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Michael Smuin Family Papers
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Michael Smuin (1938-2007) was an American ballet dancer and choreographer. He was trained by Willam Christensen at the University of Utah and Lew Christensen at the San Francisco Ballet School, where he then joined the San Francisco Ballet. He also performed on Broadway and with his wife, Paula Tracy, Xaviar Cugat, and Abbe Lane as a Spanish dance team. In 1965, he joined The American Ballet Theatre as a dancer and choreographer. Then, in 1973, he returned to the San Francisco Ballet as a Co-Artistic Director. After resigning, he continued to choreograph for the San Francisco Ballet as well as for the American Ballet Theatre, the American Conservatory Theatre, Broadway and the film industry. He was nominated for three Tony Awards, one of which he ended up winning for choreography on “Anything Goes.” In 1994 he founded the Smuin Ballets/SF. This collection documents Smuin’s life and career from 1933 through 2004 through correspondence, business documents, publicity, programs, scrapbooks, photographs, news clippings, magazine articles, calendars, and various miscellaneous memorabilia.
Michael Smuin is an American ballet dancer and choreographer, born October 13, 1938 in Missoula, Montana (deceased April 24, 2007) to Shirley and Harold Smuin. Smuin attended the University of Utah where he was trained by Willam Christensen and later moved to San Francisco to continue his studies with Lew Christensen at the San Francisco Ballet School. Smuin was a member of the San Francisco Ballet from 1957 to 1962. In 1962 Smuin auditioned for a role with Sid Caesar in “Little Me” on Broadway and got the part. From 1963 to 1965 he and his wife Paula Tracy toured with Xaviar Cugat and Abbe Lane as a Spanish dance team. Smuin joined the American Ballet Theater in 1965 where he not only danced but began to choreograph for the company. Some of his choreographed dances he did for The American Ballet Theatre include: “The Catherine Wheel” (1967), “Gartenfest” (1968), “Pulcinella Variations” (1968), “The Eternal Idol” (1969), and “Schubertiade” (1970). Smuin returned to the San Francisco Ballet in 1973 to become the Co-Artistic Director with Lew Christensen. During that time he choreographed dances such as: “Shinju” (1975), “Scherzo” (1977), “Q. a V. [Quattro a Verdi]” (1978), “A Song for Dead Warriors” (1979), “Romanze” (1983 with Francis Ford Coppola), and “Hearts” (1986). His full length ballets: “Cinderella” (1973 with Christensen), “Romeo and Juliet” (1976), and “The Tempest” (1980) were televised across the country. Smuin was forced to resign from the San Francisco Ballet in 1985, but continued to guest choreograph for them until 1987. He then went on to direct and choreograph for both Broadway and the film industry. Smuin worked as a choreographer and a director on Broadway for shows such as: “Sophisticated Ladies” (1981), “Chaplin” (1983), “Anything Goes” (1987), “Canciones de mi Padre” (1988), and “Shogun: the Musical” (1990-1991). Smuin won a Tony Award for Best Choreography and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Choreography in 1988 for “Anything Goes”. He was also nominated for two Tony Awards, Best Choreography and Best Director of a Musical in 1981 for “Sophisticated Ladies”. Smuin also choreographed “Peter and the Wolf” for the American Ballet Theatre (1992). In addition, Smuin was involved with several San Francisco theaters as a director for theaters such as the American Conservatory Theatre’s productions of “Faustus in Hell” and “Saint Joan” as well as the Cable Car Theatre’s production of “Fred Astaire in Rehearsal”. His film work includes choreography for: “Rumble Fish” (1983), “The Cotton Club” (1984), “The Golden Child” (1986), “Fletch Lives” (1989), “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (1992), “So I Married and Axe Murderer” (1993), “Angie” (1994), “A Walk in the Clouds” (1995), “A Simple Wish” (1997), and “The Fantasticks” (2000). In 1994 Smuin founded the Smuin Ballets/SF. Smuin Ballets/SF performs both locally at the Yerba Buena Center and throughout the country. Dances Smuin choreographed for the Smuin Ballets/SF include: “Dances with Songs” (1994), “The Christmas Ballet” (1995), “Frankie and Johnny” (1996), “The Blue Angel” (1997), “Carmina Burana” (1997), “Cyrano” (1997), “Pinnochio” (1998), and “Dancin’ with Gershwin” (2000).
11 Boxes. 12.5 linear feet.
Reproduction of these materials can occur only if the copying falls within the provisions of the doctrine of fair use. Copyright varies by item.
Entire Collection is open for research.