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Smuin Ballet goes to Montana

Smuin Ballet launches its 20th Anniversary Season in September with a visit to Montana - the home state of the Company’s late founder, Michael Smuin. The program features three works - Smuin’s popular ballet, Fly Me to the Moon, Dear Miss Cline, by Choreographer-in-Residence, Amy Seiwert, and Jazzin', described as ‘a saucy and seductive’ ballet by Darrell Grand Moultrie.

Erin Yarbrough, Terez Dean, John Speed Orr, and Erica Felsch in Michael Smuin's 'Fly Me to the Moon'
© Drew Altizer

A former principal dancer with both American Ballet Theatre and San Francisco Ballet, Michael Smuin also served as co-artistic director for San Francisco Ballet, with Lew Christensen. He went on to choreograph works for national dance companies, for film and stage, and amongst the many awards he received was a Tony for his choreography of the Broadway show Anything Goes. He founded Smuin Ballet in 1993, infusing it with his own particular style of classical ballet and the panache of Broadway, and earning himself a reputation as both “the Bad Boy of Ballet” and the person who was “leading ballet into the 20th century”. Smuin passed away in 2007, but his Company retains what’s described as his “fun-loving, spirited style”.

Fly Me to the Moon is Michael Smuin’s tribute to the style and flair of Frank Sinatra. A blend of ballet and popular dance, it’s set to a selection of songs with which Sinatra was famously associated, including favorites such as I’ve Got You Under My Skin, That’s Life, The Lady is a Tramp and the blockbusting New York, New York.

Amy Seiwert’s Dear Miss Cline is a light-hearted and colorful work, set to the music of Patsy Cline - a combination of both spirited and sentimental numbers. Included in the score are Walkin’ After Midnight, Come On In, Triangle, There He Goes and Pick Me Up On Your Way Down. A former dancer with Smuin Ballet, and winner of numerous awards and honors for her choreography, Amy Seiwert now enjoys international acclaim, with works in the repertoire of Sacramento Ballet, American Repertory Ballet and Carolina Ballet, Ballet Nouveau Colorado, Colorado Ballet, Robert Moses KIN and Ballet Austin.

When Jazzin’ premiered at Smuin Ballet’s 2013 Spring Program, it proved to be hugely popular with both critics and audiences. A six-part suite, it’s set to the music of Wynton Marsalis, Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn and Andy Razaf - and includes a suggestive solo set to Razaf’s If I Can’t Sell It, I’ll Keep On Sittin’ On It, and a high spirited ensemble piece entitled The Strut, to Ellington’s Satin Doll. A graduate of The Juilliard School, and recipient of a Princess Grace Choreography Fellowship Award, Moultrie is “obviously someone to watch” writes The New York Times. He has choreographed for companies which include Ailey 2, The Juilliard School and Ballet X, and was recently included as one of the choreographers for Beyonce’s Mrs Carter Show.

Under Artistic and Executive Director Celia Fushille, the Company continues to present a repertoire of works both innovative and accessible - by its founder as well as newer choreographers.

Smuin Ballet appears at the Montana Repertory Theatre in Missoula - Michael Smuin’s hometown - on September 8 and 9, and at the Mansfield Theatre, Great Falls, on September 13 - a performance which will benefit McLaughlin Research Institute for Biomedical Sciences, with which Smuin Ballet shares a close connection.

Tickets for the Missoula performances are available at www.griztix.com, and those for Great Falls at http://ticketing.greatfallsmt.net or in person at the Great Falls Civic Center.

For further information on Smuin Ballet, please visit www.smuinballet.org

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