Smuin Contemporary American Ballet brings a trio of works set to classical pieces to Mountain View: Michael Smuin’s response to 9/11 called Stabat Mater, using Dvorak’s setting of the text; Indigo, from choreographer Stanton Welch (Vivaldi cello concertos); and Madness, Rack, and Honey by Garret Ammon (Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante.) Artistic Director Celia Fushille gives a preview.
There’s more information at the Smuin website about the performances, which open this Thursday in Mountain View before going to Carmel later in March.
Celia Fushille says the company’s founder, the late Michael Smuin decided to abandon a work to music by Schubert in favor of the Dvorak after the 9/11 attacks. “He was just so devastated, as we were as a nation, and thinking about why are the arts relevant? The Stabat Mater is Latin for ‘sorrowing mother’, and thinking of the Virgin Mary, watching her suffering son on the cross. But Michael just intended it to represent all of the people that lost a loved one, whether it was a child, a son, a fiancée, a husband, a spouse. And so he was just intending it to represent all of those people that were lost.” Indigo is the first work by Stanton Welch that the company has performed. He’s the Artistic Director of Houston Ballet, and chose Vivaldi for the score. “There are whimsical moments and humorous moments,” says Fushille, “but just really solid dancing on top of that.” The unusual title of the world premiere by Garret Ammon comes from a book of poetry lectures by Mary Ruefle he encounterd at a literary retreat. “He borrowed the title, because he thought it applied to dance. We’re mad about our art form, we put ourselves on the rack to stretch, stretch our feet, and the work that it takes, and then… Like the arts, it’s sweet as honey. So he just thought this is such a perfect title.”