Courtesy of Oregon Ballet Theatre, photo by Jingzi Zhao.

Grand Rapids Ballet Launches 50th Anniversary By Presenting Cinderella at DeVos Performance Hall

GRB Celebrates 50 Years of Lifting the Human Spirit Through the Art of Dance

Jessica Meldrum
Feb. 10, 2022

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Feb. 10, 2022 — Grand Rapids Ballet (GRB), Michigan’s only professional ballet company, celebrates 50 years in 2022 with a kick-off performance of family-favorite “Cinderella,” taking place February 25-27 at DeVos Performance Hall. Making this performance even more magical, “Cinderella” is the company’s first full-length production with the Grand Rapids Symphony at DeVos Performance Hall besides “The Nutcracker” in over a decade.

This timeless fairytale journeys alongside Cinderella as her dreams are turned to reality by her Fairy Godmother before she dances the night away with her Prince at a dazzling ball. The production also features live accompaniment by the Grand Rapids Symphony performing Sergei Prokofiev’s melodic score.

Courtesy of Oregon Ballet Theatre, photo by Emily Nash.

For community members who have been long-time fans of Grand Rapids Ballet, “Cinderella” may strike a special memory as the company performed this classical ballet 35 years ago as its first full-length ballet at Civic Theatre in 1987, making this a very fitting start to the 50th Anniversary, taking place throughout 2022.

“Ben Stevenson, former director of the Houston Ballet, created this version of ‘Cinderella’ more than 50 years ago, and the fact that it is still performed around the world today is a testament to its timeless elegance. From the technically demanding classical choreography to the witty story-telling and comedic characters, to the gorgeous sets and costumes, this production has it all,” said James Sofranko, artistic director at Grand Rapids Ballet. “Our dancers are relishing the opportunity to perform this great work, and after a year away from the stage during the pandemic, they are especially eager to perform.”

Courtesy of Oregon Ballet Theatre, photo by Blaine Truitt Covert.

“Cinderella” features popular characters including Cinderella and her charming Prince, a magical Fairy Godmother, two wicked stepsisters, and a laughable Jester, among others. The ballet portrays the classic fairytale before stunning sets with characters donning striking costumes, making this a can’t miss family favorite. This production of “Cinderella” has been performed across the globe, and Grand Rapids Ballet is proud to join the ranks of renowned companies including The Washington Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Houston Ballet, and more for our 50th-anniversary premiere production.

Grand Rapids Ballet’s Company dancers, consisting of 19 professional dancers look forward to sharing the stage with a handful of students from Grand Rapids Ballet School, to perform the spellbinding choreography by renowned choreographer Ben Stevenson, O.B.E.

Courtesy of Oregon Ballet Theatre, photo by Jingzi Zhao.

“The audience will enjoy this production, it’s what people envision a classical ballet,” said Company dancer Yuka Oba-Muschiana. “All the dancers create the room and feeling by responding to the other characters. Everyone as a company is creating this ballet together, and that’s what creates the magic. ‘Cinderella’ is a very layered and quality performance; we don’t usually perform a full-length ballet other than ‘The Nutcracker,’ so I’m really looking forward to it!”

“Cinderella” takes place February 25-27 at DeVos Performance Hall with tickets starting at just $20 online, via phone at (616) 454-4771 ext. 10, or in-person at GRB’s Box Office.


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