VOL. 24 - NO. 16
APR 21 - 28, 2019
PO BOX 13283
OAKLAND, CA 94661-0283

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TRAVEL & ENTERTAINMENT: Smuin Ballet Closes 24th Season in Dazzling Fashion with World Premiere of “If I Were a Sushi Roll

May 13, 2018
by Phil Zarri
Smuin Ballet closes out another electrifying and innovative season featuring the world premiere of “If I Were a Sushi Roll,” by internationally renowned choreographer Val Caniparoli, with performances on May 24-27 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts in Mountain View (500 Castro Street) and June 1-2 at the Sunset Center (on San Carlos Street) in Carmel.

In “If I Were a Sushi Roll” this contemporary dance troupe, puts on a crowd-pleasing three-piece program, weaving a captivating movement narrative set to a compelling soundtrack of contemporary classical baroque. It is a playful and inventive new piece with distinctive musical stylings of American contemporary classical composer Nico Muhly and singer/songwriter Teitur.

Dressed in basic black, the troupe whirls, swirls and twirls under the eye of a security camera positioned at the top corner of the stage. The camera catches the smooth flow of action, including the graceful movement of the women (Erica Chipp-Adams, Terez Dean, Erica Felsch, Valerie Harmon, Nicole Haskins, Lauren Pschirrer) jumping who are “Sick of Fish,” to a more subdued, romantic turn of “Her First Confession,” and finally to a lively jig set to the Celtic sound of “Nowheresville,” featuring Mengjun Chen.

Then, the incredible Ben Needham-Wood wraps himself up like a piece of sushi, molding himself into a larger-than-life dish in “Small Spaces.”

The audience is then treated to Helen Pickett’s sensual “Oasis,” the highly acclaimed big-concept ballet set to a soaring original score by Emmy Award-winning composer Jeff Beal. The costumes and set design of this segment are stunning and offer great flow to the movement of the ten dancers, whose movement in pairs is breathtaking. Along with a lavish musical score, this segment offers exquisite lighting, set design, and is creatively inspired by the idea of water in its many forms.

Rounding out this dynamic trio of pieces, pairs again take the stage in Amy Seiwert’s “Falling Up.” Set to Brahms, this visually stunning piece is the perfect exploration of strength and trust between partners.

As Sumin Ballet wraps ups its 24th season it is perfectly clear that audiences will be enraptured with the classical partnering as the graceful dancing is on point, and the beautiful costumes and wonderful set designs are wonderful.

For tickets or more information please call or visit the website of the individual venues. For performances in Mountain View please phone (650) 903-6000; for Carmel please phone (831) 620-2048. For either, please visit www.smuinballet.org.

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Photo caption: Smuin dancers Tessa Barbour and John Speed Orr are airborne in the world premiere of Val Caniparoli's "If I Were A Sushi Roll," presented as part of Smuin's Dance Series 02 program touring the Bay Area now through June 2. (Photo credit: Chris Hardy)


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