The dancers of Grand Rapids Ballet (GRB), Michigan's only professional ballet company, will adorn the stage at DeVos Performance Hall with beautiful sets and beloved characters for the return of a holiday favorite, The Nutcracker, taking place December 9-11 & 16-18, 2022. The performances are part of GRB's celebratory 50th anniversary season.
Audiences will be captivated as the elegant Sugar Plum Fairy and her gallant Cavalier guide Clara through the Land of the Sweets. Along the way, menacing mice and brave soldiers engage in an epic Battle Scene, leading up to festive celebrations as Clara is mesmerized by a fantastic waltz.
"We are always brimming with excitement around Nutcracker time! This production is unique to Grand Rapids Ballet, and we are so fortunate to have had it created for us by a truly world-class artistic team," said James Sofranko, Artistic Director at Grand Rapids Ballet. "Not only is it a charming story for the whole family with fantastic music, but it is told through classical ballet with steps that must be performed precisely and push our company to new heights. Every year the dancers strive to outdo themselves during The Nutcracker, and I love seeing them create magic on the stage each and every night!"
GRB's The Nutcracker was reimagined in 2014 by GR-native, Chris Van Allsburg, author of "The Polar Express," and features set designs by Eugene Lee, a Tony Award®-winner for productions including The Lion King (1998) and Wicked (2004), among others. The production also features Tchaikovsky's magical score, performed live by the Grand Rapids Symphony with vocals by Grand Valley State University's Department of Music.
Grand Rapids Ballet's Company dancers, consisting of professional dancers from across the globe, share the stage with more than 65 students from Grand Rapids Ballet School who all come together to perform captivating choreography by Val Caniparoli, one of America's most renowned choreographers.
"What's amazing about The Nutcracker is it has something for the whole family and the young at heart," said Caniparoli. "It's part of the holiday tradition—from the beautiful dancing to the sets and music, everything involved is a treat for the senses."
Dancing several roles this year, GRB company dancer Yuka Oba-Muschiana shares a glimpse at what makes The Nutcracker characters memorable in her eyes.
"Dream Clara, just like her name, is very dreamy and full of joy with what's happening to her on this magical Christmas night," Oba-Muschiana said. "She is all that girls dream of, meeting her Nutcracker prince and journeying together. The audience will see our happiness and our dreams come true on stage, and we will make them feel bright in their hearts!"
For an added experience, Grand Rapids Ballet is once again hosting a one-of-a-kind holiday celebration, made just for kids on Sunday, December 11. Clara's Nutcracker Party is a joyous event where children can meet their favorite characters from The Nutcracker in a fun and festive fantasy land at Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. This incredible holiday experience includes a fun arts and crafts activity, tea and brunch, a reading of The Nutcracker tale, and a live performance by the Grand Rapids Ballet School.
Sponsored by Foster Swift and Meijer, The Nutcracker runs for two weekends with tickets available online, via phone at 616.454.4771 ext. 110, or in-person at GRB's Box Office.
Courtesy of West Michigan Woman.
Photos Courtesy of Grand Rapids Ballet Company.