Grand Rapids Ballet presents passionate performance during Valentine’s Day

Courtesy Photo / Grand Rapids Ballet

Chris Clark

Courtesy Photo / Grand Rapids Ballet

Shelby Pendowski

Although the Grand Rapids Ballet Company didn’t choose Program 3 to revolve around Valentine’s Day, the performances include a lot of elements related to the holiday.

Consisting of three different productions, “Amazed in Burning Dreams,” “Who Cares?” and “The Sofa,” Program 3 is a great performance for Valentine’s Day, said dancer Darrell Haggard.

“There is a lot of passion,” Haggard said. “All three pieces have a couple themes and a theme around a relationship.”

Misty Hendricks, Grand Rapids Ballet Company’s marketing and box office director, said because it isn’t a typical performance, all dance lovers can enjoy it.

“It is not just what you think of with ballets with tutus and tights, it is more action, it is more excitement,” Hendricks said. “There are three different pieces of the program so there is something for everybody, both the guys and girls can enjoy it together. There are some humorous romantic moments, some more exciting energetic moments and then to top it all off, we have great jazz music performed live by the Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra.”

The company has performed with a live orchestra before, but it’s still different than with a recording, Haggard said.

“Usually with the normal orchestra it is more consistent, we tell them what tempo we want and they will keep to it every time,” Haggard said. “With the jazz orchestra, they hit every tempo – it should be exciting to see and to feel the performance with them.”

The company started working on the performance before their December performances of the Nutcracker. And during the past few months, the dancers and production crew have worked with choreographers to get through long, hard rehearsals, Hendricks said.

With three different productions coming into one, the audience gets to see a variety of costumes. They’re all handmade for this production, which Claire Gardeski, Grand Rapids Ballet Company’s costume shop employee, said took six months to finish.

Haggard said the cast is not only working hard at rehearsals, but also spending a lot of time at the gym and incorporating a healthy diet to look their best in the costumes.

“There is a lot of time at the gym because one of the costumes is very unforgiving,” he said.

The Grand Rapids Ballet Company offers a special $12 student price for all of their professional productions, which can be purchased up until an hour before the show time at the Ballet Box Office or at Hendricks said the promotion is to encourage students to attend more productions.

“Young audiences and student audiences, I think, can really appreciate what they will see onstage,” Hendricks said. “Our dancers are young as well, you got some of your peers out there.

Some of our dancers are as young as 17, 18 on up to their 30s, but there is a lot of youth on the stage, so it is really a great chance for a student to be able to see a peer and say, ‘Cool, look what they have done with their training and their passion.’ It can inspire you to continue on with yours.”
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