Grand Rapids Ballet at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park

Grand Rapids Ballet Returns to In-Person Outdoor Performances for its Summer Series

Grand Rapids Ballet, Michigan’s only professional ballet company, returns to the stage for the first time in 16 months for its Summer Series in August. The company is set to perform under the evening skies at two popular outdoor venues, the Listening Lawn at Studio Park in downtown Grand Rapids on August 14, and the amphitheater at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park on August 31.

Performance Program

Tap or Click for the Studio Park Program

Studio Park | August 14, 2021

Mozart Symphony (excerpt)

choreography: James Sofranko

music:  W.A. Mozart, Symphony No. 31

costume design:  Danielle Truss

dancers:  Alexandra Meister-Upleger, Branden Reiners, Emily Reed, Nathan Young

Le Corsaire Pas De Deux

choreography: traditional

music:  Ricardo Drigo

dancers:  Yuko Horisawa, Josue Justiz


choreography:  Jennifer Archibald

music: Luke Howard, Sheku Kennih-Mason

costume design:  Ronald Altman

dancers:  Ednis Gomez, Matthew Wenckowski

Passing Through

choreography:  Adriana Wagenveld

music:  Arvo Part, Spiegel im Spiegel

costume concept:  Adriana Wagenveld

dancers:  Sarah Marley, Nathan Young

The Sweet By and By (excerpts)

choreography:  James Sofranko

music:  Preservation Hall Jazz Band

costume design:  Danielle Truss


Precious Lord

Alexandra Meister-Upleger with Avery Held, Sofia Striegl, Todd Lani, Claudia Rhett, Ingrid Lewis, Katie Aaberg

Down by the Riverside

Adriana Wagenveld with Steven Houser, Isaac Aoki, Branden Reiners, Ednis Gomez, Zach Manske


Steven Houser with ensemble


Calling Forth

choreography:  James Sofranko

music: J.S. Bach, Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin

violinist:  Gene Hahn

costume design:  Ronald Altman

video production:  SALT Creative Studios



Sarah Marley, Emily Reed, Madison Massara


Julia Turner, Nathan Young


Alexandra Meister-Upleger, Steven Houser


Adriana Wagenveld, Ednis Gomez


Gretchen Steimle, Branden Reiners, James Cunningham

The Old Child

choreography:  Danielle Rowe

music:  Alton Giovanni

costume design:  Mario Alonzo

dancers: Emily Reed, Nathan Young

Give Me

choreography:  Penny Saunders

music:  Louis Armstrong

dancers:  Ednis Gomez, Isaac Aoki

Ave Maria

choreography:  James Sofranko

music:  Carlos Gomes

dancers: Gretchen Steimle, Branden Reiners

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (excerpt)

choreography: Christopher Stowell

music:  Felix Mendelssohn

costume design:  Sandra Woodall

dancers:  Yuka Oba-Muschiana, Josue Justiz

Tap or click for Frederik Meijer Gardens Program

Frederik Meijer Gardens | August 31, 2021

Romeo and Juliet Fantasy

Choreography: James Sofranko

Music: Peter Iliych Tchaikovsky

Costume design: Ronald Altman

Dancers: Yuka Oba-Muschiana, Josué Justiz

James Cunningham, Sarah Marley, Alexandra Meister Upleger, Nathan Young


Choreography: Jennifer Archibald

Music: Luke Howard, Sheku Kennih-Mason

Costume design: Ronald Altman

Dancers: Ednis Gomez, Matthew Wencowski

Ave Maria         

Choreography: James Sofranko

Music: Carlos Gomes

Dancers: Gretchen Steimle, Branden Reiners

The Old Child   

Choreography: Danielle Rowe

Music: Alton Giovanni

Costume design: Mario Alonzo

Costumes courtesy of SFDanceworks

Dancers: Emily Reed, Nathan Young


Choreography: Nicole Reehorst, Nathan Young

Music: Franz Joseph Haydn

Costume design: Ronald Altman

Dancers: Steven Houser, Sarah Marley, Julia Turner, Adriana Wagenveld


Don Quixote Pas De Deux          

Choreography: traditional after Petipa

Music: Ludwig Minkus

Dancers: Chisako Oga, Josué Justiz

Cold Virtues    

Choreography: Adam Hougland

Music: Philip Glass

Costume design: Marion Williams

Costumes courtesy of Louisville Ballet

Dancers: Alexandra Meister-Upleger, James Cunningham, Emily Reed, Steven Houser

Isaac Aoki, Ednis Gomez, Ingrid Lewis, Zach Manske, Sarah Marley, Madison Massara, Branden Reiners, Gretchen Steimle, Adriana Wagenveld, Nathan Young

“I am always looking for new ways to present the art of ballet to our community and the outdoor venues at Studio Park and FMG offer a unique opportunity to experience the depth and artistry of the Grand Rapids Ballet dancers,” said James Sofranko, artistic director at Grand Rapids Ballet. “After so many months away from the stage, we are eager to return to the immediacy of live performance and dancing with a passion that is fueled by the energy in the audience.”

Sweet By and By | GRB Company Dancers | Photo by Damion Van Slyke

The Summer Series programs include a variety of classical and contemporary works, including a live-performance premiere of Jennifer Archibald’s “Brothers,” excerpts from James Sofranko’s “The Sweet By and By,” Danielle Rowe’s “The Old Child,” Penny Saunders’ “Give Me,” and ahead of its GRB premiere in April 2022, a preview of Christopher Stowell’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” among others.

The programs also will feature talented guest artists, including Gene Hahn, associate concertmaster at West Michigan Symphony Orchestra, at Studio Park, and Chisako Oga, soloist at Boston Ballet, during the Frederik Meijer Gardens performance.

Calling Forth | Gretchen Steimle and James Cunningham | Photo by Ray Nard Imagemaker

The first program will take place at Studio Park, on Aug. 14. General admission tickets are available for $25 through Studio Park, and the performance will begin at 7 p.m. The second program features a return to Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park on Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. Tickets are free for Meijer Gardens members and included in general admission for other guests.

Season subscriptions are now available for the 2021-22 season with prices as low as $139. Individual tickets will go on sale this fall. This month, the company also is set to begin offering a Virtual Season subscription for guests who wish to see GRB dancers differently or are unable to join in person. Additional program details and performance dates and times can be found at

Brothers | Dancers, Isaac Aoki and Nigel Tau | Photo by Ray Nard Imagemaker

Grand Rapids Ballet’s dancers are counting down the days until the beginning of the 2021|22 Season, Moving Forward. They recently appeared in a video sharing their sentiments about the upcoming season and what they have most missed about performing.


About Grand Rapids Ballet:

Grand Rapids Ballet, Michigan’s only professional ballet company, celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2022, is committed to lifting the human spirit through the art of dance under experienced leadership. Grand Rapids Ballet, along with its Grand Rapids Ballet School and Junior Company continues a rich history marked by steady growth, a commitment to excellence, and strong community support.

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