Thursday, February 23, 2012

Michael Smuin's Winter Program: ☼ ☼ ☼ ?

This reviewer knows quite a bit about theater, film and music. Ballet is not on that list. So what he has to say about Michael Smuin's Winter Program, which features four dance pieces, including Amy Seiwert's "Dear Miss Cline," is just this: it was fun.

The format is a little strange -- an opening dance piece, followed by a twenty minute intermission, and then two more pieces, followed by another twenty minute intermission, and finally the featured piece. What we said about the dancing does not apply to those long intermissions.

We loved Smuin's "Tango Palace" best. The music was terrific and the dancers tango better than anyone we ever saw in Argentina. Each segment is a showstopper.

"Stabat Mater" probably resonated more when it was written, in response to the 2001 World Trade Center attacks. But "The Eternal Idol" is an absolute tour de force -- two seemingly naked dancers who come alive from a Rodin sculpture of a nude couple locked in an embrace. You want sensual? You've got it.

"Dear Miss Cline" -- it's pretty lightweight. Patsy Cline had one of the most haunting voices in country music history, but the songs themselves are too vapid to justify ten dance sequences.

It was a fun evening. Perhaps some dance aficionados can comment about how they view the quality of the dancing.

RATINGS ☼ ☼ ☼ ?
The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division awards Michael Smuin's Winter Program Three Stars with a question mark. Was it anything more than fun? We can't tell. The dancers have extraordinary bodies, but nothing is more extraordinary than their feet. How does anyone walk that way?
"Michael Smuin's Winter Program"
Mountain View Center for Performing Arts
500 Castro Street, Mountain View
through April 26
Sunset Center
San Carlos Street between 8th and 10th Streets, Carmel
March 2-3

Photo Credit: David DeSilva

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