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 Post subject: Interview with Michael Smuin
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2001 9:53 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
Image<P><BR> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>That's Entertainment! <BR>Michael Smuin has parlayed a wild career path into a stable, successful, popular ballet company<P>Cynthia Robins, SF Chronicle<P>Michael Smuin is simply knocked out. Snowed. He tugs on a neighboring shoulder and whispers in the first available ear: "This is such an amazing house. Did you know that there is a room upstairs dedicated entirely to wrapping presents?" Guess you can take the boy out of Missoula, Mont., but you can't take Montana outta the boy.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><a href=http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2001/12/16/CM137943.DTL target=_blank>More</a>


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 Post subject: Re: Interview with Michael Smuin
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2001 10:45 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Fascinating stuff! I hope to see his company sometime in SF.


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 Post subject: Re: Interview with Michael Smuin
PostPosted: Sun Dec 16, 2001 12:10 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 21, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: California
Great piece! I am thrilled that he was so resistant to discuss "the past"! <BR>D


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 Post subject: Re: Interview with Michael Smuin
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2001 10:28 am 
Sorry, but the piece on Smuin in the Sunday SF Chronicle left me cold. First, Cynthia Robins is mostly a fashion writer, has no creditials for writing about dance and tends to write personality puff pieces about people who interest those reading the "society page". What I thought was laughable was now she tried to place Smuin as some kind of "rebel" who wouldn't kiss up to wealthy ballet patrons. If anything, Smuin's current company is targeted at white people with dough who normally find ballet and dance too challanging to watch. I respect Smuin's choreographic abilities and his stagecraft, but I am one of those who feel his taste is lowbrow and he produces dances that work on a very surface level (this is perhaps the ONLY thing I can find to agree with Alan Ulrich). Robins mentions the Tempest as one of Smuin's important works, whereas I remember this piece as one of the worst productions of danced Shakespeare I've ever seen. It was flushed down the ballet toilet bowl in short order. I think Michael danced too many Billy the Kids and Filing Stations and got affected by the terminal "cutsies". It's too bad, because the man has a talent for creating dances. I think he needs an artistic director above him to give him some direction.<P>------------------<BR>cheers,<BR>ralph


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 Post subject: Re: Interview with Michael Smuin
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2001 10:32 am 
By the way, I guess the key irony in the Smuin-SF Ballet story, is that his replacement, Helgi, has less choreographic ability than Smuin (although much better standards in choosing and training dancers) and has brought in drek like Black Cake, which is totally something that Smuin could have created and is targeted at Smuin's audience.<P>------------------<BR>cheers,<BR>ralph


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 Post subject: Re: Interview with Michael Smuin
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2001 12:20 pm 
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Location: California
RalphSF -don't hold back, tell us how you really feel! haha<P>I'm sorry Ralph, in my humble opinion Billy the Kid and Filling Stage aren't really good examples of 'the cutsies'. They're two classic American ballets created by two very important American choreograhpers.<P>Cheers! <BR>D


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 Post subject: Re: Interview with Michael Smuin
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2001 3:05 pm 
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Right on, RalpfSF!!!!<P>This piece made me physically ill. The other amusing point is that it tries to show a kinship between Smuin's work and Twyla Tharp's. Dream on!<P>I have to say though, "Black Cake" aside, I think Helgi Tomasson makes some outstanding repertory choices. He has his share of misses--but a respectable number of hits.


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 Post subject: Re: Interview with Michael Smuin
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2001 4:31 pm 
I don't fault most of Helgi's rep choices (except that he includes too many of his own mediocre pieces). I just don't like the dances he creates, including the restaging of the full-length classics. I will give Smuin credit, his Romeo and Juliet was better than Helgi's lame version. I'm really looking forward to the new work by Yuri P. and Julia A.<P>Not an Agnes DeMille fan an all. Very hokey stuff. Christiansen is an important figure in US ballet but, to me, not for his choreography, which I find provincial. But, it was a lousy period for the Ballet Russe too.<BR><P>------------------<BR>cheers,<BR>ralph


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 Post subject: Re: Interview with Michael Smuin
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2001 10:55 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 21, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: California
Not to nit pick, Billy was choreographed by Eugene Loring for Ballet Caravan - Filling Station premiered their as well( a percursor to NY City Ballet). DeMille, love her or hate her, is a very important part of dance history and changed the course of choreography in musical theater forever with Oklahoma. <BR>The Ballet Russe comment I take it was aimed at Rodeo, of which it was said,"She created Rodeo, a highly energetic work with a uniquely American spirit that captured its opening night audience so much that it received 22 curtain calls." Bad period indeed! :-) <P>Cheers,<BR>D


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 Post subject: Re: Interview with Michael Smuin
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2001 8:02 am 
Oops, my mistake. Right you are. My apologies to Loring, even though I still don't like Billy the Kid. I guess what I was refering to at the Ballet Russe was several decades of Massine's rep... stuff that Smuin often danced (Boutique Fantastique and the like). Which I consider to be a real dark period in choreographic history and that has aged really badly.<P>------------------<BR>cheers,<BR>ralph


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 Post subject: Re: Interview with Michael Smuin
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2001 9:10 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 21, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: California
I agree Ralph. I danced Massine's Boutique at Oakland Ballet...oy! And the Joffrey reconstructed one of his symphonic ballets a while back. Why? I have no idea. But, he was a brilliant dancer and his performance in "The Red Shoes" is fantastic. <P>D<p>[This message has been edited by DavidH (edited December 18, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Interview with Michael Smuin
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2001 10:15 am 
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Having never seen or know much about Michael Smuin or company, I'm now looking forward to seeing his company perform next time I'm in San Francisco. I've been to the San Francisco Ballet, Lines Contemporary Ballet and ODC, now I have something else to check out when in the city by the bay. The article piqued my interest.<P>[This message has been edited by Solballets Mom (edited December 18, 2001).]<p>[This message has been edited by Solballets Mom (edited December 19, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Interview with Michael Smuin
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2001 11:49 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
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Location: SF Bay Area
Oh, dear...


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 Post subject: Re: Interview with Michael Smuin
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2001 12:48 pm 
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Oh dear, indeed . . . not to kick a dead horse--but this is one that deserves to be kicked. Check out the troupe and do let us know what you think; you've seen several companies so I'd be most interested in your impressions. This article tries to make Smuin look like a serious artist--but I'm afraid few lovers of good choreography take him seriously at all. Well my bad karma is mounting . . .


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 Post subject: Re: Interview with Michael Smuin
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2001 7:17 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 23, 1999 11:01 pm
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Location: SF CA
Hey David H, tell us more about your time dancing Boutique with Massine, would love to have you share with us. I bet it was very interesting.


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