By Marketing Director Jessica Meldrum M.S.

Grand Rapids Ballet Hosts First In-Person Performance in 18 Months for Off the Canvas

Dancers Return to Home Theater, Peter Martin Wege Theatre, in Mid-October

Oct. 5, 2021Grand Rapids Ballet (GRB), Michigan’s only professional ballet company, is slated to return to its home theater, the Peter Martin Wege Theatre, for the first time in a year and a half for its come-back performance, “Off the Canvas,” taking place October 15-17, 2021.

Grand Rapids Ballet’s Company dancers, consisting of 19 professional dancers from across the globe, are gearing up for the return to live, in-person performances for the 2021-22 Moving Forward season.

“We are so happy to be back on stage at the Peter Martin Wege Theatre,” said James Sofranko, artistic director at Grand Rapids Ballet. “This will be the first public performance on our stage since March 2020 and we have certainly missed the thrill of having a live audience. The dancers’ joy to be back is so clear in rehearsal and I can’t wait to see how they embody that energy when they return to performance.”

Photos: In order of appearance: Off the Canvas, courtesy of BalletX, In-Frame, courtesy of Ray Nard Imagemaker, Cold Virtues, courtesy of Scott Rasmussen.

“Off the Canvas” features three different choreographers exploring art in motion, taking inspiration from the world of visual arts. Three world-class choreographers, Adam Hougland, Resident Choreographer Penny Saunders, and Katarzyna Skarpetowska, have created masterful works where GRB’s dancers will rebound for a thrilling return, once again before live audiences.

“The three choreographers in the ‘Off the Canvas’ have a knack for moving the dancers around the stage in bold strokes the same way an artist might paint on a large canvas,” said Sofranko. “I couldn’t think of a better way to return to the stage to showcase our fantastic company.”

Skarpetowska’s work, “Off the Canvas,” music by Adrian Lim-Klumpes and Vivaldi, brings to life Cy Twombly’s “Bacchus” paintings, encompassing their ecstatic looping movement. Saunders’ ballet, “In-Frame,” features music by Max Richter and explores the creative process cycle and coincides with Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Hougland’s ballet, “Cold Virtues,” scored by Philip Glass, loosely based on “Dangerous Liaisons,” follows a story of a power couple, moved to manipulate society for their own entertainment.

Tickets are available, starting at just $32, online, via phone at (616) 454-4771 ext. 10, or in-person at GRB’s Box Office. GRB also is expanding its reach to audience members who live beyond Grand Rapids by offering a 2021|22 Virtual Season. The Virtual Season offers an option for guests to enjoy Grand Rapids Ballet from afar for those who are unable to attend performances in person.

The programs included are part of the company’s 2021-22 Moving Forward season and offer something for everyone, including classical ballet favorites and contemporary creations including “Off the Canvas,” “Jumpstart 2022,” “The Nutcracker,” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The virtual performances will be available to stream digitally while available for $68, or $18 per performance ($25 for The Nutcracker).

The safety of our staff, patrons, and community remain our highest priority, and GRB’s leaders continue following prevailing public health guidelines to ensure our guests have a positive experience when attending our performances or when visiting our facilities. Our health and safety protocols are available at


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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