Grand Rapids Ballet is committed to enhancing the lives of those in their community by making the arts more widely accessible. The arts can transform lives, and we are passionate about sharing the joy of dance with as many people as possible. Being deeply involved in our community allows us to build relationships, identify needs, and connect with our West Michigan community to make a difference in their lives. Take a look at some of the community outreach programs below to see how you can get involved.


Boys 1 Program is a class that is free of charge, made possible through scholarship funding, that encourages and fosters a love of ballet for boys ages 5-8 years old. This introductory level class is tailored to learn the basics of dance movement and musicality. All classes are taught with accompaniment by a live pianist.


Students come to our state-of-the-art facility for two hours. While here they experience all aspects of what it takes to run a professional ballet company.

The day includes:

  •  • an exclusive chance to see and talk with the dancers and directors up close during a rehearsal at Peter Martin Wege Theatre in Grand Rapids, Michigan
  •  • a movement class taught by a staff member of the School of the Grand Rapids Ballet
  •  • a visit to the costume shop

This program allows for interactive participation between the students and Grand Rapids Ballet professionals. Email for more information.


“Explorer Dance” is a 60-minute, beginning-level ballet class that emphasizes balance, coordination, and creative expression for children and young adults, ages 10-19, with disabilities. The class focuses on maintaining a consistent routine and structure by encouraging students to follow a set of expectations set in place by our trained faculty.

The class features an inclusive and respectful space with an emphasis on developing a positive class environment. Instruction moves at a slower pace, using more frequent teacher-modeling and making connections between shapes that are created with the body. Instruction includes more explanations and breaking down of concepts. Although the class includes technique instruction, the focus centers more on engagement and celebration of movement.

The warm-up includes the “Brain Dance Method,” which warms up the body and brain to increase blood flow by moving through developmental movement patterns (tactile, core-distal, cross-lateral, and body-side). The class also includes opportunities for the dancers to move creatively through improvisation. Students enjoy interacting and building community with their fellow classmates and receiving support from one another each week.

Grand Rapids Ballet is proud to offer this class free of charge. A $20 non-refundable registration fee applies.


Grand Rapids Ballet is proud to offer Family Matinee performances, offering an introduction to the art of ballet for families and children. The programs will be led by Artistic Director James Sofranko and will include a demonstration of ballet, including plenty of opportunities for audience interaction, a performance from the professional company, and a chance to meet the dancers.

In an effort to accommodate sensory-sensitive audience members, the Family Matinee performances will feature low-sensory adjustments, including lowered volume, elimination of strobe lighting, and a 45-60 minute runtime.


Grand Rapids Ballet is proud to partner with GRBS alumni and hip-hop artist Ray Love to bring ballet and hip-hop instruction to multiple schools and grade levels within the Grand Rapids Public School System. To find out how to bring Grand Rapids Ballet to your school, please contact Ray Love at


Grand Rapids Ballet (GRB) and the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids are thrilled to announce a new partnership to offer a variety of dance classes for future dancers of all ages. Starting in October 2023, the community can sign up for beginner ballet classes with the experienced Grand Rapids Ballet School staff through the YMCA.

The new classes through this partnership open a wide range of courses for many ages, allowing anyone to participate. With hopes to inspire a new generation of dancers, members can sign up for Elementary Ballet (ages 6-9), Young Dancer Ballet (ages 10-14), and Adult Ballet (ages 15+) on Thursday evenings or a specific Boys Class (ages 5-8) on Friday evenings.

In the classes, dancers will be introduced to the fundamentals of classical ballet training, ballet technique, and terminology. These ballet classes are an excellent way for children to stay active, have fun, and build a community. Dancers will also learn fundamental skills such as flexibility, coordination, spatial awareness, musicality, and balance.

In addition to the traditional ballet classes offered, Grand Rapids Ballet School’sMoving with Parkinson’s” program has been added to the schedule at the YMCA’s Mary Free Bed location on Mondays from noon to 1 p.m. and is accessible to the public. Moving with Parkinson’s is a dance therapy class made specifically for people with Parkinson’s Disease, geared towards mobility. This class allows dancers to focus on holistic and therapeutic movement while enjoying time in a growing, supportive community.


The Grand Rapids Ballet School Diversity Scholarship encourages diversity within ballet education for Black, Latinx, Native North American, and Asian and Pacific Islander students. This scholarship was created and initially funded by James and Mary Nelson, to provide students in underrepresented communities in West Michigan access to quality ballet training and arts education.

Grand Rapids Ballet School supports the expansion of access to ballet training and works to create learning opportunities that exist for all students, focusing on marginalized and under-resourced community members.

Contributing to the GRBS Diversity Scholarship offers hope and the opportunity for success to present and future dancers who may not otherwise have the advantage. With the financial resources provided by the Diversity Scholarship, recipients benefit from nurturing instruction to develop a thorough knowledge of technique, the invaluable skill of self-discipline, and a lasting love of dance.


Moving with Parkinson’s is a dance therapy class made specifically for people with Parkinson’s Disease, geared towards mobility. GRBS is proud to continue to partner with the Parkinson’s Association of West Michigan to offer free weekly classes throughout the year for adults in the West Michigan community with Parkinson’s Disease. We offer classes at our Grand Rapids facilities as well as satellite classes in Holland. Moving with Parkinson’s dancers enjoy spending time in a supportive community, focusing on holistic and restorative movement.


The FAME Program (Fine Arts Music and Expression) provides satellite classes to Brookside Elementry students in 3rd – 5th grade three times a week during their typical school day. This unique ten-week program allows the students to explore arts and music and put on a showcase at the end of the program at the Kroc Center. Additionally, GRB Company dancers visit the students to put on two free performances throughout the program. The FAME program is free for students and currently has up to 100 active participants.


Grand Rapids Ballet hosts a free outdoor Summer Dance Festival in August. With two evenings of world-class dance outside our Peter Martin Wege Theatre, GRB intentionally invites various dance groups and organizations from our West Side community, curating a program that showcases the diversity of dance while bringing people together.

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