GRAND RAPIDS, MI — This weekend, Grand Rapids Ballet kicks off its 2022-23 season, as part of the ballet’s 50th anniversary celebration.
The ballet company begins its new season with a busy weekend featuring three ballets, one of which is a choreographic world premiere.
“Elemental Movement,” presented Oct. 14-16, includes three ballets: “Elemental Brubeck,” the world premiere “Liar Lear King,” and “Off the Canvas.” The choreography for “Liar Lear King” was created by Dani Rowe and loosely tells the story of William Shakespeare’s “King Lear” set in 1970s New York.
“This powerful trio of works creates a spectacular evening of dance, with something for everyone and inspiration for all,” Grand Rapids Ballet Artistic Director James Sofranko said in a prepared statement. “I’m particularly excited about our collaboration with Satellite Collective for the world premiere of ‘Liar Lear King.’ It was such a pleasure that Rowe created this piece especially for GRB, which also includes a brand new score and commissioned film to accompany the dance.
“Elemental Brubeck” is a modern dance to the music of jazz composer Dave Brubeck. The dance features popular dances from the 1950s. The latest work, “Off the Canvas,” was featured in the ballet’s 2021-22 season, with music by Adrian Lim-Klumpes and Antonio Vivaldi. The piece brings Cy Twombly’s “Baccus” paintings to life with ecstatic looping movements.
In addition to its normal seasonal performances, Grand Rapids Ballet is bringing back its free family matinee performances. These events include a ballet demonstration, interaction with the public, a performance by the professional dancers and a chance to meet the dancers.
“The reintroduction of the Family Matinee series is very special to me because it’s so important for all young people to be exposed to the arts,” Sofranko said in the statement. “Our hope is that with these free performances, any barriers for a family with children to attend a performance will be removed. We want to create a welcoming environment where every member of the family feels comfortable, and we hope to inspire young people with our performance as well as the joy of interacting with professional dancers.
Family matinee performances will also be geared toward sense-sensitive audiences, including reduced volume, the elimination of strobe lighting, and a shorter 45-60 minute runtime. Sensory resource backpacks are available upon request, in partnership with the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum.
The “Elemental Movement” family matinee will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 15 at the Peter Martin Wege Theater. Although tickets are free, they must still be reserved by contacting the ballet’s box office or visiting its website at grballet.com.
After “Elemental Movement,” the ballet season continues with performances of “The Nutcracker” in December at DeVos Performance Hall. In February, GRB premieres “Romeo and Juliet” with choreography by Sofranko. Spring 2023 will bring “Jumpstart 2023” and “Ballet + Broadway” to the ballet stage.
Part of Michigan’s only professional ballet company, Grand Rapids Ballet’s junior company will perform their production “Spooktacular” this month and “Wizard of Oz” next March.
Tickets for the 2022-23 season are available now at grballet.com or by calling the ballet box offices at 616-454-4771.
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