Smuin's 'Christmas Ballet' is this weekend | November 23, 2012 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - November 23, 2012

Smuin's 'Christmas Ballet' is this weekend

Santa and sweets to follow matinee performance of sass and sizzle

Acclaimed dance company Smuin Ballet's annual holiday extravaganza, "The Christmas Ballet," will feature three world premiere works when it opens with three performances this weekend at the Bankhead Theater in Livermore starting tonight. The Tri-Valley is the first stop for this Bay Area favorite, a dazzling combination of classical ballet and rollicking character numbers filled with all the sass and sizzle that has made San Francisco's Smuin Ballet famous.

After the matinee performance tomorrow, Smuin's special "Santa's Sweets" program will offer an extra treat for young people with Santa Claus waiting to greet members of the audience with complimentary sweets.

The evening performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. tonight and tomorrow. The Saturday matinee is at 2 p.m. Tickets for all performances are $14 for students and range from $43 to $63 for adults. Go to or call 373-6800.

"The Christmas Ballet" was introduced in 1995 and is split into two halves, Classical Christmas and Cool Christmas. Music from traditional Bach and sacred carols, to klezmer, gospel, holiday standards and even a touch of Elvis, accompanies dances that range from classical ballet to true Broadway tapping.

The 2012 edition will debut three world premiere works including one for Classical Christmas, choreographed by Smuin artist Jane Rehm and set to the Canadian Brass version of "Here We Come-a-Wassailing." Cool Christmas will feature "All I Want for Christmas," choreographed by former Smuin artist Darren Anderson, and "No Christmas for Me," set to music by Malaysian singer-songwriter Zee Avi.

In addition to the new works, the 2012 edition of "The Christmas Ballet" will welcome the return of past favorites plus a piece choreographed by the late Michael Smuin to a majestic classical recording of "Ave Maria."

Dancer and choreographer Michael Smuin formed Smuin Ballet in 1994, combining classical and contemporary dance elements. The Smuin Ballet will return to the Bankhead Theater in March with "The Best of Smuin Ballet."