He began his career as a dancer in night clubs and on the stage, performing in the original 1963 production of Little Me on Broadway. In the 1970s, he became a principal dancer and resident choreographer for American Ballet Theatre in New York.
In 1981, he directed and choreographed the Duke Ellington revue Sophisticated Ladies on Broadway, earning Tony Award nominations in both categories. In addition to Anything Goes, his other Broadway credits include choreographing and directing the revue Canciones de Mi Padre and the musical Shogun, as well as creating a tango for the 1992 revival of Private Lives starring Joan Collins.
Smuin served as co-artistic director of the San Francisco Ballet in the 1980s and returned to the city to create his dance company, Smuin Ballet, in 1995, which toured throughout the world. The company's new season is slated to begin next month.
He also worked on such films and television programs as The Fantasticks, The Cotton Club, Rumble Fish, and Ira Gershwin at 100: A Celebration at Carnegie Hall. He won an Emmy Award for a segment of PBS' Dance in America series, and was also nominated for a different segment.
Smuin is survived by his son, Shane, and his brothers, Stephen and Douglas. Plans for a memorial service are pending. The Smuin family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations and remembrances be made to Smuin Ballet.