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SMUIN BALLET
Ends its 21st Season in a Rhapsody of Movements

ERICA FELSCH flies above JONATHAN DUMMAR & JOSHUA REYNOLDS in Smuin’s  UNLACE dance series   photo: Keith Sutter
ERICA FELSCH flies above JONATHAN DUMMAR & JOSHUA REYNOLDS in Smuin’s  UNLACED dance series   photo: Keith Sutter

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA—Everyone of the artists of SMUIN BALLET, is a master of  his or her dance movements. The flexibility with which they move their  bodies is unbelievable. It all may appear effortless to the audience, but it requires many years of assiduous training. So, during a dance, they may wiggle their bodies, shape them in different forms, raise them high in the air with a jump, stretch it, split their legs open, in the air one in the front of their bodies and the other in the back, perfectly parallel to the floor, or fly over the stage in the shape of a butterfly, waiting to be caught in the hands of the other dancers. They do it alone, or as part of an ensemble; in rhythm, syncronized, and with the mastery of trained ballet dancers. 

The expertise of the dancers is displayed in “UNLACEDa program of  four dances, one of them a World Premiere, that is being presented at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts in Mountain View, California, closing their 21st Anniversary Season. The dances are PETAL, ROMEO and JULIET (The Balcony Pas de Deux) HEARTS SUITE, and  World Premier of ASK ME.

PETAL, danced on opening night  by TEREZ DEAN, NICOLE HASKINS, JO-ANN SUNDERMEIER, ERIN  YARBROUGH,  DUSTIN JAMES, WESTON KRUKOW ROBERT MOORE  and JONATHAN POWELL, may be described as a display of many movements, because the ballet had different styles of dances, some from Modern Dance, some from Classical ballet including short segments danced in Pointe. It is a busy dance, executed at a fast tempo by solo dancers, by courples in Pas de Deux, and in groups with different number of dancers. The movements includes contortion of bodies, jumps, Fish figures, and even figures created by the dancers on the air after being tossed by the other dances. It is an energetic ballet that fully displays the dexterity of the body of each of its dancers. It is fast and busy piece of work and the choreography makes it look confusing at times because there is too much action on the stage at the same time.  The best dances on that night were the solos, which were magnificent  and the the different “Pas de Deux” which allow the audience to concentrate on their steps. The dance was choreographed by HELEN PICKETT and Staged by SARAH HILLMER, with Music by PHILLIP  GLASS and THOMAS MONTGOMERY, NEWMAN.

ROMEO and JULIET (The Balcony Pas de Deux) danced by JO-ANN SUNDERMEIR and JOSHUA REYNOLDS, may be described as “Poetry in Movement.” Their dance was charged with passion, yet, in their physical part, the lovers touched each other lightly, at times only by their finger tips. As represented by SUNDERMEIR, her Juliet flirted with Romeo with finesse, a glance, a merely touch of fingers. or reclining her head gentle over his chest. On his part, REYNOLDS showed his mastery by lifting the ballerina over his head while sitting down, and horizontally, tossing her on the air and rolling her three times. He showed his passion on his eyes expression, on the way he glimpsed at her balcony, and with the tenderness he demonstrated to Juliet when they danced together.

ERIN YARBROUGH and AARON THAYER
ERIN YARBROUGH and AARON THAYER
As Romeo and Juliet Photo:      Terry Gannon

The ballet, with Music by SERGEI POKOFIEV, was choreographed by MICHAEL SMUIN with the Lighting Design of SARA LINNIE SLOCUN. In this ballet, the Lighting Design Adaptation was done my MICHAEL OESCH.

HEART SUITE (Excerpt from HEARTS (LE BALLET DES COEURS) (The Ballet of the Hearts) was
danced with the music recorded by EDITH PIAF. The costumes, by WILLA KIM, were red dress for the female dancer, and an Harlequin’s white clown's dress for the male dancer. On opening night in Mountain View it was danced by  SUSANE BOEMER and BEN NEEDHAM-WOOD. As it name indicates, the ballet has a love theme in which the woman gives the clown a red carnation and he becomes immediately infatuated with her. The ballet is danced as a Pas De Deux, with both dancers dancing  together and separated to the French songs. What made this the best of the four ballets that night, however, was the expression reflected on the big brown eyes on the white-painted face of the clown (NEEDHAM WOOD) The dancer told the audience a story with his eyes alone. Those eyes sparkled with happiness, ahimmer with love, opened wide with longing, closed with pain, and even filled with tears. But at the end, after lookin at the flower, sparkled again.

ASK ME” The last ballet is a WORLD PREMIER that was presented in San Francisco on May 8, 2015.  The ballet was choreographed by ADAM HOUGLAND, with Music from the album "the Classic sang by JOAN WASSER aka POLICE WOMAN.  

ADAM HOUGLAND  Photo courtesy of HOUGLAND
ADAM HOUGLAND  Photo courtesy of HOUGLAND

Danced by TEREZ DEAN, ERICA FELSCH, NICOLE HASKINS, SUSAN ROEMER, ERIN YARBROUGH ROBERT KRETZ, WESTON KRUKOW, BEN NEEDHAM-WOOD, JONATHAN POWELL, JOSHUA REYNOLDS, CARA COOPER, DUSTIN JAMES, ROBERT MOORE and JO-ANN SUNDERMEIER, this ballet is an ensemble, in which, when dancing together, all the dancers are perfectly synchronized. The dance includes small group dancing, solo dancing, and Pas De Deuxses. Like the first ballet, it includes a variety of steps and styles so the work displays the dexterity of each one of its dancers.

SUMIN BALLET runs under the Artistic Direction of CELIA FUSHILLE, its Ballet Master is AMY LONDON and its production Director and Stage Manager is KATHRYN T. GRAHAM.

UNLACED will continue to be presented at Mountain View Center for the Performing arts until May 14. and at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek from May 29 to May 30. For tickets call  (415) 912-1899 or go online at www.smuinballet.org

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