Grand Rapids Ballet returns to in-person performances

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It’s been 16 months since the Grand Rapids Ballet performed in front of an in-person audience. That changes on Saturday: The company is kicking off its “Summer Series” at Studio Park in Grand Rapids.

Dancers say the past year and a half hasn’t been easy.

“It’s been really hard to just perform for a camera. That energy you get from a crowd is not the same as just when a camera is rolling in front of you,” said company dancer James Cunningham.

“There’s that really magical moment between the audience and the dancers that you just can’t have, and you don’t get through virtual performances,” said Alexandra Meister-Upleger, another dancer with the company. “I think right now the arts are probably the most important thing that people have in their life that they can look forward to.”

“We’re really excited to have that adrenaline rush again and to really feel like we’re sharing our art with the community,” said Cunningham.

Cunningham and Meister-Upleger have been dancers with the company for years. They say what they are most looking forward to is giving people a reason to smile again.

“I think it’s really good to keep the idea of hope alive in all of our lives,” said Cunningham.

They hope to show West Michigan that there can be a light through the hardest of times.

“People have been cooped up at home, and now we have the beautiful weather here in Michigan and it’s the perfect opportunity to get out and to see something live, outside, without being too stressed about the pandemic,” said Meister-Upleger. “Hopefully, we can bring some hope, some inspiration, and some joy to people that have been missing out on that.”

The series begins on Saturday on Studio Park’s Listening Lawn in Grand Rapids. The second performance will be at Frederik Meijer Gardens on Aug. 31.

More information about the “Summer Series” and season subscriptions including pricing can be found on their website.

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