The late Michael Smuin had an extremely prolific career as a dancer, choreographer and theater director, beginning in 1953 with the San Francisco Ballet (where he later served as co-artistic director.) On Broadway, he choreographed shows such as Sophisticated Ladies and Anything Goes, for which he won a Tony, as well as for films, including The Cotton Club and A Walk in the Clouds. Smuin won an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography for Great Performances: Dance in America and has choreographed for many of America’s great ballet companies, including Pacific Northwest Ballet and the Washington Ballet, where many of his trademark pieces remain in the repertoire.
Smuin founded Smuin Ballet in 1994, creating original work as well as including repertory from luminary choreographers like Jiri Kilian and Ma Cong. A contemporary ballet company that proves its versatility, innovation, and accessibility with every performance, the company has continued after Smuin’s sudden death from heart failure in 2007 under the direction of Celia Fushille and choreographer in residence Amy Seiwert.
With a perfectly chosen company of dancers, SB is able to transmit all of the differing emotions found in each ballet. From the expressive Songs of Mahler, in which relationships are explored in a series of sketches designed to highlight the prowess of the cast, to Seiwart’s dramatic piece Sunpierced as well as her diametrically different Dear Miss Cline, which takes on the music of Patsy Cline, SB has stayed true to its reputation as a solid company that delivers every time. (Michele Kadison)
Smuin Ballet Information
- Venues: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (701 Mission Street, San Francisco); Palace of Fine Arts Theatre (3301 Lyon Street, San Francisco); Lesher Center for the Arts (1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek); Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts (500 Castro Street, Mountain View); Bayshore Performing Arts Center (2025 Kehoe Avenue, San Mateo); and Sunset Center (San Carlos Street at Ninth Avenue, Carmel)
- Public Transportation: Excellent for the Yerba Buena Center (a short walk from buses 14, 30, and 45 at 3rd Street/Mission Street; and buses 5, 6, 9, 21, 31, 38, 38L, and 71, light rail lines F, J, K, L, M, N, and T, and BART trains at the Montgomery Street station. Also accessible by Golden Gate Transit, SamTrans, and Caltrain). Good for Palace of Fine Arts Theatre (a short walk from buses 28 and 76 at the Palace of Fine Arts, a 4-minute walk from bus 30 at Broderick Street/North Point Street; and a 6-minute walk from bus 43 at Lombard Street/Lyon Street). Good for the Lesher Center (a short walk from CCTA buses 1, 2, 4, and 21 at California Blvd./Civic Drive; and a 9-minute walk from the Walnut Creek BART Station). Good for the Mountain View Center (a short walk from VTA buses 34, 35, 51, and 52 at Castro Street/California Street; a 7-minute walk from the VTA light rail 902 and the Caltrain at the Mountain View Station). Poor for the Bayshore PAC (an 8-minute walk from Samtrans bus 250 at Norfolk Street/Kehoe Avenue). Good for the Sunset Center (steps from MST buses 4 and 22 at San Carlos Street/9th Avenue)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Performances/Programs: Three programs each year with about 20 performances each
- Ticket Prices: $40 to $55. Student and senior discounts vary by venue
- Group Discounts: Groups of 10 or more receive discounts of up to 25%
- Subscriptions: Season subscriptions are available at each of Smuin’s regular venues. Subscriptions include performances of all three shows and vary in price according to seating preferences. Subscribers save up to 15% with subscriptions and receive free ticket exchanges. All sales are final
- Membership: Donors contributing $50 or more receive e-newsletters and other special notices.