Michael Smuin


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(b Missoula, Mont., 13 Oct. 1938; d San Francisco. Calif., 23 Apr. 2007)

US dancer and choreographer. He studied with the Christensen brothers in Utah and at San Francisco Ballet School, dancing first with University of Utah Ballet (1955–7) then with San Francisco Ballet (1957–62). Between 1962 and 1967 he worked as a freelance dancer and choreographer after which he moved to American Ballet Theatre as principal dancer and choreographer (1969–73). He was then appointed co-director (with Lew Christensen) of San Francisco Ballet, becoming the company's sole director (1984). His many ballets for that company included Pulcinella Variations (mus. Stravinsky, 1968), Romeo and Juliet (mus. Prokofiev, 1976), and The Tempest (mus. P. Chihara, 1980), and demonstrated his commitment to accessible, highly charged dance theatre. He also worked extensively on Broadway, for example choreographing and directing Sophisticated Ladies (mus. Ellington, 1981). In 1991 he founded his own company, Smuin Ballet for which he created around 40 ballets, including Pinocchio (1999). After his sudden death from a heart attack, the company remained active, maintaining the Smuin repertory and commissioning new works.

http://www.smuinballet.org Website for the Smuin Ballet

Subjects: Dance.

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