VOL. 26 - NO. 2
JAN 17 - 24, 2021
PO BOX 13283
OAKLAND, CA 94661-0283

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TRAVEL & ENTERTAINMENT: Smuin Announces "Class for a Cause: Democracy in Motion"

Oct 16, 2020
Smuin Contemporary Ballet announces a special iteration of its popular "Class for a Cause" series to celebrate the centennial of the 19th amendment and honor the suffragettes who paved the way for women voters. Designed for both dancers and non-dancers to enjoy, "Class for a Cause: Democracy in Motion" is a choreography seminar that will be led by Imagery Artistic Director and former Smuin Choreographer in Residence Amy Seiwert, with the assistance of talented Smuin alums Valerie Harmon, Nicole Haskins, and Ben Needham-Wood. Utilizing the Zoom polling feature, participants will have the unique opportunity to 'cast their ballot' in creating original dance works by voting on choreographic choices. Attendees will then get to immediately experience how their vote impacts the creative process. All proceeds from this class will benefit the League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political nonprofit that encourages informed and active participation in government.

"Class for a Cause: Democracy in Motion" will take place 5:30pm, Friday, October 23. Tickets are offered on a sliding scale from $6 - $20, and participants must register 30 minutes in advance to receive the Zoom link. For more information or to register, the public may visit www.smuinclasses.org.

Smuin launched its "Class for a Cause" series following a successful fundraising class June 2, in which all class tuition revenue was donated to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Smuin Ballet Master Amy London said, “We want to use our art to continue to positively impact issues that are important to our community.” Proceeds from further "Class for a Cause" events have benefited the African American Art and Culture Complex, Center for Black Equity, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund.


"Class for a Cause: Democracy in Motion" will be led by Imagery Artistic Director and former Smuin Choreographer in Residence Amy Seiwert, along with former Smuin artists Valerie Harmon, Nicole Haskins, and Ben Needham-Wood. Seiwert will begin by presenting a simple movement phrase and leading a workshop demonstrating the various tools choreographers can use to transform movement into endless choreographic possibilities and beautiful creations. Harmon, Haskins, and Needham-Wood will then apply the choices, as voted on by audience members in the moment, to create three distinct works derived from the same original movement. Participants may dance along or simply watch and experience how their votes impact the works and affect the choreographic outcome in real-time.

Seiwert was mentored by Michael Smuin for eight of her nine years as a dancer at the Company, becoming Smuin’s Choreographer in Residence upon her retirement from dancing in 2008. As a choreographer, she has pushed the boundaries of dance, collaborating with artists of other disciplines and experimenting with all of its various forms and expressions from a classical base—making her an invaluable voice in the national dance community.

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Photo caption: Former Smuin artist Ben Needham-Wood (pictured) will join fellow Smuin alums Valerie Harmon and Nicole Haskins in Smuin's Class for a Cause: Democracy in Motion, led by Imagery Artistic Director Amy Seiwert Friday, October 23. All proceeds from this choreography seminar will benefit the League of Women Voters. (Photo credit: Chris Hardy)


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