The refined human form in the motion of ballet is inspiring to aspiring dancers, captivating to anatomy students, and vexing to small mammals that prefer twitchy, disjointed movement. Send nearby pygmy marmosets into a jealous tizzy with today's deal: for $30, you get one orchestra-level ticket to the Smuin Ballet (a $56 value), which is valid toward any of its spring program perfromances, which run from May 7 to May 16 in San Francisco and from May 21 to June 5 in Walnut Creek, Cupertino, and Carmel.
Smuin has been twirling and leaping about the Bay Area for the past 15 years, though the company also tours nationally and internationally. Its spring program consists of three short contemporary ballets: Petite Mort, French Twist, and Songs of Mahler. Petite Mort was created by Czech choreographer Jirí Kylián and premiered originally at the Salzburg Festival in 1991, the second centenary of Mozart's death. The performance is set to two slow sections of Mozart's piano concertos. It features six men, six women, and six foils; and they tell a symbolic story of aggression, energy, and vulnerability. French Twist is a different affair: a comedic ballet by choreographer Ma Cong, inspired by Tom and Jerry cartoons and set to the music of French composer Hugues Le Bars. Michael Smuin's Songs of Mahler is a dramatic and classical ballet choreographed by the troupe's founder.
The Smuin Ballet company constantly pushes the conventions of ballet and choreography to futuristic places. The troupe adheres to the philosophy that "ballet should be a living dance form that can continue to engage and delight modern audiences." This is thoroughly demonstrated by the contemporary ballets they produce and the rampaging hordes of fans who toss their tutus at the star ballerinas and ballerinos post-performance.
- Along with infectious enthusiasm, the company gave Friday's premiere a dangerous-looking full-tilt speed and energy, which was a risk, given that everyone still had work ahead on the rest of the program. – Mary Ellen Hunt, San Francisco Chronicle
- Often audacious, always technically rigorous and inventive, Smuin Ballet offers winter, spring and holiday programmes of Smuin classics along with premières by other choreographers influenced by his vision. – Time Out San Francisco
- While the company lacks some of the bells and whistles of larger arts institutions, it more than makes up for this with its staff's professionalism and approachability. – Becca Hirschman, SF Appeal