin’s 22/23 season, unveiled by Artistic Director Celia Fushille, launches in September 2022 with Dance Series 1. This invigorating program will introduce Cuban choreographer Osnel Delgado to the Bay Area with a vibrant world premiere. Also on the bill is Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s wildly acclaimed Requiem for a Rose, whose return has been eagerly awaited by dance fans since its West Coast premiere by Smuin five years ago. Audience will also get a jazzy look at Take Five set to music by Dave Brubeck by Rex Wheeler, the former Smuin dancer who made international headlines in 2022 as Lady Camden on “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Smuin’s popular The Christmas Ballet returns for the holiday season, performed once again at theaters in Walnut Creek, Mountain View, San Francisco, and Carmel. Smuin’s Choreography Showcase, an opportunity for audiences to experience world premieres choreographed by Company artists, will return to live performances at the Smuin Center for Dance after two years. In the spring, Dance Series 2 will close out Smuin’s 29th season with a world premiere by Bay Area choreographer (and former Smuin dancer and choreographer-in-residence) Amy Seiwert, as well as the company premiere of rising dancemaker Kate Skarpetowska’s Sextette, Michael Smuin’s evocative Dream, and Val Caniparoli’s playful Swipe.
Dance Series 1
World Premiere by Osnel Delgado
Requiem for a Rose by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa
Take Five by Rex Wheeler
Smuin presents a World Premiere by brilliant Cuban choreographer Osnel Delgado, to be set on the Smuin company artists. Artistic Director Celia Fushille glimpsed Delgado’s work in Cuba ten years ago and has labored ever since to bring his work to San Francisco audiences—a collaboration originally scheduled for 2020 but derailed by the pandemic. Delgado’s work expresses the passion, cultural blending, and uncertainty that define life in Cuba and beyond, with inspiration drawn from the country’s rich and varied dance traditions-from Afro-Cuban rhythms to beloved Cuban ballet culture, to its vibrant modern dance scene. Also on the bill is Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Requiem for a Rose, called “Intriguing. Brilliant. A meditation on the nature of love,” by the San Francisco Chronicle. Set to what many consider to be Schubert’s most romantic string adagio, from the Quintet in C, Requiem for a Rose examines the difference between the ephemeral nature of romance and the enduring devotion of love. Finally, the music of jazz legend Dave Brubeck will come alive in Take Five by former Company member Rex Wheeler, who recently gained fame as the first runner-up on the 2022 season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” An exuberant tribute to the jazz icon, Wheeler’s piece offers a charming and colorful set of inventive and surprising movements to match the landmark jazz standard.
Dates and Locations
September 16-18, 2022: Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View
September 23-October 2, 2022: Cowell Theater, 2 Marina Blvd., San Francisco
October 7-8, 2022: Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek
The Christmas Ballet
Choreography by Michael Smuin and guest choreographers
Smuin’s joyful holiday tradition returns to spread yuletide cheer with its signature showcase of classical and contemporary dances set to delightfully festive tunes. The Christmas Ballet will kick off the holidays with two acts featuring the best of both worlds: beautiful classical ballet set to beloved carols, and red-hot contemporary numbers set to pop favorites. With the surprise unwrapping of new treats each year, this charming medley of dances incorporates a variety of styles including ballet, tap, jazz, and more. Smuin’s yuletide spectacular was declared “sheer joy…the finest toast to the season” by the San Francisco Chronicle. The LGBTQ+ Night performance of Smuin’s irrepressible holiday classic will also return December 20, featuring a twist on the annual holiday tradition with delightful surprises that add camp, culture, and miles of cheer to The Christmas Ballet.
Dates and Locations
November 19-20, 2022: Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek
December 1-4, 2022: Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View
December 9-10, 2022: Sunset Center, San Carlos Street at 9th Ave., Carmel-by-the-Sea
December 14-24, 2022: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard St., San Francisco
Smuin continues its inspiring tradition of encouraging company dancers to explore their creativity in its Choreography Showcase, an opportunity for audiences to experience a treasure trove of stunning world premieres ranging from humorous to heartfelt. The program returns to live performances after two years, presented in the intimate setting of Smuin’s home base in Potrero Hill.
Dates and Locations
February 22-26, 2023: Smuin Center for Dance, 1830 17 St, San Francisco
Dance Series 2
World Premiere by Amy Seiwert
Sextette by Kate Skarpetowska
Dream by Michael Smuin
Swipe by Val Caniparoli
Smuin’s season finale is headlined by soaring works that highlight the company’s artistry and depth of talent, including two new works created by women. Smuin will unveil the newest World Premiere by Amy Seiwert, as well as the company premiere of Sextette by Kate Skarpetowska, a choreographer named one of “25 to Watch” by Dance Magazine. Originally choreographed on Smuin artists for the National Choreographers Initiative in 2021, the whimsical piece is set to Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor.” This impressive mixed repertory program continues with Michael Smuin’s stirring Dream, a pas de deux set to “Romanza” from Chopin’s “Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11.” Originally commissioned as an anniversary gift by a devoted Smuin patron, Dream will be seen for the first time in two decades. Rounding out the bill is Val Caniparoli’s Swipe, a highly technical piece for four men and three women set to a remix of “String Quartet No. 2” by Gabriel Prokofiev, grandson of Sergei Prokofiev. A classically trained composer known for electronic and hip-hop music, Prokofiev’s music compliments the pulsing energy of Caniparoli’s blend of classical and contemporary movement.
Dates and Locations
April 28-29, 2023: Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek
May 5-14, 2023: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard St., San Francisco
May 25-28, 2023: Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View
For more than 25 years Smuin has expanded the boundaries of contemporary ballet, 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.
All programs are subject to change.