It just keeps getting better
I’m pretty much a “Bah, Humbug” kind of guy, but I make a big exception for the Smuin Ballet Christmas Ballet. This is the third time I’ve written about it; it won’t be the last.
Usually we see this show at the Lesher Center, but we were out of town 3 weeks ago, so last night we saw it with Carol Sue and Sterling in the Novellus Theater in Yerba Buena Center, a 750 seat venue right downtown, across from MOMA and close to parking.
As is the custom, the two act show is divided into the “Classical Christmas” and the “Cool Christmas”. but this year the classical seemed a bit cooler than in the past. I was particularly taken, not for the first time, by “Veni, Veni, Emmanuel”, in which the corps de ballet enters in unison, six women dancing as one, with the volume on the music turned almost all the way down so you can hear the gentle sound of their feet on the wooden dance floor. I got a bonus when the lighting board burped and died, and they had to re-boot the system and start again from the top. The three or 4 minute interruption in the event was handled quickly and professionally and they show went on.
The “Cool Christmas” is always a delight, with Michael Smuin’s hilarious imagining of “Santa Baby” as a perennial highlight and my own favorite, Shannon Hurlburt in a combination of tap and Irish Step dancing to Bells of Dublin. Even the gooey “White Christmas” made joyful by the lively and enthusiastic cast.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see the amusing “Blue Christmas” because Jonathan Dummar, who dances Elvis, was injured. We forget that ballet dancers are also serious athletes, and injuries are common.
There was a subscriber reception afterward, and we had a hard time getting Carol Sue to stop molesting the beautiful young men. We enjoyed talking with Jane Rehm, a new member of the cast transplanted from the Memphis Ballet (Ballet in Memphis?) who had thrilled Gail during her star turn in “Patapan/God Rest Ye”.
So, to the surprise of no one, the night was a complete success. The program continues in the City until the 24th–go, enjoy, take your kids and grandkids, it’s a great introduction to ballet.