2021-22 Jumpstart 2022


March 25-27, 2022 at Peter Martin Wege Theatre

Grand Rapids Ballet’s Company dancers push the boundaries of choreographic exploration for our annual Jumpstart performance. Our multi-talented dancers refocus their creative energies, moving into the role of choreographer, building works for other company dancers. This year, in celebration of our 50th Anniversary, each Jumpstart world premiere highlights and incorporates a partnership with various community organizations, which will be announced leading up to the production. Two works will be revived from our 2020-21 virtual season, including a reworking of the film, Amiss, choreographed by Resident Choreographer Penny Saunders, and Brothers by Jennifer Archibald.

Community Partnerships

This year, in celebration of our 50th Anniversary, each Jumpstart world premiere will incorporate a partnership with various community organizations, including Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, Grand Valley State University, Opera Grand Rapids, and St. Cecilia Music Center. Additional partnerships may be announced leading up to the performance. Jumpstart 2022 is sponsored by The Rosemary and David Good Family Foundation.

We welcome you to explore all of our 2021-22 season performances via Ticketmaster using the red button below or by specific performance dates and times using the dropdown below!


Friday, March 25, 2022

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Sunday, March 27, 2022




Jennifer Archibald

Jennifer Archibald



Jennifer Archibald is the founder and Artistic Director of the Arch Dance Company and Program Director of ArchCore40 Dance Intensives.  She is a graduate of The Alvin Ailey School and the Maggie Flanigan Acting Conservatory where she studied the Meisner Technique.   Archibald has choreographed for the Atlanta Ballet, Ailey II, Cincinnati Ballet, Ballet Memphis, Kansas City Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Ballet Nashville, Grand Rapids Ballet, and worked commercially for Tommy Hilfiger, NIKE and MAC Cosmetics as well as chart-listed singers and actors. She was recently appointed the first female Resident Choreographer in Cincinnati Ballet’s 40-year history. For the 20/21 season new works for Cincinnati Ballet, Amy Seiwert’s Imagery, Sacramento Ballet, Ballet Nashville, Axis Dance Company, Richmond Ballet, Ballet Austin, and Ballet West will be commissioned.

Archibald’s works have been performed at venues including New York’s City Center, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Aaron Davis Hall, Jacob’s Pillow Inside|Out Stage and Central Park’s Summerstage Mainstage. Jennifer was awarded a Choreographic Fellow for Ailey’s New Directions Choreography Lab under the direction of Robert Battle.  She was a Choreographic Winnings recipient by the Joffrey Ballet. She also choreographed “Seven”, a biographical work about Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee, commissioned by St. Louis based MADCO Dance Company.  Her new work “Delilah” is currently touring Scandinavia. Arch Dance Company’s “Chasing Shadows” was remounted for Dallas Black Dance Theater.  Jennifer is currently an Acting Lecturer at the Yale School of Drama. She was the Movement Director for Director Michael Kahn’s closing season of The Oresteia.

In 2015, she was appointed as Guest Faculty Lecturer to develop the Hip Hop dance curriculum at Columbia/Barnard College. Jennifer is also a guest artist at several universities including Fordham/Ailey, Purchase College, Princeton, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of South Florida, Goucher College, Columbia College Chicago, and Bates College. She premiered new works for Miami New World School of the Arts, South Carolina’s Governor’s School of the Arts, Ailey Fordham, Berklee Boston Conservatory, and Point Park. In 202o Alabama University, New World, Missouri State, Tampa’s Blake High School and Jacksonville University will present Ms. Archibald’s new creations.  Internationally, she has taught in Brazil, Bermuda, Canada, Italy, Slovenia, Sweden, France, Russia, Mexico, China, and Ecuador.

Penny Saunders

Penny Saunders



Penny Saunders, originally from West Palm Beach, Florida, graduated from the Harid Conservatory in 1995, and began her professional career with The American Repertory Ballet under the direction of Septime Webre. She went on to dance with Ballet Arizona, MOMIX Dance Theater, Cedar Lake Ensemble and in 2004 she joined Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. In 2011, Saunders won the International Commissioning Project which launched her choreographic career, creating pieces for Hubbard Streets’ main and second company, Cincinnati Ballet, The Royal New Zealand Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, Whim W’Him, BalletX, Tulsa Ballet 2, Ballet Idaho, SFDanceworks, SALT Contemporary Dance, Neos Dance Theater, Missouri Contemporary Ballet, Owen Cox Dance Group, among others. Saunders is honored to be the Resident Choreographer at The Grand Rapids Ballet where she recently completed her first full-length work, The Happy Prince and Other Wilde Tales, that focused on the life and fairy tales of Oscar Wilde. Saunders has received support from The New York City Ballet Choreographic Commissions Initiative participated in The National Choreographers Initiative and was the recipient of the 2016 Princess Grace Choreographic Fellowship. In the 2019-20 season, she is excited to be collaborating with the Tulsa Ballet, Oklahoma City Ballet, The Grand Rapids Ballet, Whim W’Him, BalletX, Dayton Ballet, Diablo Ballet, Ballet Idaho, Indiana University, Seattle Dance Collective, and Point Park University.


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