Spectacular Ballet

Smuin_Broken Open 2_Chris Hardy.jpg

Smuin dancers Ben Needham-Wood, Rachel Furst, and Jonathan Powell in Amy Seiwert’s “Broken Open,”
presented as part of Smuin’s Dance Series 02
in the 2016-2017 season.Photo credit: Chris Hardy


We’ve been subscribers to the Smuin Ballet for 10 seasons now, and tonight’s performance was the finest I’ve seen.  Go see it.  Saturday or Sunday.  Or the next 2 weeks at Yerba Buena Center in the City.  Or in 3 weeks in Carmel.  Or go to all of them–once you see this, you’ll want to see it again.

There are three pieces in the performance.  The first, The Poetry of Being, is classical ballet set to Tchaikovsky.  The curtain rises on a cast clad in blue and beige, and there is an audible gasp from the audience at the glamour of it.  Lighting designer Michael Oesch has outdone himself in this, setting mood and tone before a note is struck.  The dancing is superb, the choreography by Nicole Haskins is brilliant.

The second act, Broken Open, is all modern.  From the new age score by Julia Kent to the graffiti stenciled costumes by Birgit Pfeffer and Robert Burg to the radical, angular choreography by Amy Seiwert this piece captures the imagination and dazzles the eyes.

And yet, the best is still to come.  The third act, Be Here Now, is a rousing anthem to the 60’s; the score is all music you know (if you’re old like I am) from the Mamas and the Papas, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Jefferson Airplane and straight up Janis Joplin.  The pitch-perfect period costumes, more of Michael Oesch’s lighting, video highlights by the choreographer, Trey McIntyre, and the incredible, happy, bursting with life and vitality dancing of the ensemble, create a moment of pure joy at the ballet that is simply not to be missed.

Go. Go soon, go often.  I’m a committed fan of the Smuin Ballet, and I think this is the best work they’ve ever done.  Do not miss it.



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