Dance two nights away!

Grand Rapids Ballet dancers perform at the First Annual Summer Dance Festival in 2022. Photo courtesy of Grand Rapids Ballet.

The Grand Rapids Ballet is inviting the West Michigan community to its second annual Summer Dance Festival Aug. 25 and 26. Two evenings of world-class dance will be accompanied by tasty food and beer tents– all outdoors, right out front of the Peter Martin Wege Theatre, 341 Ellsworth Ave SW.

Dance styles, ranging from classical to contemporary and ballroom to hip-hop, will be part of the lineup at the Second Annual Summer Dance Festival Aug. 25 and 26. Photo courtesy of Grand Rapids Ballet.

“Last year, our Summer Dance Festival was such a success that we knew we wanted to bring it back again this year. This community-focused event showcases the art and talent that lives right here in Michigan, on one stage, celebrating our dance community,” said James Sofranko, artistic director at Grand Rapids Ballet.

Each evening, audiences will enjoy performances in many styles, ranging from classical to contemporary and ballroom to hip-hop. The stage opens for this specially curated and one-of-a-kind performance around 5:30 p.m., featuring professional companies and dance ensembles from across Michigan. Alongside Grand Rapids Ballet company dancers, apprentices, trainees, and Grand Rapids Ballet School Students, attendees can enjoy performances by Arthur Murray Dance Studio, CPR Dance: Inhale Movement, Deos Contemporary Ballet, Eisenhower Dance Detroit, Essence MVMT Collective, Golden Tiger Kung Fu Academy, Hannah Seidel + Chase Dance, Hope College: H2 Dance Co., La Fuerza and ACS Dance Group, Scoil Rince Ní Bharonáin, Seben Dance, Wellspring/Cori Terry & Dancers, and WMU Dance.

“This event is so special to me because it brings together dance enthusiasts, art lovers and people from all over Michigan to celebrate dance together. There’s nothing else like it,” Sofranko said.

GRB’s Summer Dance Festival is free to attend and will have wine, beer, and food available for purchase. This year’s food trucks include Being Cheesy, Los Jalapeños, Arcane Pizza, Frostbite Shaved Ice, Patty Matters, and Ice Box Brand.

A new addition to GRB’s festival this year is a children’s tent, including games, crafts, face painting, and even Gracie the Clown – plenty of activities for everyone in the family to enjoy. Attendees are encouraged to bring their friends, family, and their chair so they can sit back and enjoy an evening of outdoor performance.

After the Summer Dance Festival, Grand Rapids Ballet will return to the beautiful Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park as they perform outside in their amphitheater on Aug. 29, as part of its annual Summer Series. Tickets to the performance are free for Meijer Gardens members and included in general admission for other guests on the performance day. 

Featured works at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park include Elemental Brubeck with choreography by Lar Lubovitch, music by renowned jazz composer Dave Brubeck, and the return of Who Cares? from their 2022-23 season. With choreography by George Balanchine featuring the entire company and romantic pas de deux set to Gershwin tunes such as “I’ve Got Rhythm” and “The Man I Love,” the performance will surely be entertaining for attendees of all ages.

“I love providing new and unique experiences for our audiences by stepping outside the traditional theater, hopefully reaching new audiences along the way,” Sofranko said. “These events present the perfect opportunity for any member of our community to experience the ballet, and dance, in a new light.”

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