Skip to main content

Style El Dorado County Foothills

Smuin Ballet’s Untamed October 17

10/09/2014 12:43PM ● By Brenna McGowan
Vibrant, expressive, brassy; agile bodies moving with astonishing gravity-defying grace. That’s Smuin Ballet, considered to be in the top tier of America’s ballet companies. It is this excellence they bring to Harris Center for the Arts audiences in Folsom as Smuin Ballet “breaks the boundaries of ballet” with a trilogy of unforgettable pieces.

In Serenade for Strings, we see choreographer Garrett Ammon unleash his own take on Tchaikovsky’s iconic score. Next, Frankie & Johnny* is Michael Smuin’s passionate tribute to the legendary Gene Kelly. UNTAMED rounds out the evening with Objects of Curiosity, choreographed by Smuin’s choreographer-in-residence, Amy Seiwert.

From the front lines of dance, Michael Smuin set out in 1994 to build an American ballet company with a distinctly American accent. In his own words, “…to infuse ballet with the rhythm, speed, and syncopation of American popular culture.”  Since this charismatic leader’s sudden passing in 2007, Smuin Ballet has continued to thrive, to prosper, to grow.

While still following the path carved by Smuin, Artistic and Executive Director Celia Fushille has led the company into striking new territory. She has alloyed her vision with Michael’s to build Smuin into one of Northern California’s leading performing arts organizations. Celia believes dancers need new and challenging choreography in order to grow artistically. With her finger on the pulse of what’s hot in the international dance world, she is ever on the lookout for works that challenge. UNTAMED fits this bill perfectly!

The tempestuous story ballet Frankie & Johnny* follows in this trio of performances. Often thought of as a sinister Latin saga, Choreographer Michael Smuin has combined authentic mambo with traditional ballet to tell the story of Frankie and her faithless lover, Johnny.

Accompanied by music from some of the biggest names in Latin and Mambo music, Frankie’s desires run wild in a dance that melds American Jazz idiom and Smuin’s trademark storytelling in a piece Michael Smuin dedicated to the legendary dancer/choreographer Gene Kelly.

The final performance piece of UNTAMED is Objects of Curiosity, an evocative ballet by Choreographer-in-Residence Amy Seiwert, set to a delicate score by Philip Glass and Foday Muso Suso. Objects of Curiosity examines the tensions between desire and restraint, mirroring the tension of the music in an exploration of shape and form. A former Smuin dancer, Seiwert has been choreographing since 1999 and has won numerous awards and critical accolades. Bay Area Reporter declares her to be “the most talented and prolific young choreographer working from a ballet base around here” and the San Francisco Chronicle has called her “sharply innovative” and “one of the country’s most exciting young dance makers.”

Smuin Ballet’s UNTAMED: Breaking the Boundaries of Ballet will be performed on
Friday, October 17, at 7:30 pm. Ticket prices are $25-$45; Premium $55 and students with ID $12. Tickets are available online at or from Harris Center Ticket Office at 916-608-6888 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and two hours before show time. Parking is included in the price of the ticket. Harris Center is located on the west side of Folsom Lake College campus in Folsom, facing East Bidwell Street.

Blog post information and picture courtesy of Harris Center for the Arts.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to the Style - El Dorado County free newsletter to stay informed