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Grand Rapids Ballet steps to next season

April 1, 2013
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Grand Rapids Ballet steps to next season
The Grand Rapids Ballet presents various styles of dance from choreographers of the 20th and 21st centuries. Photo via fb.com

The Grand Rapids Ballet has announced its 2013-2014 season, which kicks off in October with a “haunting” production of “Dracula” that will include updated scenery, projections and a newly orchestrated score.

The “Nutcracker,” “Rubies for Valentine’s Day” and MOVEMEDIA will help audiences get through the cold winter months, and in May the season concludes with the world premiere of Olivier Wevers' “A Midsummer Night's Dream.”

There also will be two Junior Company productions during the season: Junior Company Performance, Oct. 11-13, and “Beauty and the Beast,” created by Attila Mosolygo, May 2-4.

As in past years, the upcoming season promises enough variety and choreographic excellence to show off the full talents of the company.

“The diversity in our programming challenges the dancers technically and artistically to bring out the best in their art,” said Patricia Barker, GRB artistic director. “Working with so many choreographers and stagers on a diverse repertoire features and highlights each individual dancer’s strengths.

“Not only do they have the chance to bring the works of famous choreographers such as Balanchine and Limon to the stage, they also have the incredible opportunity to be involved from the start in the intricate creative process of world premieres created specifically for our company.”

The world premiere of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is one such opportunity afforded the GRB company.

“Right now the artistic team is working with choreographer Olivier Wevers to learn his vision for this production and begin discussing how to execute it,” Barker said.

“The creative process for each ballet is truly unique. There are so many elements that go into producing the final product you see on stage. It is our job to take the choreographer’s vision and translate it using lighting, costumes, visual effects, music and, of course, dance. Each day will reveal new changes on how his vision comes to life. For the dancers it is an amazing opportunity to be part of the work from the beginning, having it created on you. This will be a magical and mystical production for dancers and audience.”

Following its previous success, MOVEMEDIA will expand to two weekends for the coming season. It was introduced during the 2011-2012 season, and merges visual elements of sets and lighting, framed by technology and digital media to enhance the body in space.

“The debut of this series last season was met with such enthusiasm and full capacity that we are adding a show to each set next season,” Barker said. “Our 2014 artist-in-residence, nationally recognized and award-winning choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, will blend energy with emotions in her works for MOVEMEDIA.”

Barker has previously said that MOVEMEDIA creates new works by some of the most gifted choreographers working today.

In addition to Ochoa, there also will be new works by choreographers Mario Radacovský (“Black Swan White Swan,”“Romeo & Juliet”) and Kirk Peterson (“Amazed in Burning Dreams”).

GRB said that the upcoming season fully reflects its mission of creative innovation and artistic excellence.

“GRB is constantly adding new works to its repertoire,” said Barker. “We commission new works at a greater rate than any other ballet company right now. Our repertoire includes some of the greatest works by the most renowned choreographers. Artistic excellence is reflected not only in the quality of works we present but also by the dancers here at GRB — their technical abilities and artistic versatility.”

Since Barker joined GRB in 2010, it has added 52 ballets to its repertoire, from short solos to full-length ballets, and 20 of these works were specifically created for the company.

Productions and dates: “Dracula,” Oct. 25-27 and Oct. 31-Nov. 2; “The Nutcracker,” Dec. 13-15 and Dec. 20-22; “Rubies for Valentine’s Day,” Feb. 14-16 and Feb. 21-23; MOVEMEDIA, Program I March 28-30 and Program II April 25-27; and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” May 9-11 and May 16-18.

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