Contemporary Intensive 2017

Immerse yourself in contemporary repertoire and improvisation.

Immerse yourself in contemporary repertoire and improvisation
from our resident choreographer Penny Saunders (Hubbard Street)as well as
Olivier Wevers (Whim W’him) and Pablo Piantino (Hubbard Street).

If you have been accepted to our Summer Intensive Program and have not yet received your registration packet, please contact summerintensive (at)


July 31 – August 18 2017
Ages 16-24
Monday-Friday from 10am-6pm
(audition required)


Meijer-Royce Center for Dance
341 Ellsworth SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Program Tuition

$1,200 for 3 weeks


Housing may be available upon request. For more information, click HERE


A limited number of scholarships are available for the 2017 Summer Intensive Program.
Scholarships are awarded based on need and talent.
Learn more…

More Information

Call 616.454.4771 or email for more information today!

Download registration form HERE

Download release and health information forms HERE

Download responsibility pledge form HERE

Register for your Audition

Dancers attending our open auditions in person are asked to arrive at least 15 minutes early in order to complete their registration. All dancers should bring a headshot and a photo in arabesque. Ladies should be prepared to audition en pointe.

Video Audition

June 5, 2017 is the deadline to submit a video for auditions


Please submit a contemporary dance solo or improvisation
(duration should be between 2-3 minutes)

Audition Fee

The Summer Intensive audition fee is $20.

Contemporary Intensive Faculty

Penny Saunders

GRB Resident Choreographer, Hubbard Street

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, Whim W’Him, SFDancworks, Neos Dance Theater, Owen Cox Dance Group, and The Nexus Project. Saunders is honored to be the choreographer in residence at The Grand Rapids Ballet receiving support from The New York City Ballet Choreographic Commissions Initiative and to be the recipient of the 2016 Princess Grace Choreographic Fellowship.

Olivier Wevers

Artistic Director, Whim W’him
Originally from Brussels, Belgium, Olivier Wevers is the founder and Artistic Director of Seattle’s critically acclaimed contemporary dance company Whim W’Him. In 2012 Olivier was honored with the City of Seattle’s Mayor’s Arts Award and in 2011 he received the Princess Grace Choreographic Fellowship. In both 2011 and 2010 Olivier’s work took home the grand prize award at the Annual Dance Under the Stars Choreography Festival in California and he has also been named by Dance Magazine as one of their 25 to watch. Olivier first began exploring choreography in 2002 while still a Principal Dancer at Seattle’s Pacific Northwest Ballet. In 2009 he founded Whim W’Him to create a “platform, centered around choreography and dance, for artists to explore their craft through innovation and collaboration.” Olivier has created and set works for numerous companies and festivals around the world, including Pacific Northwest Ballet, Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Czech Republic’s Ballet of the National Theatre Brno, Grand Rapids Ballet, Northwest Dance Project, Ballet X, Spectrum Dance Theater, Seattle Dance Project, Cornish Dance Theater, Prix de Lausanne, PNB’s Laugh Out Loud Festival, White Bird’s 4×4 Ballet Project, and Against the Grain/Men in Dance. Olivier was chosen to participate in the 2009 National Choreographers Initiative held in Irvine California. In 2008, he was the recipient of the Artist Trust/ Washington State Arts Commission Fellowship Award that recognizing his work, Shindig, commissioned by PNB, while in 2006, he was selected to participate in the prestigious New York Choreographic Institute. Olivier danced as a Principal Dancer at Royal Winnipeg Ballet before becoming a Principal with PNB, where he danced lead roles in the major full-length classical ballets, as well as in contemporary works by the world’s most noted choreographers.

Pablo Piantino

Hubbard Street

Pablo began dancing at the age of 14. His training includes private seminars with Hector Zaraspe and studies at both the Colón Theatre School and The Juilliard School where he received his BFA. Having danced with both the Colón Theatre Ballet Company and The Juilliard School Dance Ensemble, Pablo joined the San Francisco Ballet in 1999 and then became a Hubbard Street company member in August of 2005.

Patricia Barker

Artistic Director, Grand Rapids Ballet

Patricia Barker, former principal dancer with Pacific Northwest Ballet, is considered one of the world’s most gifted ballerinas. She received her early ballet training from Lynne Williams in Richland, WA, studied on scholarship both at Boston Ballet School with E. Virginia Williams and Violette Verdy and Pacific Northwest Ballet School with Francia Russell, Perry Brunson and Janet Reed. Ms. Barker has danced in many of the great full length ballets and contemporary works from renowned choreographers. She performed with Pacific Northwest Ballet extensively throughout Europe, Asia, Australia and North America. She appeared as a guest artist with national and international ballet companies and performed in many galas throughout the world. Ms. Barker danced the lead role of Clara in Nutcracker the Motion Picture, and starred as Titania in the BBC’s film, A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a celebratory re-opening of the Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London. She graced the covers of Dance Magazine, Danser, Pointe Magazine, Dance Australia, Dance Teacher, Dance Pages, Ballet Review and Dance International. She stages, rehearses and coaches ballets for professional companies including staging works for the Balanchine Trust on the Slovak National Ballet and the Hungarian National Ballet. In her role as Artistic Advisor for the Slovak National Ballet, she also advised on programming and fundraising. Ms. Barker is a judge for international ballet competitions and teaches at nationally renowned ballet schools. She collaborated with Freed of London, producing an instructional video answering dancers’ most frequently asked questions about the art of wearing Pointe shoes. As a member of the artistic team of Broadway Bound, she choreographed full scale productions performed by children between the ages of 5 to 18. Ms. Barker’s entrepreneurial and management experience includes product design and development for her own dancewear company; a patent award while consulting with a leading dancewear manufacturer; and product development consulting for a dance accessories company. Ms. Barker’s involvement in fundraising includes Capital Campaigns, Endowments and Scholarships. She is currently a board member of the Tateuchi Center, a performing arts center in Bellevue, Washington and on the advisory boards for Pointe Magazine,, California Ballet and Broadway Bound. She has previously served on the advisory boards of The Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, Seattle’s premiere performance hall, and Minnesota Dance Theater. She is also dedicated to bring greater awareness to bone and joint health by acting as a spokes person for the United States Bone and Joint Decade. Ms. Barker has been instrumental in creating Fit to a T programs for young dancers to spread awareness about bone health and osteoporosis.

Audition Dates

January 14&15
(ages 14+)
Center of Creative ArtsSt. Louis, Missouri
January 22
Geiger BalletWest Bloomfield, Michigan
January 27
Capital Ballet TheatreLansing, Michigan
January 28
Grand Rapids BalletGrand Rapids, Michigan
January 29
Ballet ChelseaChelsea, Michigan
February 18
Ballet Arts Ensemble
Kalamazoo, Michigan
February 26
Joanne’s Dance Dynamics
Canton, Michigan
© Copyright - Grand Rapids Ballet 2022