Text: R. Collins // Photography: Scott Rasmussen, Ray Nard Imagemaker, Damion Van Slyke, Grand Rapids Ballet Company
After a 16-month hiatus from the stage—but certainly not from performance—the Grand Rapids Ballet Company returned to it for its Summer Series on August 14, 2021 at the Listening Lawn at Studio Park in downtown Grand Rapids as part of a two-program event at outdoor venues. The second and final segment will take place on August 31, 2021 at the amphitheater at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, featuring an evening of live dance and artistry.
“I am always looking for new ways to present the art of ballet to our community and the outdoor venues at Studio Park and [Frederik Meijer Gardens] offer a unique opportunity to experience the depth and artistry of the Grand Rapids Ballet dancers,” stated James Sofranko, artistic director at Grand Rapids Ballet, in a press release. “After so many months away from the stage, we are eager to return to the immediacy of live performance and dancing with a passion that is fueled by the energy in the audience.”
The Summer Series consists of classical and contemporary works, as well as a featured range of talented guest artists, such as Gene Hahn, associate concertmaster at the West Michigan Symphony Orchestra, and Chisako Oga, soloist at the Boston Ballet.
The two-day series includes a live performance premier of “Brothers” by Jennifer Archibald, founder and artistic director of the Arch Dance Company in New York, whose choreography has also been featured by the Atlanta Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Ballet Memphis, and more. Also included are excerpts from Sofranko’s “The Sweet By and By;” Danielle Rowe’s “The Old Child;” Penny Saunders’ “Give Me;” and a preview of Christopher Stowell’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” ahead of its Grand Rapids Ballet premiere in April 2022.
The second program on August 31st marks a return to the Meijer Gardens, and tickets for the 7:00 p.m. ET showing are free for Meijer Gardens members and included in general admission for other guests. Building off its finely delivered virtual season in 2020, the ballet will begin offering a Virtual Season subscription for guests to enjoy their view from afar. Regular season subscriptions are also now available for the 2021 to 2022 season, titled “Moving Forward,” and individual tickets will go on sale in the fall. Find additional program information and performance dates at grballet.com/2122season, and meet ballet dancers in a recently shared video about the upcoming season.