Smuin Contemporary Ballet launches its 26th season with Dance Series 1, a fall program featuring three extraordinary works by established and rising choreographers. The music of country icon Johnny Cash comes alive in The Man in Black, an acclaimed work for three men and a woman, danced in cowboy boots. This company premiere choreographed by James Kudelka, the former artistic director of the National Ballet of Canada, is an ode to American working-class grit featuring complex choreography influenced by popular country-western dance styles including line, square, swing, and step dancing. Arresting and inventive, Kudelka’s piece was called “deeply touching and poignant” by the National Post. It is set to six songs played by Cash, written by a variety of artists including Trent Reznor’s “Hurt” and Gordon Lightfoot’s “If You Could Read My Mind.” Also on the bill: the mainstage premiere of former Smuin artist Rex Wheeler’s Take Five, a delightfully witty work set to the jazzy beat of Dave Brubeck—just in time for the celebrated musician’s centennial. Michael Smuin’s “dazzling” and “unforgettable” (San Francisco Chronicle) Carmina Burana, set to the sensual Carl Orff score, rounds out this spectacular program of classical ballet and contemporary dance.