What’s your favorite Halloween costume? Smuin Ballet has a long history of crazy costumes over 20 years of performances. Check out these photos–plus some stories from our Company Manager JoEllen Arntz–in the captions below!
Originally performed by Artistic Director Celia Fushille in the first Christmas Ballet in 1995, the lead of La Calandria has been danced by Resident Choreographer Amy Seiwert and many others. The cape is an original hand-painted silk item from the 1990’s, and the streamers that close the work cost $13 apiece.
Danza de Jalisco premiered in 1998 as a trio featuring Ballet Master Amy London. The costume designers specialized in carnival outfits, not ballet costumes. One designer drew a line and “buttons” down the front of each unitard with a marker to make them look like shirts. The chaps are real–no butt included!
The Smuin favorite Droopy Little Christmas Tree tap dance usually ends with a blackout and the sound of chainsaws–except in 2004! Michael Smuin added a lumberjack (John DeSerio) that chased the trees around. The woodsman was cut from the piece after a few shows, but the costume and props are still in the warehouse!
Smuin Ballet Company Manager JoEllen Arntz was the first Frosty the Snowman, from 1997-2002. When Pedro Gamino took on the role, Michael Smuin added more shtick–like Frosty sunbathing on Christmas Island, with a beach towel, sunglasses and all!
Christmas Island was added to The Christmas Ballet in 1997, and was choreographed for three women. One day in rehearsal, David Strobbe danced the piece as a joke–but Michael Smuin loved it! Strobbe performed in the number several times during the 2004 season.
Michael Smuin’s Zorro! featured many costumes unique to the legendary masked avenger as well as plenty of Spanish American flair. The iconic Zorro cloak (designed by Ann Beck) is made out of wool with a satin lining. Three Zorro capes were made for this production–one for the lead, and two for characters pretending to be the caped swordsman.
Michael Smuin’s Dancing with Gershwin (2001) is a spectacle of dance featuring American pop music, shamelessly entertaining movement and brilliant costumes from Willa Kim. Marilyn’s sexy extravagance continues to be a hit with Smuin audiences!
The finest of the early 60’s paraded onstage in Fly Me to the Moon. Full of shiny vests, full-skirted velvet dresses and pastel fedoras characterize this classic romp blends suave Sinatra melodies with enchanting dances. See if you can spot a young Celia Fushille, Smuin Ballet’s Artistic Director!
Michael Smuin’s classical adagio Starshadows premiered in 1997. The women’s mesh leotards don’t have fastenings–they had to be sewn in around the waist for every show! The men’s costume shifted over years of performances from pleather leggings to velvet shorts. Talk about a memorable outfit!
Michael Smuin’s “steamy mambo ballet” Frankie & Johnny premiered in 1996–and has been repeated several times using the same costumes. The pinstripe zoot suit is disintegrating at the shoulders, cuffs and neckline to show the lining beneath–Company Manager JoEllen Arntz colored in the spaces with a marker for the 2014 performance!
Which Smuin Ballet costume is your favorite? Relive the magic of Halloween and share your best costume with us!
After a five year hiatus, we are delighted to welcome back Choreographer Ma Cong to showcase his piece French Twist for Dance Series One this fall. The dancers have enjoyed working with Ma in the studio, where he continues to amaze and inspire us all with his unique dance language. Only three dancers who performed his original work five years ago were familiar with his style, and now the entire company tackles Ma’s exact movements with the precision and speed required. Using the music of the late French composer Hugues Le Bars who composed much of his music for film, Ma captures the humor and playfulness reminiscent of cartoons. French Twist is also suffused with the subtle elements of classical Chinese dance, learned from Ma’s many years training at the Beijing Academy of Dance. Ma bonded with one of our new additions to the company, Mengjun Chen, who also studied at the academy in Beijing.
Ma’s career as a choreographer first launched in 2004, creating Folia with Tulsa Ballet. Since then, Ma has created original works for Houston Ballet, BalletMet, Ballet Florida, Smuin Ballet, Richmond Ballet, Ballet Nouveau Colorado, Ballet Des Moines, among many others. In 2010, Ma choreographed an original piece entitled Calling for Houston Ballet II and was described by Houston’s En Pointe as having “swiftly risen to become one of America’s most exciting choreographers.” In March 2013, Ma was honored as one of the three winning choreographers for Joffrey Ballet’s Choreographers of Color Awards. Ma is the Resident Choreographer of Tulsa Ballet and continues to be in demand worldwide for his choreographic creations.
Enjoy the video below of Ma Cong and the Smuin dancers in rehearsal from his most recent visit with us. Be sure to join us in revisiting his work live for Dance Series One, opening September 18 in Walnut Creek.
We’re looking for a Communications Manager to join our fabulous team! This is a great opportunity to be a part of one of Northern California’s leading non-profit dance companies, with rewarding work and a dedicated group of colleagues that make up the Smuin family.
This role takes ownership of Smuin Ballet’s social media strategy and community outreach, functioning as an ambassador for the organization. Overall, the social media role includes developing and executing an integrated strategy through various channels to drive audience retention, engagement, and traffic to all Company sites. All campaigns will strive to build awareness to market the Company and engage new audiences. The Communications Manager will also develop ongoing relationships with key opinion leaders and media to ensure significant ideas in the cultural landscape are identified and incorporated into the communications strategy.
This position requires 3 years of experience in marketing and/or advertising. The successful candidate will have significant knowledge of the dance industry, as well as the non-profit and/or cultural arts sector. Bachelor’s degree in communications, marketing or related field preferred. The ability to work occasional evenings and weekends required.
Join us for an exclusive and UNFORGETTABLE! Smuin Ballet 2015 Gala filled with cocktails, dinner, dancing, and a special performance by the artists of Smuin Ballet!
The holiday season is upon us! On November 5th, Smuin Ballet performed highlights from The Christmas Ballet at the opening of the Union Square Ice Rink.
At various points throughout history, dance has played a part in the inspiration of fashion design. Most recently, there has been an influx of various dancewear ads and videos that have been streaming and causing somewhat of a stir among the dance community.
Women 5’6″ and under, Men 5′ 8″ and over
Audition will include full ballet class (women en pointe) and some candidates
may be asked to learn repertoire or pas de deux work.
Sunday, March 9, 2014
11:00am – 2:00pm
City Ballet, 10 Colton Street, San Francisco CA 94103
Please send with photo and video link prior to audition to:
Ballet Master, Amy London
44 Gough Street, Suite 103
San Francisco, CA 94103
Recent repertoire includes works by: Michael Smuin (founder), Amy Sewiert (choreographer in residence), Jiri Kylian, Trey McIntyre, Ma Cong, Val Caniparoli,
Choo San Gho, Helen Pickett and Adam Hougland, Robert Sund and others.
The Company presents approximately 70 performances per season.