Grand Rapids Ballet is giving virtual hugs to health care workers and other frontline workers through a performance video that was posted online earlier this week.
“My wife had been finding articles about messages of support having a positive impact on the mental state of workers in the health care industry, so we started brainstorming about how we, as ballet dancers, could use our talents to send a special message of our own,” James Sofranko, artistic director of the Grand Rapids Ballet. “It is heartbreaking to me that the very people tasked with solving this pandemic may end up suffering from PTSD. I am very proud of the dancers of Grand Rapids Ballet who volunteered to participate in this one-of-a-kind video message to offer our moral support.
“It is our desire that this video will offer them strength and encouragement during the difficult times. We hope this message can be shared with health care workers across the state of Michigan and the entire country. We will not get through this without them, and we must do everything we can to show our gratitude. We are behind them, we are inspired by them and we stay home for them.”
The volunteered dancers, dressed in blue to support health care workers, are performing to the prelude of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, which is played by cellist Jeremy Crosmer of Grand Rapids’ ESME (Eclectic String Music Ensemble).
The dancers are James Cunningham, Steven Houser, Ingrid Lewis, Celeste Lopez-Keranen, Madison Massara, Alexandra Meister-Upleger, Yuka Oba-Muschiana, Emily Reed, Gretchen Steimle, Nigel Tau, Julia Turner, Adriana Wagenveld, Matt Wenckowski and Nathan Young.
The piece was produced by Sofranko and Cindy Sheppard Sofranko. It was edited by Joe Sofranko and Lili Fuller.