Michael Smuin, founder of Smuin Ballet, collapses and dies during rehearsal

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Michael Smuin, the founder and artistic director of the Smuin Ballet, and director of the San Francisco Ballet from 1973 to 1985, died this morning in San Francisco.

According to spokesman David Perry, Smuin, 68, collapsed this morning in San Francisco during a rehearsal for his next season.

Michael Smuin was a former principal dancer with American Ballet Theater and the San Francisco Ballet and was instrumental in raising the San Francisco Ballet’s profile while serving as its artistic director in the 70s and 80s.

He also performed on Broadway, with credits including “Sophisticated Ladies,” “Anything Goes,” Shogun,” and “Canciones de Mi Padre.” Smuin’s film credits include “Rumble Fish,” “A Walk in the
Clouds,” “Cotton Club” and “Star Wars.”

Smuin Ballet Managing Director Dwight Hutton said today, “We are all deeply saddened and shocked. However, he died doing precisely what he loved to do.”

Smuin Board Chair Patti Hume added that “Michael was as much a San Francisco icon as the Golden Gate Bridge or the theaters of this city that he graced for many years with his artistry.”

Plans for a memorial service are pending.

Bay City News

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