Haley Baker

Haley Baker is originally from Enola, Pennsylvania and has been dancing since the age of three. She began her classical ballet training at Pennsylvania Regional Ballet in 2010 under the direction of Sandra Carlino. She also attended Ribbon Mill Ballet in Carlisle, Pennsylvania with individual coaching from Leslie Hench. She has attended summer programs at Pennsylvania Ballet, Miami City Ballet, the USA/IBC Dance School, and Joffrey Ballet Chicago. Baker went on to attend Indiana University and graduated from the Jacobs School of Music in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in Ballet and an Outside Field in Psychology. In her time at Indiana University, Baker performed in a wide variety of works from choreographers such as George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Twyla Tharp, Penny Saunders, and Mark Morris. In her senior year, Baker performed as Sugar Plum in Michael Vernon’s The Nutcracker and was working with Sasha Janes on the role of Cinderella in his new production of the full length classic. After graduation, she joined Grand Rapids Ballet where she danced for two seasons, performing in works such as George Balanchine’s Serenade and Christopher Stowell’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Baker is currently based in Chicago, IL where she is teaching and pursuing freelance opportunities.

Nicholas Bradley Gray

Nicholas Bradley Gray (he/they) is a local Director/Choreographer and Dance Educator. When not teaching ballet and musical theatre dance styles at Grand Rapids Ballet School or Grand Rapids Civic Theatre’s School of Theatre Arts, Nicholas is busy directing and choreographing musicals at local theatre companies (Pippin, Circle Theatre; On the Town, Western Michigan University). They are honored to return to the DeVos stage with the Grand Rapids Ballet and have recently been seen in Brian Enos’ Alice in Wonderland (White Rabbit)Val Caniparoli’s The Nutcracker (Chinese, Nutcracker Doll)Christopher Stowell’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Mechanical), and James Sofranko’s Romeo and Juliet. To find out more about Nicholas please visit their website

Cynthia Sofranko

Cindy started her ballet training at Long Beach Ballet in southern California and attended summer sessions at the Houston Ballet Academy and the School of the Pennsylvania Ballet. Her professional career began with New York Theatre Ballet where she had the opportunity to learn and work closely with ballet master Sallie Wilson, one of America’s finest dramatic ballerinas.  In 2004, Cindy was invited by Ms. Wilson to be a guest artist with Teatro Filarmonico in Verona, Italy to dance the role of Caroline in Antony Tudor’s Jardin Aux Lilas.

Her professional career continued with the Oakland Ballet, Diablo Ballet and finally nine seasons with Ballet San Jose under the direction of Dennis Nahat and later Jose Manuel Carreno. Throughout her career she has danced classical and contemporary works including works by Dennis Nahat, George Balanchine, Antony Tudor, Jerome Robbins, Twyla Tharp, Paul Taylor, Ben Stevenson, Donald McKayle, Jose Limon, Eugene Loring, Alicia Alonso, Leonide Massine, Bronislava Nijinska, Roland Petit, Val Caniparoli, Robert Garland, Donald Mahler, Julia Adam, Amy Seiwert, Yuri Zukhov, Nicolo Fonte, Dwight Rhoden, Trey McIntyre and Ohad Naharin. Some of her favorite experiences on stage have been in Tudor’s Jardin Aux Lilas,  the Spanish Princess in Nahat’s Swan Lake, the Bomb Squad in Tharp’s In the Upper Room, the solo woman in Taylor’s Piazzolla Caldera and the Girl with the Red Purse in Robbins’ Fancy Free.

Cindy currently teaches in the trainee program at the Grand Rapids Ballet and is on faculty at Michigan Ballet Academy. She’s comprehensively certified in Pilates and is a Senior Pilates instructor at Pilates in East in East Grand Rapids. Cindy is on the advisory board of San Francisco based contemporary company SFDanceworks.

Jon Upleger

Jon Upleger began his formal training under the direction of Petrus Bosman and David Keener at the Virginia School of the Arts. Upon graduation, he joined Nashville Ballet in 2000.

During his time at Nashville Ballet, Upleger has performed roles from such varied repertoire as Romeo inRomeo & Juliet, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, Albrecht in Giselle, Prince Desire in Sleeping Beauty, Prince Charming in Cinderella, the Sugar Plum Cavalier in Nashville’s Nutcracker and Dracula in Paul Vasterling’s Dracula.

Other leading roles include Stanley Kowalski in Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s American premiere of A Streetcar Named Desire, Christopher Wheeldon’s Ghosts, Jiri Kylian’s Petite Mort and Sechs Tanze, Twyla Tharp’s Sinatra Suite, Salvatore Aiello’s Satto, the Protagonist in Vasterling’s Firebird, Oberon in AMidsummer Night’s Dream, and Christopher Stuart’s Under the Lights and 7 Deadly Sins. He has also had the honor of working with Christopher Bruce, Jennifer Archibald, Gina Patterson and Val Caniparoli.

After performing Upleger became a rehearsal director with Nashville ballet.
While teaching at the School of Nashville Ballet Upleger helped create the Young Men’s Scholarship Program, which provides tuition-free ballet training for males age 6-18, and served as a Principal Instructor.

In 2021 he opened the Grand Rapids School of Dance. He is happy to be back in his home state bringing the joy of dance to the Grand Rapids Community with his wife, Alexandra, and sons, Hudson and Blake.

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