|Susan Roemer and Jonathan Mangosing rehearse for Smuin Balletâ€™s 2011 Spring Program. Photo by Kevin Sutter
The Bay Area will get its first-ever look at worldwide-celebrated choreographer Choo-San Gohâ€™s intriguing ballet Momentum (staged for Smuin by Janek Schergen) as part of Smuin Balletâ€™s Spring Program, concluding their 2010-2011 season. A protĂ©gĂ© of Mikhail Baryshnikov, Gohâ€™s brilliant career as a choreographer was cut short in 1987 by AIDS (at age 39), leaving a legacy of ballets created for international companies such as American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Alvin Ailey, Royal Danish Ballet and more.
In what promises to be a dynamic Spring Program, three masterful works will be presented, including the Bay Area premiere of Gohâ€™s distinctive Momentum. Set to a lively piano concerto by Sergei Prokofiev, Momentum is renowned for its clean sculptural lines and streamlined partnering.
Smuin Ballet allowed me to attend their final studio rehearsal. There, the dancers in Momentum began in a huddle at the center of the space, then fanned out to the extremities as each dancer found his/her partner. Exceptional work took hold as they gave over to the lyricism of the music. While some were more viscerally connected to their movements than others, by opening night the choreography should be well in place. And Momentum with its witty motifs and graceful duets should have the cohesion and consistency from all its dancers.
The program also unveils the world premiere of Mozartâ€™s Requiem by Choreographer-in-Residence Amy Seiwert, set to the hauntingly, powerful music of Mozartâ€™s Requiem Mass (arrangement by distinguished Mozart scholar Richard Maunder). A former dancer with Smuin Ballet, Seiwert has been choreographing since 1999 and won numerous awards and critical accolades.
And rounding out the bill is Michael Smuinâ€™s To The Beatles, a celebration of that influential fab four and their place in the history of rock â€™n roll. To The Beatles celebrates the many moods of the famous band, from dreamy and philosophical to quirky, boyish and irreverent.
Smuin Balletâ€™s 2011 Spring Program runs May 6-15 (Tuesday to Sunday, various times) at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission Street, San Francisco. Continues until June 4 in Walnut Creek, San Mateo and Carmel. Schedule and tickets ($20 to $62), call (415) 978-2787 or at smuinballet.org.