Baby, it's cold outside but it'll sizzle around the Bay Area when Smuin Ballet kicks off the holidays with its 2011 edition of THE CHRISTMAS BALLET. The two distinct acts, Classical Christmas and Cool Christmas, are filled to the brim with an eye-catching array of ballet, tap, and jazz, celebrating every imaginable holiday flavor from serene and spiritual, hilarious and hopeful, to downright ready to party. The 2011 Edition includes two world premieres from acclaimed Choreographer in Residence Amy Seiwert and Emmy Award-winning choreographer Robert Sund to accompany time-honored favorites. Single tickets ($25-$62*) are available by calling (415) 556-5000 or visiting www.smuinballet.org. * San Francisco venues only, other venues $49-$62
An ever-changing carousel of mischief and elegance, THE CHRISTMAS BALLET has a diverse set of seasonal offerings that satisfies all tastes. THE CHRISTMAS BALLET, 2011 EDITION will unwrap two world premieres, including one from Amy Seiwert for Classical Christmas, set to Mannheim Steamroller's medley of "Patapan/God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." A former dancer with Smuin Ballet, Seiwert has been choreographing since 1999 and has won numerous awards and critical accolades. Now an internationally-acclaimed choreographer, her works are in the repertory of Smuin Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, American Repertory Ballet, and Carolina Ballet, as well as Ballet Nouveau Colorado, Colorado Ballet, Robert Moses KIN, and Ballet Austin. Robert Sund's soulful addition to Cool Christmas is set to gospel diva Mahalia Jackson's recording of "Oh, Holy Night." Sund began his career as a principal dancer with Pacific Northwest Ballet. Moving on to dance with San Francisco Ballet, he performed soloist and principal roles under the tenure of Michael Smuin, and later Helgi Tomasson. Upon retirement from dancing, Mr. Sund began his career as a choreographer and guest teacher of international acclaim. He has been invited to guest teach and create original works for companies such as Netherlands Dance Theater, Frankfurt Ballet, Ballet Nacional de Cuba, Stuttgart Ballet, ABT Studio Company, the National Ballet of Norway, as well as numerous companies around the United States. He recently worked with director Philip Kaufman on the upcoming HBO film Hemingway & Gellhorn.
The Classical first half of THE CHRISTMAS BALLET, 2011 EDITION heralds the return of several favorites including Michael Smuin's last Christmas Ballet addition, a male solo set to a moving traditional from Spain, "La Virgen Lava Pañales;" two Amy Seiwert originals set to "Carol of the Bells" and "Sleigh Ride;" and an energetic klezmer number where a pretty maiden is courted by leaping yarmulke-capped suitors, among many others. Cool Christmas promises a serenade from the King of Rock'n'Roll; a flirty "Santa Baby;" tap-dancing Christmas Trees; a vacation on "Christmas Island" with some gyrating hula girls and surfer dudes, and more.
Debuting in San Francisco in 1994, Smuin Ballet established itself as one of the Bay Area's most eagerly-watched performing arts companies, as "one of this country's most entertaining, original ballet troupes" (Dance Magazine), and as a dance company of international acclaim, performing to sold-out houses on European tours. Michael Smuin's singular philosophy to create pieces which merge the diverse vocabularies of classical ballet and contemporary dance has served as the company's touchstone since its beginning.
Now at the helm of Smuin Ballet is Artistic and Executive Director Celia Fushille, whose vision includes maintaining and increasing the company's reputation for presenting accessible and innovative repertoire, and attracting new audiences of all ages to the medium. The company has continued to highlight works created by Smuin, both for his own and for other ballet companies, but Fushille also enriches its impressive repertoire with newer choreographic voices, bringing the Bay Area its first look at works by exciting choreographers from around the world, as well as developing world premieres by company members.
Toys for Tots and Santa's Sweets
In the true spirit of the holiday season, Smuin Ballet continues its relationship with the Toys for Tots program by offering an opportunity at each of its venues to celebrate kindness and encourage generosity. Toy donors who bring a new, unwrapped toy to the box office will receive 25% off every ticket he or she purchases for any of the following performance dates: 8pm November 26 in Walnut Creek, 8pm December 2 in Carmel, 8pm December 10 in Mountain View, and 7pm December 18 in San Francisco. The toys will be distributed by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves to needy children during the holidays.
Youngsters will get a "Sweet Santa" surprise: Santa Claus will be waiting in the lobby to greet the young and young at heart with complimentary sweets and beverages after the following performance dates: 2pm November 26 in Walnut Creek, 2pm December 3 in Carmel, 2pm December 10 in Mountain View, and 2pm December 17 in San Francisco.