Smuin Contemporary Ballet‘s 25th season begins this Friday and Saturday in Walnut Creek, with a program honoring the company’s founder, and demonstrating its future. Artistic Director Celia Fushille says along with works by founder Michael Smuin, they’ll dance a bluesy piece by Trey McIntyre, and have three mainstage premieres choreographed by company dancers.
There’s more information about the program at the Smuin website.
“I’ve curated this whole season to be a look back, honoring our foundation, and then looking ahead to what we are doing with contemporary ballet,” says Celia Fushille. The two works by the late Michael Smuin begin with Schubert Scherzo. “Michael’s final work, created in 2007, unfortunately he never saw it premiere on the stage, he passed away just before that. But Schubert Scherzo is a very happy piece of music. So it’s perfect on this program as we kick off this celebration year. It’s for five couples, it’s just a joyful celebration of dance.” And contrasting with that, a pas de deux called The Eternal Idol, “inspired by the sculptures of Rodin. This was a piece that next year will be 50 years old. So we have one of his earlier works, from 1969, and then his final work from 2007, showing the range. It’s an extraordinary piece that starts with the two dancers on a rock, in the formation of the Eternal Idol sculpture. And the dancers come to life, and then they return to the rock at the end of the pas de deux. So it’s… magnificent.” Trey McIntyre’s Blue Until June sets songs of Etta James in a work from 2000, but a company premiere. The second half is made up of pieces by Nicole Haskins and Ben Needham-Wood, currently dancing with the company, and Rex Wheeler, who recently left the company. “These three works were on the 2016 choreography showcase, and I gave these three dancers an opportunity to revisit those works that were created in a workshop setting, and now bring them to the main stage… What delights me about these three pieces is that they’re reminiscent of the spirit that Michael would bring to his works, and the genres in which Michael liked to create… I love it that these three that will comprise the second act, three short works, have a bit of Michael’s spirit in them.”