Dance Magazine says Grand Rapids Ballet Company ‘is experiencing a renaissance’

Laura McQueen Schultz and Kyohei Giovanni Yoshida dance the Bluebird Pas de Deux during the Grand Rapids Ballet presentation of “Sleeping Beauty” at the Peter Martin Wege Theatre. (Chris Clark |

By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk | 
on November 07, 2012 at 2:25 PM, updated November 07, 2012 at 2:27 PM
Reposted from

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – “Grand Rapids Ballet Company is experiencing a renaissance.”

That’s the opening of an article in the current issue of Dance Magazine, now available on the newsstand.

In its Dance Matters column, titled “Rapids Rising” in its November issue, Steve Sucato gushes about Grand Rapids Ballet Company’s fortunes of late.

“An ambitious new repertoire, record-breaking sold-out performances, and a renewed local buzz have revitalized the 41-year-old company.”

Sucato credits artistic director Patricia Barker with the company’s resurgence since she took the helm as artistic director in 2010, though adding that the former principal dancer with Pacific Northwest Ballet “built on the foundation laid by her predecessor, Gordon Peirce Schmidt.”

“When Schmidt left, he took with him the 50-plus ballets he created for the company, so Barker has focused her attention on building a new repertoire. Her well-received mix of cutting-edge contemporary ballets by choreographers like Brian Enos and Olivier Wevers, and masterworks by Balanchine, Taylor, and Parsons, has allowed her to accelerate her vision for the company,” Sucato writes.

“As Michigan’s only professional ballet company, GRBC has also become a touring ambassador for the city of Grand Rapids and the state. This past July, GRBC dancers performed in Austria in a joint production with Ballet Bratislava.”

Grand Rapids Ballet Company opened its 41st season in October with a new production of “Sleeping Beauty,” a staple of the classical ballet repertoire.

GRBC’s company of 12 professional dancers, five apprentices and four trainees return to DeVos Performance Hall for Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” opening Dec. 14 for eight performances over two weekends.

The season continues in its 300-seat Wege Theatre with such dances as George Balanchine’s “Who Cares?” and “Four Temperaments” and Gerald Arpino’s “Light Rain” along with several new works. The season ends in May with a revival of “Romeo & Juliet by Mario Radacovsky, former director of the Ballet of the Slovak National Theatre, a production GRBC debuted in 2011.

That’s enough for Sucato to conclude, “In just a few seasons, the first-time director (Barker) has taken GRBC from a little-known regional ballet company to one making inroads into the national and international dance scene.”

A mention in a national publication tends to prove the point.

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