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 Post subject: Michael Smuin...RIP
PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 6:08 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 12, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: Seattle, WA. USA
This sad news from SF:

http://davidperry.com/ezcontents/index. ... tentid=290

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 6:51 pm 
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Location: Petaluma, California
Well, I'm in a state of shock...more later when I can compose myself...


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 8:36 pm 
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Location: Petaluma, California
Michael Smuin was my director. I joined the San Francisco Ballet in the summer of 1972 and Michael arrived in the spring of 73. I left the company when Michael left...1985. Michael was more than a director to me. He was a friend...I admired him so much. I admired his amazing talent and his ability to make me feel at ease as a dancer in his company. I worked with Smuin Ballet occasionally in the 90s as a regisseur, setting "QAV" (of which I was an original cast member) and "The Tempest" Pas de Deux. I just attended Smuin Ballet at the Dean Lescher Center in February. I hadn't had the opportunity to see his company in a while, and I enjoyed the performance so much. I hooked up with Michael afterwards...He was always so happy to see me and I, him... We hugged and talked. I'm so glad I had this chance to see him...He looked well. He looked happy. His company danced beautifully. We reminisced about "Shinju", of which I was an original cast member some thirty years ago...The dance world has lost a huge talent today. He was too young...I am so saddened at his passing and can't quite believe he is gone. I am so sorry for Paula, Shane, his brothers....I am so sorry for his dancers and devoted staff...I am so sorry for his many, many fans. He loved what he did and he did it so well...He lived up to his immense talent, creativity, and ability and was just larger than life to me. I shall miss him greatly. May he rest in peace and may light perpetual shine on him. I love you, Michael....


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 10:45 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 23, 1999 11:01 pm
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Location: SF CA
I too am in shock at his passing. I first remember Michael when he was a dancer in ABT doing the Peruvian in Gaite Pariesian. He was spectacular. I also knew of him as Paula Tracy's husband. She was trained by my teacher and was a hero at our school as they were both soloists and Principal in ABT at the time.

I was very lucky to dance a lead role in his Puchinella Variations when I danced with RWB in 1976 at Kennedy Center. I will always love his Eternal Idol pas de deux. He was an aritst who knew how to please his audience and how to entertain. When he was director of SFB I thought he was the perfect choice for the time. I think he sort of embodied the ecclectic fabulous character of San Francisco.

It will be very strange to be in this city without Michael Smuin. I send love to Paula and his son and the dancers of the Smuin Ballet.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 11:19 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
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Location: SF Bay Area
A couple of the numerous articles online:

Michael Smuin, Emmy Award-winning choreographer, dies at 68
San Francisco Chronicle, CA - 1 hour ago
Michael Smuin, an Emmy Award-winning choreographer who served as co-artistic director of the San Francisco Ballet then founded his own dance company, ...

Former SF Ballet Director Michael Smuin Dies
FoxReno.com, NV - 1 hour ago
SAN FRANCISCO -- Michael Smuin, the founder and artistic director of the Smuin Ballet, and director of the San Francisco Ballet from 1973 to 1985, ...


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:17 am 
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Location: Petaluma, California
From SF Gate...

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f ... PE2T84.DTL


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 2:28 am 
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Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
While I never had the privilege as Gina and so many dancers did, of working directly with Michael Smuin, his ballets were my first introduction to the art form on stage at the War Memorial Opera House over 25 years ago. As a child I attended his ballets on a regular basis and began dancing myself, partly due to the inspiration they provided.

His version of "Cinderella" remains the definitive version in my mind; his "Tempest" was a full-length classical work of genius that luckily lives on in the repertoire of Ballet San Jose/Silicon Valley. His "Song for Dead Warriors" combined clever creativity with a soulful look at Native Americans -- the list of his creations, as we all know, is truly endless, each one different, fresh, invigorating. Gina said it better than I could -- "He lived up to his immense talent, creativity, and ability and was just larger than life to me." That is Michael Smuin in a nutshell. Larger than life.

It has always been a great regret of mine (and I know many share the view) that his long tenure as AD at SFB (1973-1985) was not even longer. The dance world, and more specifically the Bay Area dance scene, has lost a great artist and great man.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 11:22 am 
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Location: El Granada, CA, USA
I heard about this last night when I walked into ODC Commons for my weekly Pilates class. What a way to start National Dance Week. I was also shocked. I hope the company will stay viable. I have numerous friends in the company.

Who will Coppola, Spielberg and Lucas now use as ca horeographer for their movies?!


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:46 pm 
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Location: El Granada, California, USA
The Ballet San Jose publicist, Lee Kopp, told me he got the news from one of their dancers who was in Smuin's class when he collapsed. Lee said the dancer was pretty shaken up. Terrible.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 2:14 pm 
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I saw the news on the front page of the newspaper this morning. I never knew Michael Smuin personally but knew of him and saw his company perform.

I understand how those who knew him are in shock.

But I have to say, if you have to go, and we all do, that's the way, quickly, no lingering illness, among the people who care for you. One of the dancers was quoted as saying that she appreciated that they were all there with him at the end.

May he forever dance.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 4:50 pm 
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He will be sorely missed. He was a great ambassador for dance, making it accessible to the masses, so of his critics would say overly so, but he always made dances that were at the very least entertaining.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 12:26 pm 
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Celia Fushille-Burke was on NPR last night. She's been promoted to acting AD, and said the show must go on. The dancers are back in rehearsals, shaken up, but working as Michael would have wanted it according to them. I talked to several of the dancers over email, last night and they thank everyone for their love and support and said that they are getting through this fairly well as the company is very close and supportive. I wished them all good luck.

I think they'll be fine, and I was glad to hear it.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2007 12:30 pm 
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Location: El Granada, CA, USA
Rachel Howard did a nice piece in the SF Chronicle.

Quote:

'Let's dance for Michael'
Rachel Howard, Joshua Kosman

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


At the City Ballet Studios, the Upper Market district building where the 16 members of Smuin Ballet train, the mood Tuesday was a combination of somber grief and show-must-go-on stoicism. Pascale Leroy taught company class in the same studio where choreographer Michael Smuin had his heart attack just 24 hours earlier, and the plies and jetes were interspersed with quick bursts of tears and consolatory hugs that started small and then went on and on.

"Those were the hardest plies I ever did," dancer Robin Cornwell said afterward. But everyone agreed that the only way to cope with the shock was to keep dancing.


more...


And Mary Ellen did one for the Contra Costa Times.

Quote:
Dance community grieves for Smuin
By Mary Ellen Hunt
TIMES CORRESPONDENT

Article Launched: 04/25/2007 06:47:14 AM PDT


THE MOMENT was surreal, by all accounts. One minute, the dancers of Smuin Ballet were in high spirits, finishing a quick allegro combination in company class with artistic director Michael Smuin -- he was even poking fun at his own choreographic invention. And then, in a flash Monday, he was on the ground, and they were struggling in vain to save him.
Throughout the afternoon, as word rippled through the dance community, there was shock at the death of Smuin, who was 68, from an apparent heart attack.

In many ways, it still seems strange to imagine the Bay Area's dance landscape without his charismatic, larger-than-life presence.


more...


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 10:14 am 
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Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
A question that perhaps Gina can answer. Both Chronicle articles stated that Smuin was "co-director" of SFB, and Helgi said that in his quote.
I was under the impression that there were a few "co" directing years but the final years there he was the only Artistic Director. Do you know which is the case?

There were also references to "short" tenure in the first Chronicle article which I found offensive. I guess 12 years is considered "short" if you are not the current director of SFB?


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 10:31 am 
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Location: Petaluma, California
Hello Catherine...yes, he was co-director with Lew Christensen until Lew unexpectedly passed away in October of 1984. The board and powers that be were already at that point searching for a new director to replace Michael. Michael left right around the same time that I did, mid 1985. So, I guess that for a few months after Lew passed away, Michael was the only acting director...I loved Mary Ellen's article on Michael, by the way. Also, I don't think that twelve years is a "short" tenure. That's just a bit shy of the average lifetime of a professional dancer...


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