Smuin Contemporary Ballet kicks off 25th anniversary with 5 new company members

Max van der Sterre. Photo by Michael J Moore

Smuin Contemporary Ballet announces the addition of five new members to the company for its 2018/19 season: Ian BuchananPeter KurtaTess LaneMattia Pallozzi, and Max van der Sterre.

Visiting artists Maggie Carey and Alysia Chang will also join the troupe for this hallmark season celebrating the company’s quarter-century.

Smuin audiences will experience these dancers for the first time in Dance Series 01, performing September 21-22 at Walnut Creek’s Lesher Center for the Arts and September 28-October 6 at San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts. Single tickets ($25-81) and season subscriptions ($147-200) are available at

Ian Buchanan hails from Fairfax, California, where he trained with Dance Theatre Seven. He has danced with Houston Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Tulsa Ballet, Rochester City Ballet, and Alberta Ballet. Buchanan has performed works by Jiří Kylián, Stanton Welch, Ma Cong, Ben Stevenson, Wen Wei Wang, Aszure Barton, Jean Grand-Maître, Julia Adam, Denise Clarke, and Leiland Charles.

Peter Kurta, originally from Marietta, New York, trained at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School and The Rock School for Dance Education before joining Tulsa Ballet II. With Dayton Ballet, he performed Dracula in the world premiere of Dracula: Bloodlines, as well as works by Jessica Lang, Gina Patterson, and Nicole Haskins. He was a member of both BalletMet and BalletMet II, performing corps and soloist roles in Edwaard Liang’s The Silence Between…, James Kudelka’s Man in Black, and in ballets by Gustavo Ramirez Sansano and George Balanchine.

Tess Lane trained at South Bay Ballet in Torrance, California, performing Robert Kelly’s Summertime at the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Michigan. While apprenticing with Sacramento Ballet, she performed works by George Balanchine, Ron Cunningham, and Lila York. Lane joined California Ballet Company in 2013 and was featured in Swan LakeGiselleNutcrackerSleeping Beauty, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as Septime Webre’s Peter PanThe Great Gatsby, and Fluctuating Hemlines. She also danced in the National Choreographers’ Initiative in 2017 and 2018.

Tess Lane. Photo by Weston Bennett Photography

Mattia Pallozzi, originally from Rome, Italy, trained at the School of Teatro Dell’Opera di Roma and the Accademia Nazionale Di Danza. As a student, he performed works by Vasili Vaionen, Ismael Ivo, and Wayne McGregor. In 2012, Pallozzi joined American Repertory Ballet, dancing in works by Gerald Arpino, José Limón, Mary Barton, Ann Marie DeAngelo, and Patrick Corbin. His repertoire with ARB also includes Romeo in Douglas Martin’s Romeo and Juliet, the Faun in Kirk Peterson’s Afternoon of a Faun, and Oberon in Martin’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Max van der Sterre is a San Francisco native who trained with Damara Bennit and Henry Berg, followed by the School of American Ballet, before joining New York City Ballet in 2005. While dancing with NYCB, he performed works by Jerome Robbins, Christopher Wheeldon, and George Balanchine. At the NYCB Choreographic Institute, he collaborated with Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Edwaard Liang, Albert Evans, Jerry Opdenaker, Douglas Lee, and Timothy Harbour. He joined Alabama Ballet in 2012, performing works by Jiří Kylián, Twyla Tharp, Agnes de Mille, Frederick Ashton, and George Balanchine.

Maggie Carey. Photo by Scott Robbins
Maggie Carey. Photo by Scott Robbins

Maggie Carey, a native of Dayton, Ohio, received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance Performance from Butler University, where she performed works by choreographers including George Balanchine, Nacho Duato, and Paul Taylor. Upon graduating, Carey performed as a guest artist with the Dayton Ballet. She spent two years with the Cincinnati Ballet Second Company, performing works by Victoria Morgan, George Balanchine, Ohad Naharin, and working with choreographers such as Garrett Smith, Nicolo Fonte, and Jennifer Archibald.

Alysia Chang, a Bay Area native, trained at Contra Costa Ballet and received her BFA from SUNY Purchase (magna cum laude). She has danced with Amy Seiwert’s Imagery, Sacramento Ballet, Oakland Ballet, San Francisco Opera, Metropolitan Opera Ballet, and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Chang has originated roles in works by Yannis Adoniou, Jennifer Archibald, Val Caniparoli, Ron Cunningham, Gabrielle Lamb, Graham Lustig, Helen Pickett, and Amy Seiwert. She has also been featured in ballets by George Balanchine, Mark Morris, Paul Taylor, and Lila York.