This is the 25th anniversary season for Smuin Ballet – and only slightly younger is their holiday tradition, The Christmas Ballet. Artistic Director Celia Fushille says she wanted to make sure company founder Michael Smuin was well represented in the lineup, which also includes two new works, by Rex Wheeler and Erica Felsch. Performances are at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts through Christmas Eve.
There’s more information at the Smuin Ballet website.
Celia Fushille says each half of the performance has its own character: “The first act, the ‘Classical Christmas’ is in pristine white with beautiful silk-satin swags in the theater. The dancers are in all white. It’s a very pristine look, and the dancers, being very proud of their classical heritage, get to show off their classical technique. And then in the second act, the ‘Cool Christmas’ is all in bright red. And they get to show off their fun side and have a good time.” So while you are likely to find Bach, Mozart and Handel in the first half, you’re just as likely (even more so) to hear Elvis crooning ‘Blue Christmas’ and Eartha Kitt’s ‘Santa Baby’ in the second. “Over the years, other choreographers have added pieces to it, and it’s the beauty of the Christmas Ballet that it changes every year. We have brand new things coming in, some things that we put away on the shelf, it’s like bringing back a wardrobe after ten years, and it’s back in fashion!” In the two new pieces, Rex Wheeler, who’s a former dancer with the company, created a dance for two men to an orchestral arrangement of ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,’ and current dancer Erica Felsch turned to Judy Garland’s ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.’ “She has a real sense of nostalgia,” Fushille says about the piece Meet Me in the City for Christmas. “And what she brings to her choreography are a lot of memories. And she must be thinking of her mother, who’s beautiful and elegant. And It’s a lovely romantic addition to the second act.”