We hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy during this difficult time. Grand Rapids Ballet School remains responsive to the unfolding COVID-19 conditions, keeping the health and safety of our students, staff, and community as first priority.
At the direction of Michigan Governor Whitmer’s state-wide order for schools to close for the remainder of the semester, we have suspended all operations and the reopening of Grand Rapids Ballet School until it is deemed safe to do so. As such, it is with greatest regret that we announce the cancellation of our 2020 Summer Intensives and Summer Camps.
We look forward to our return to the studios as soon as possible to continue to bring professional ballet instruction to our community. In the event it is safe to reopen mid-summer, and we have the time and resources to prepare, we will post information about the opportunity for summer classes on this page. Thank you for your continued support of Grand Rapids Ballet School.
Learn more about Grand Rapids Ballet School Junior Company’s production of Aladdin
A Q&A with Grand Rapids Ballet’s Marketing Coordinator, Julie Lesniak
Before Aladdin opens on March 13 and runs for two weekends at Peter Martin Wege Theatre, I went behind-the-scenes with choreographer, former professional dancer, and current Grand Rapids Ballet School and Junior Company Director, Attila Mosolygo. I wanted to learn more about his creative process and what audiences can expect from his production of this classic story.
Q: Attila, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions today. Is this your first time choreographing Aladdin?
A: You’re welcome. Yes, this is my first time choreographing this story myself and on the Junior Company. It’s very exciting to bring new material to the city and to our student dancers.
Q: What inspired your choice?
A: As a child, I read Aladdin and really enjoyed it. Fast forward to now and my son and daughter are big fans of the story, too. I thought it would make a great children’s ballet since it is obviously a story that is loved by many generations. My family is the perfect example.
Q: What are the similarities and differences between this production of Aladdin and the Disney movie with which so many audiences are familiar?
A: Though my interpretation of the story is based on a folktale from the book One Thousand and One Nights and not the Disney movie, there are similarities. For instance, our story will have some of the same characters, but a key difference in ours is Aladdin’s mom is part of the ballet. Also, there will be not one but two genies in our version: the Genie of the Ring and the Genie of the Lamp.
Q: Who doesn’t need more magical genies in their life, right? That’s great! I hear a giant dragon will make an appearance, too. Tell us more.
A: The dragon opens our story so he’s very important in setting the tone for the entire production which is why I’ve been working so hard to create him myself. This addition was my idea as I wanted to give a little background on the origins of the magic oil lamp. Building the dragon was a challenge, since I had never made one before. But I like a challenge as people know. There was a lot of paper, foam, and glue involved and I used vibrant colors to catch the attention of the audience right away. His character is as important as any other in the show and I know he’s going to love the applause (laughs).
Q: Wow, we are certainly excited to see him on stage! What about costumes and lighting? How will each compliment the dragon?
A: For both costumes and lighting I wanted strong, energetic colors; I want to make a big statement on stage. Costumes are designed by our costume shop manager, Ronald Altman. Once costumes are in place, we can begin designing the lighting plot, so that’s still very much a work in progress. It will be eye-catching and full of excitement, though. I can guarantee it.
Q: Before you get back to work, how would you describe this production of Aladdin in one word?
A: The first word that comes to mind — or I would like audience members to think of when they see the ballet— is inspiring. The Junior Company dancers work very hard to bring my vision to life and they take my directions very seriously. For some, it is their first time performing with the group, so they have to give me their trust and be willing to try new things. Senior members of the company are wonderful role models for the new dancers as I am asking them to do things they have never done before. It makes for a very exciting creative process for everyone involved. This ballet is a great way to introduce children and adults to the wonderful world of costumes, lights, sets, props, choreography, storytelling, music, and the magic of dance. This is certainly a production full of adventure that you and your family don’t want to miss!
See the Grand Rapids Ballet School Junior Company preform Aladdin, March 13- 15 and 21-22 at Peter Martin Wege Theatre. Tickets are on sale now on Ticketmaster, our website, and our box office at 341 Ellsworth Avenue SW, or by calling 616.454.4771 x10 today.
LUIS GRANÉ: MEET THE VISUAL ARTIST BRINGING OUR WONDERLAND TO LIFE
Born in Argentina, Luis Grané studied medicine and worked in a human anatomy laboratory at Buenos Aires University before studying ine arts and graphic design. Following his true passion, Grané moved irst to London where he worked in advertising for almost four years, and then to Mexico, where he worked in visual arts and advertising and became strongly influenced by Mesoamerican Art.
Grané then moved to Toronto, where he won the Dick Friesen/Zlatko Grigic Award for Excellence in Animation at Sheridan College in 1996, and was recruited by DreamWorks Animation SKG. This meant relocating to Los Angeles, where he worked as an animator, visual effects artist, and character designer for DreamWorks, Pixar, Disney, Laika, Sony Pictures, Aardman, and Warner Brothers.
His credits include films as diverse as The Prince of Egypt, Spirit, Spiderman 2 (Academy Award Winner for Best Visual Effects), The Matrix, The Aviator, Ratatouille (Academy Award Winner for Best Animated Feature), Hotel Transylvania, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and The Boxtrolls. He has also collaborated with numerous renowned directors such as Sam Raimi and Richard Linklater.
While pursuing his career in Hollywood, Grané attended Peter Liashkov’s painting workshops for two years and studied painting with Bonita Helmer at Otis College of Art. Grané’s original work as an independent artist has been featured in group exhibits at the Pozzi Gallery in Buenos Aires, the Cartoon Museum in London, and the Enisen Gallery in Los Angeles, and worldwide as part of the Sketchtravel Book art project.
His work was also selected as the cover of the Totoro Forest Project book, an artistic venture that gathered prominent artists from around the world to save a forest in Japan. Grané currently works in his studio in the Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles and recently published his first solo book, Sad Stories.
When it comes to their kids, parents want them to have the best. Exposure to things like sports and the arts help them to become more well rounded young men and women. Have you thought about ballet? Kids are into all sorts of after-school sports and other activities like piano and violin lessons. Dancing is a great medium for both girls and boys. And, they can start young. Classical ballet may have been pushed aside in favor of tap dancing, hip-hop, jazz and other forms. But, did you know that beginning with ballet will help with these other types of dancing? That is just one little secret we’re letting you in on. Ballet dancers make it look effortless as they move across the stage. From the lifts to the toe points, many wonder how they can do it. Your kids can also be a part of this through the practice of classical ballet. Ballet classes can start for young kids around ages four and five. For them, being in front of all those mirrors and the bar is something new and exciting. Some of the benefits of ballet for young kids are:
They learn to follow instructions
They gain a sense of discipline through learning new positions
They learn co-ordination, balance and how to control their bodies in motion
They are active and getting daily exercise
They become comfortable performing before groups
When a child is young, learning new things is easier for them. They can adapt and learn more quickly than when they are older. So, once a child begins in ballet at an early age, they are not only learning a valued art form but also getting trained for the life that is ahead of them. This is just the beginning, though. As a child continues to pursue ballet, youíll see more benefits emerging – especially when they become adolescents and into the teenage years.
They develop long and strong muscles from the practice of ballet
They gain a sense of self-confidence and pride in their bodies and what they can accomplish
They learn how to work to get what they want out of their performance
The skills learned in ballet are useful for other forms of dancing like tap or jazz if they want to take that up later
They learn about proper nutrition to keep their bodies in shape so they can dance
Maybe you’ve never considered ballet as an after-school activity before. Now that you are aware of some of the wonderful benefits of this form of dance you have another option for your children. Who knows, one day they could be dancing across stages all over the country and beyond.
A partnership with the Arts Council through the years with the the school’s performance of the Nutcracker Ballet and the “tea party with Clara” event every December prompted the expansion. Their was just a great interest in the December event that the school decided to bring their faculty to Holland. The classes will give kids ages 3-9 years old a chance to learn ballet. The school will also hold classes for those with Down Syndrome and Parkinson’s disease as well.
Attila Mosolygo is the Director and Principal of Grand Rapids School of Ballet (GRBS) and says he believes strongly that dance plays an important role in the healthy development of your child’s focus, coordination, discipline, and etiquette. Mosolygo starting training in Hungary and by the time he was 12-year-old knew he would be dancing. After moving to America he studied at the Joffrey Ballet and an audition with the Grand Rapids Ballet led him to Michigan.
Mosolygo says the classes for Down Syndrome students first started in Grand Rapids and the results were fantastic.
“To be able to offer a dance class to every child you know regardless of their ability, age or body type is fantastic and to be able to enrich lives of young kids.The first thing I thought was if we’re going to try to bring this program out to the Holland community, I want to make sure people are aware of it. We connected with the director of The Commons of Evergreen. It’s been long proven that dance is one of the best things you can do when you have Parkinson’s. The class is very physical and active. but we can adapt the class to everyone’s need.”
In an effort to make sure they can fill the classes, you are asked to register as soon as possible so that the school has an idea of how nany students they will be training.
Classes start on Monday September 11 and will run until Monday, May 7, 2018. Ballet classes are available for children 3-4 and 7-9 and children with Down syndrome age 5 and up, and do not require prior dance or ballet experience.
Day/time: Monday 4:15-5pm
Cost: $380 per school year, $205 per semester ($410 total), $49 per month ($441 total)
Dress code Girls: soft pink leotard, soft pink tights, and pink ballet shoes. Boys: black ballet tights or black leggings, black ballet shoes, plain white fitted t-shirt.
Day/time: Monday 5-6pm
Cost: $435 per school year, $235 per semester ($470 total), $58 per month ($504 total)
Dress code: Girls: lavender leotard, soft pink tights, and pink ballet shoes. Boys: black ballet tights or black leggings, black ballet shoes, plain white fitted t-shirt.
Explorer Dance for Down Syndrome
Ages: 5 and up
Day/time: Wednesday 5:30-6:15pm
Cost: $162 per school year, $90 per semester ($180 total), $22 per month ($198 total)
Moving with Parkinson’s
Ages: 50 and up and their care partners of any age
Day/time: Monday 11:15am-12pm
Cost: $3 for Evergreen Commons members / $5 for non-members.
Dress code: loose, comfortable clothing
Holland Area Arts Council is located at in downtown at 150 East 8th Street, Holland, Michigan 49423. Evergreen Commons is located at 480 State Street, Holland, Michigan 49423. For more information on all the GRBS classes offered in Holland, including schedules, costs, directions, enrollment, and financial aid, please visit grballet.com/holland, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 616.454.4771 x17.
The GRBS remains committed to lifting the human spirit through the art of dance under the leadership of Patricia Barker as artistic director, Glenn Del Vecchio as executive director, and Attila Mosolygo as school director. A proud recipient of the ArtServe Michigan Governor’s Arts Award for Outstanding Cultural Organization, Michigan’s only professional ballet company has a rich history marked by steady growth, a commitment to excellence, and strong community support. In addition,
Grand Rapids Ballet School provides over 200 students with the highest quality dance instruction in a nurturing and encouraging environment and the opportunity to perform in productions by Grand Rapids Junior Company. Keep up with the ballet on Twitter,Facebook,Instagram, and YouTube.
Grand Rapids Ballet School Junior Company’s Mini-Tales & Bolero is fun for the whole family!
The Junior Company of Grand Rapids Ballet School (JRCO) is excited to present Mini-Tales & Bolero May 19-21 at Peter Martin Wege Theatre.
Mini-Tales & Bolero is a mixed bill that includes family fairy tale favorites Goldilocks & The Three Bears, Jack & The Beanstalk, and Thumbelina, as well as the JRCO premiere of Bolero—a ballet set to a one-movement orchestral piece by the French composer Maurice Ravel (1875–1937). Originally composed as a ballet commissioned by Russian actress and dancer Ida Rubinstein, the piece, which premiered in 1928, is Ravel’s most famous musical composition.
“I’m very excited for this performance,” said JRCO Director, Attila Mosolygo. “The kids have worked so hard and their dedication to their craft is wonderful to see. Plus, it’s going to be a lot of fun, too!”
Attila Mosolygo is creating the sets himself for Mini-Tales & Bolero. Here is Thumbelina’s world coming to life!
Click here to watch Attila and the dancers on FOX 17.
All performances take place at Peter Martin Wege Theatre (341 Ellsworth Avenue SW, Grand Rapids, MI, 49503):
JRCO provides students of the Grand Rapids Ballet School, between the ages of 10 and 19, with greater performance opportunities. Members enjoy the thrill of performing in their own productions and alongside the professional dancers of Grand Rapids Ballet.
Tickets are available on Ticketmaster, grballet.com, 616.454.4771 x 10, or at our box office at 341 Ellsworth Avenue SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.
We’re over-the-moon excited to have world-renowned visual artist, Luis Grané, helping us bring the wacky, wild world of Alice in Wonderland to magnificent life (starting with the super-cool logo above) for our world premiere ballet April 28-30 and May 5-7.
Artistic Director Patricia Barker in our costume shop reviewing the latest round of Luis Grané’s “Alice in Wonderland” character sketches.
Born in Argentina, Luis Grané studied medicine and worked in a human anatomy laboratory at Buenos Aires University before studying Fine Arts and Graphic Design. Following his true passion, Luis moved first to London where he worked in advertising for almost 4 years, and then to Mexico, where he worked in visual arts and advertising, and became strongly influenced by Mesoamerican Art.Luis then moved to Toronto, where he won the Dick Friesen/Zlatko Grigic Award for Excellence in Animation at Sheridan College in 1996, and was recruited by DreamWorks Animation SKG. This meant relocating to Los Angeles, where he has since worked as an animator, visual effects artist, and character designer for DreamWorks, Pixar, Disney, Laika, Sony Pictures, Aardman, and Warner Brothers.His credits include films as diverse as The Prince of Egypt, Spirit,Spiderman 2 (Academy Award Winner for Best Visual Effects), The Matrix, The Aviator, Ratatouille (Academy Award Winner for Best Animated Feature), Hotel Transylvania, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and The Boxtrolls, and he collaborated with numerous renowned directors like Sam Raimi and Richard Linklater.
While pursuing his creative career in Hollywood, Luis also attended Peter Liashkov’s painting workshops for two years and studied painting with Bonita Helmer at the Otis College of Art.
Luis’ original work as an independent artist has been featured in group exhibits at the Pozzi Gallery in Buenos Aires, the Cartoon Museum in London, and the Enisen Gallery in Los Angeles, and worldwide as part of the Sketchtravel Book art project. His work was also selected as the cover of the Totoro Forest Project book, an artistic venture that gathered prominent artists from around the world to save a forest in Japan.
Luis Grané currently works in his studio in the Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles and recently published his first solo book entitled “Sad Stories” – in the United States.
Spring break is right around the corner and we have the perfect activity to keep the little ones busy!
Story ideas for ballets come from many places. Grand Rapids Ballet’s artistic director, Patricia Barker, came up with the idea for the company’s production for this year’s Spring Break for Kids program while snorkeling in Hawaii with her husband.
“I thought of the fairy tales that are out there, and then I thought it was time for something new,” said Barker. “It all takes place in a aquarium.”
The children’s ballet will be presented daily at Peter Martin Wege Theatre Tuesday, April 4 through Thursday, April 6 at 9:30am and 11am. Each performance will be preceded by 30 minutes of fun activities including arts-and-crafts, costume dress-up, prize giveaways, and more.
The 30-minute show is about Johnny Starfish, a rock star, who is getting ready for a show when his dolphin friends tell him one of his mermaids, who are part of his act, is missing and then is kidnapped by an Evil Villainess (pictured below) and her henchmen and taken to her lair.
“Her costume is over-the-top fabulous,” Barker said. “The costume shop has just gone wild with costumes.”
Johnny and his friends fan out across town to find the missing mermaid, calling upon the Mayor of Kelpville, the secret police, and even Julie the Newscaster.
“They all come from different places in the sea,” Barker said. “But Johnny’s a very American, California boy.”
The show stars Grand Rapids Ballet professional dancers. Brian Vander Ark, lead singer and principal songwriter for The Verve Pipe, is contributing original music with plenty of cultural flavor, such as Hawaiian ukuleles for the dolphins and music with a Spanish flair of the Villainess.
Tickets are only $5 each and are going fast, so don’t wait. Get yours today!