Grand Rapids Ballet to Host Free Outdoor Summer Dance Festival

By Jessica Meldrum M.S.
August 22, 2022

Taking place this weekend, as Grand Rapids Ballet (GRB) continues to celebrate 50 years in 2022, the organization 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 Artistic Director James Sofranko.

The outdoor stage will open with live music by local singer/songwriter Ralston Bowles from 5:15-5:45 each evening and the first dance performances will begin 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.

“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!”

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, CPR Dance: Inhale Movement, 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), and Ray Love – The P.A.C.K.

“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,” Sofranko shared.

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