Stepping Out

Smuin Contemporary Ballet dances across local scenes & computer screens

Smuin Contemporary Ballet’s Virtual Fall Dance Series began last week and is slated to run through Nov. 29.

Filmed in front of live audiences at scenic outdoor settings and Bay Area landmarks, Smuin’s dancers perform original choreography in the three remaining programs. Each program will be streamed twice: 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and 4 p.m. Sundays.
Company artist Brennan Wall said patrons can look forward to seeing new works in conjunction with classic Smuin pieces.

“Smuin has such strong classical ballet technique as well as being so innovative,” she said.

Wall’s original works will mesh alongside Smuin’s in a mixed show that “(keeps) people really interested and excited to see it,” she added.

Smuin’s dancers have split into three pods, composed to facilitate minimal interaction and risk amid the pandemic. Pods are grouped by roommates and partners who live together or individuals who are living alone and kept a safe distance from each other throughout the process. The three pods created Programs A, B, C and D.

Program B, which will stream this week, features work from Michael Smuin, the company founder, as well as original work created by artists Ian Buchanan and Maggie Carey.

Next week’s Program C will continue the trend, with dancers performing work from Smuin and original work from Wall and fellow resident company artist Tessa Barbour.

Program D, set for the last week of November, is a hodgepodge: Instead of a performance in a fixed space, artists of the company were invited to film their performance live throughout the Bay Area, from San Francisco to Inverness to Woodside.

While Performances B and C are also filmed in outdoor settings, the scene is static. Program D features ever-changing scenery and dancers from all three pods.

Wall described the programs – D in particular – as collaborations with musicians, video editors, choreographers and artists.

She said she hopes Smuin can do more shows with a live audience in an outdoor environment, “but it is a matter of if we can do it safely with the weather.”

After each show, the audience can interact with the artists as well as Smuin artistic director Celia Fushille.

Tickets to each performance are $25.

For tickets and more information, visit smuinballet.org/virtual-series.

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