Grand Rapids Ballet Announces Outdoor Performances as Part of its Annual Summer Series Plus a Free Outdoor Festival

By Marketing Director Jessica Meldrum M.S.
August 2, 2022

Grand Rapids Ballet (GRB) is offering a variety of outdoor performances throughout August as part of its annual Summer Series. The events kick off at the Listening Lawn at Studio Park in downtown Grand Rapids on August 19 and 20 with tickets priced at only $25. The dancers will then perform at the amphitheater at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park on August 30 with tickets that are free for Meijer Gardens members and included in general admission for other guests on the day of the performance.

“Grand Rapids Ballet’s Summer Series was conceived when we were looking for safe ways to perform during Covid, and our audiences and dancers enjoyed it so much that we’ve decided to continue this new tradition of performing outside in our beautiful Michigan summer said James Sofranko, artistic director at Grand Rapids Ballet. “I love providing new and unique experiences for our audiences by stepping outside of the traditional theater, hopefully reaching new audiences along the way.”

Featured works at Studio Park will include GRB Artistic Director James Sofranko’s “Mozart Symphony,” an excerpt from his “A Dreamer,” the pas de deux from “Romeo and Juliet,” and selected works from “Jumpstart 2022.” At Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, dancers will perform works including Katarzyna Skarpetowska’s “Off the Canvas,” George Balanchine’s “Serenade,” and excerpts from Sofranko’s “Romeo and Juliet.”

As Grand Rapids Ballet continues to celebrate 50 years in 2022, the organization also is announcing a first-of-its-kind free Summer Dance Festival, taking place outdoors on Friday, August 26, and Saturday, August 27. In collaboration with other performance groups throughout Michigan, GRB welcomes West Michigan to enjoy two evenings of world-class dance, tasty food from local food trucks, and Michigan-made beer all under the evening skies outside of the Peter Martin Wege Theatre.

“The idea for our Summer Dance Festival was born out of a community-wide celebration of our 50th anniversary, and in that spirit, I’ve opened the stage to performers from our diverse local dance community,” said Sofranko. “I hope that people will recognize not only the treasure of Grand Rapids Ballet that exists here but also the thriving arts scene and the multitude of dance organizations that bring art daily into our lives.”

The outdoor stage will open for the first performance at 6 p.m., featuring classical ballet favorites and contemporary works performed by Grand Rapids Ballet’s company dancers, apprentices, and trainees. The evening also will feature performances by Grand Rapids Ballet School students. Guests are invited to bring their own chairs to enjoy the performances.

To celebrate dancers and different styles of dance from across the Mitten state, GRB is hosting various community dance partners who also will perform throughout the event, including Arthur Murray Dance Studio, Dancespire, Deos Contemporary Ballet, Edgar L. Page (Aug. 26), Golden Tiger Kung Fu Academy (Aug. 27), Grand Valley State University Dance Program, La Fuerza de Grand Rapids (Aug. 26), Ray Love, and Traverse City Dance Project (Aug. 27).

“We are excited to present an inclusive and community-centered showcase of the best dance artists and students in Grand Rapids,” said Executive Director Glenn Del Vecchio. “We are very proud to have been a part of the art and culture of Grand Rapids for the past 50 years and look forward to continuing to serve our region and Michigan into the next 50!”

General admission tickets to both Studio Park performances are available for $25 online. Tickets to the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park performance are free for Meijer Gardens members and included in general admission for other guests on the day of the performance. Each of the Summer Series performances begins at 7 p.m.

GRB’s official season kicks off at its home theater, the Peter Martin Wege Theatre in October with “Elemental Movement,” before continuing with the holiday favorite, “The Nutcracker” in December. GRB will return to DeVos Performance Hall in February to present World Premiere choreography by Artistic Director James Sofranko with “Romeo and Juliet.” The season continues in March with the annual production “Jumpstart 2023” and will close with “Ballet + Broadway” in April. GRBS’ Junior Company will present two productions, “Spooktacular,” taking place in October, and “Wizard of Oz,” in March, both at Peter Martin Wege Theatre.

Individual tickets for the entire 2022-23 season are available online now at or directly through Ticketmaster. Season Subscriptions also are available for new and returning patrons. Season subscription packages offer the ability to choose the best seat for the best price, get half-off classic holiday performances, and receive special invitations to exclusive GRB events. Call Grand Rapids Ballet’s box office today at 616-454-4771 ext. 110 to learn more about subscription packages and to purchase a specialized package.

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