Yuko Horisawa and James Cunningham; photo: Scott Rasmussen
James Sofranko, Artistic Director
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ARTISTIC DIRECTOR MESSAGE Dear Friends, Welcome to our return to DeVos Performance Hall for Grand Rapids Ballet’s favorite holiday tradition, The Nutcracker, live with the Grand Rapids Symphony! It has been too long since we have performed live on this stage, and it is not an understatement to say that we have been dreaming of this moment for a long time! Since the pandemic shut down our programming in March of 2020, we have found new ways to continue practicing and producing our art, performing outdoors in parks, backyards, and rooftops, at Frederik Meijer Gardens and ArtPrize, and on television and computer screens, where our dancers were seen around the world. But nothing can replicate the live theater experience when the conductor raises the baton, the musicians swell in unison, the curtains open, and the dancers invite you into a world where you can be swept away in the beauty of the moment. Thank you for being here to experience the magic of Grand Rapids Ballet. We could not be returning to live performances without the support of all of our patrons, subscribers, and generous individuals and foundations. Without the revenue of ticket sales for an entire season, we were dependent solely on philanthropy, and for that, we are forever grateful to our community. Thank you to our staff, dancers, board members, and volunteers for putting in the hard work to see us through to the present moment, where we return to what we know and love best: live performance. Turning the calendar to 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of Grand Rapids Ballet, and we are excited to celebrate this important milestone with our audience! I have been inspired to learn about the countless dedicated individuals who had the dream for a professional ballet company in Grand Rapids and took the steps to make it a reality 50 years ago. Please join us for the kickoff celebration, February 25-27, featuring the Grand Rapids Ballet premiere of Ben Stevensen’s grand and classic tale, Cinderella, with Grand Rapids Symphony performing Prokofiev’s treasured score. Please visit grballet.com to learn more about upcoming 50th-anniversary events in 2022. I hope you enjoy The Nutcracker, with choreography by Val Caniparoli, and design by famed Grand Rapidian Chris Van Allsburg. Thank you for supporting the performing arts and for making Grand Rapids Ballet a part of your holidays. I wish you and your family a safe and joyous season.
James Sofranko, Artistic Director
PROGRAM NOTES GRAND RAPIDS BALLET presents
Nutcracker James Sofranko, Artistic Director
Original Story E.T.A. Hoffmann
(Translation by Michael Auer)
Choreographer Val Caniparoli Composer Pyotr I. Tchaikovsky Set & Production Designers Chris Van Allsburg & Eugene Lee Presenting Sponsor
Lighting Designer Paul Miller Costume Designer Patricia Barker Executive Producer Glenn Del Vecchio World Premiere December 11, 2014 DeVos Performance Hall, Grand Rapids, Michigan Production Sponsor
Approximate performance length is two hours including intermission.
OUT OF RESPECT FOR YOUR FELLOW PATRONS AND THE DANCERS, PLEASE SILENCE ALL ELECTRONIC DEVICES. THE USE OF PHOTOGRAPHY OR VIDEO DURING THE PERFORMANCE IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED. MASKS ARE REQUIRED INSIDE THE THEATRE AT ALL TIMES.
THE NUTCRACKER | CREATORS CHRIS VAN ALLSBURG
SET & PRODUCTION DESIGNER Van Allsburg is one of America’s most innovative picture book creators. He has twice received the Caldecott Medal (for The Polar Express and Jumanji) as well as a Caldecott Honor for his very first book, The Garden of Abdul Gasazi. He has also been awarded the Regina Medal for lifetime achievement in children’s literature, among other honors.
SET & PRODUCTION DESIGNER Lee received BFA degrees from the Art Institute of Chicago and Carnegie Mellon University, an MFA from Yale Drama School and three honorary doctorates. He has won Tony Awards for Candide, Sweeney Todd, and Wicked, as well as the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Set Design. He has been the production designer for Saturday Night Live since 1974.
VAL CANIPAROLI CHOREOGRAPHER Caniparoli is one of the most sought-after American choreographers contributing to the repetories of more than 45 companies throughout the world. He is most closely associated with San Francisco Ballet, his artistic home for over 40 years. Caniparoli has worked with The Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera and Symphony, Chicago Lyric Opera, as well as with San Francisco’s esteemed American Conservatory Theater.
PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY
COMPOSER (1840-1893) Tchaikovsky is widely considered the most popular Russian composer in history. Acclaim came readily in 1875 with his composition Symphony No. 3 in D Major. In 1876, he completed the ballet Swan Lake as well as the symphonic fantasy Francesca da Rimini. His collective body of work constitutes 169 pieces, including symphonies, operas, ballets, concertos, cantatas, and songs. Among his most famed late works are the ballets The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker.
E.T.A. HOFFMAN AUTHOR (1776-1862)
Hoffman was a Prussian Romantic author of fantasy and horror, a jurist, composer, music critic, draftsman, and caricaturist. His stories form the basis of Jacques Offenbach’s famous opera The Tales of Hoffmann, in which Hoffmann appears as the hero. He is also the author of the novella The Nutcracker & The Mouse King, on which the famous ballet is based. The ballet Coppélia is based on two other stories that Hoffmann wrote, while Schumann’s Kreisleriana is based on Hoffmann’s character Johannes Kreisler. Hoffmann’s stories were very influential during the 19th century, and he is one of the major authors of the Romantic movement.
THE NUTCRACKER | STORY ACT I — Prologue —
It is Christmas Eve and the Stahlbaum’s house is decorated with ornaments, garlands, and a majestic Christmas tree. Godfather Drosselmeier has snuck into the Great Room to prepare a few surprises for the enjoyment of his favorite godchildren, Fritz and Clara Stahlbaum.
— Street Scene and Party —
Guests hurry across the streets in preparation for the party. After Drosselmeier’s arrival at the Stahlbaum’s house, he presents the magical gifts that Fritz and Clara have waited so anxiously for. Drosselmeier presents dolls, trumpets, cannons, and more to all of the children at the party. He then presents Clara with a most wondrous gift – a dancing Nutcracker doll. Overjoyed with the doll, she dances with him. The evening grows late, the children become sleepy and the guests depart. Clara cannot resist sneaking downstairs to search for her beloved Nutcracker, which she finds safely standing on the fireplace mantel. She gathers him into her arms and falls asleep, dreaming of her handsome Nutcracker. At the stroke of midnight, Clara awakens to find her Nutcracker missing from her arms, and sees Drosselmeier. He greets her with a grand bow and she takes his hand as they journey under the tree.
— The Battle —
The room begins to transform: The tree grows to gigantic proportions and, out of nowhere, menacing mice appear. A massive army of soldiers gather and a fierce battle erupts between the Mouse King and the Nutcracker. The Nutcracker becomes overwhelmed and Clara, desperate to save him, pulls at the Mouse King’s tail. The Nutcracker lands the fatal
blow and Clara runs to his side and stands weeping while the soldiers encircle them for protection.
— Snow Scene —
The Nutcracker is transformed into a human prince and Clara into a beautiful woman. They dance through a snowy forest where snowflakes turn and swirl around them as they begin their magical journey to the Capital City and Marzipan Castle.
* 20-Minute Intermission * ACT II — Marzipan Castle —
Clara and the Nutcracker Prince sail across Lemonade Lake. In the distance they can see Marzipan Castle. As Clara and the Nutcracker Prince arrive, they are greeted by the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. Clara immediately recognizes her as the beautiful doll that came to life at the Christmas party. The Nutcracker Prince and Clara recount their tale of the fierce battle with the army of mice and the defeat of the ferocious Mouse King. The Sugar Plum Fairy announces a special celebration to honor the brave young couple. Representatives with gifts from surrounding nations join the festivities, with chocolate from Spain, spice from Arabia, tea from China, pastilles from France, and from Russia, caviar. To the enjoyment of all, the Dew Drop Fairy leads a bouquet of flowers in a beautiful, mesmerizing waltz. The most wonderful dance of all is danced by the Sugar Plum Fairy and her gallant Cavalier.
— Conclusion —
To say goodbye to Clara and the Nutcracker Prince, everyone returns for one last farewell as, alas, all dreams must come to an end. Or was it a dream? 7
DIVERSITY, EQUITY, & INCLUSION OUR PLEDGE
Grand Rapids Ballet is dedicated to expanding the experience of world-class dance and artistic excellence. Our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Committee, comprised of board members, staff, and dancers, is committed to examining our efforts, seeking out all voices in our community, and creating actions to be a more inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible cultural organization.
THE NUTCRACKER Over the past 130 years since The Nutcracker’s creation, harmful stereotypes of specific cultures have been portrayed across countless versions of the production. Grand Rapids Ballet’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion committee continuously works to ensure that our production does not perpetuate these stereotypes and represents all cultures in an appropriate and respectful manner. We have pledged to eliminate outdated stereotypes in all productions and seek to make our performances welcoming and enjoyable for all people.
LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT As a first important step in our ongoing mission for social justice, Grand Rapids Ballet would like to recognize the People of the Three Fires, the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potowatomi peoples on whose land we are gathered. The Three Fires People are indigenous to this land which means that this is their ancestral territory. The Grand Rapids Ballet is built on native land. As such, we are guests on their land, and one way to practice Right Relations is to develop genuine ways to acknowledge the histories and traditions of the people who originated here first, who are still here, and who tend to the land always. As we take this step, we understand that there are many more ahead as we continuously advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in our community. 8
THE NUTCRACKER | MUSIC
GRAND RAPIDS SYMPHONY
CLARINET Joel Schekman Michael Kornacki
*VIOLIN James Crawford, Concertmaster Christina Fong, Associate Concertmaster Grace Kim, Assistant Concertmaster Eric Tanner, Principal 2nd Haijin Choi Megan Crawford Kimia Ghaderi Christine Golden Diane McElfish Helle Sterling Jenkins Patricia Kates Christopher Martin Linda Nelson Joo Yun Preece David Wheeler
BASS CLARINET David Yandl
VIOLA Leslie Van Becker, Principal Barbara Corbató Mary Jane Miller Kristen A. Shoup Olga Ziabrikova
TROMBONE Christopher Houlihan, Principal Daniel Mattson
CELLO Alicia Eppinga, Principal Andrew Laven, Assistant Principal Andrew Plaisier Will Preece
TUBA Jacob Cameron
BASS Michael Hovnanian, Assistant Principal Mark Buchner Kevin Flannery
PERCUSSION William Vits, Principal David Hall HARP Elizabeth Wooster Colpean, Principal
* Strings are listed in alphabetical order after the titled chairs
FLUTE Christopher Kantner, Principal Ruth Bylsma, Assistant Principal Judith Kemph PICCOLO Judith Kemph OBOE Alexander Miller, Assistant Principal Sarah Constable ENGLISH HORN Kathleen Gomez
BASSOON Brigid Babbish, Assistant Principal Andrew Genemans HORN Richard Britsch, Principal Erich Peterson Mary Beth Orr Paul Austin Tricia Ruffer TRUMPET Charley Lea, Principal George Goad
BASS TROMBONE Robert Ward
TIMPANI Daniel Karas, Principal
CELESTE Andrew Focks Erich Peterson, Personnel Manager Sarah Bowman Peterson, Principal Librarian Colin Bunnell, Assistant Librarian Kyle Viana, Production Stage Manager CONDUCTOR John Varineau
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Learn more about Grand Rapids Ballet’s dancers at grballet.com/dancers. Dancer headshots by Isaac Aoki and Jessica Meldrum.
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GRAND RAPIDS BALLET STAFF COMPANY Artistic Director James Sofranko Executive Director Glenn Del Vecchio Marketing Director Jessica Meldrum Dev. & Engagement Coordinator Julie Lesniak Production Stage Manager Megan Marie Thompson Costume Shop Manager Ronald Altman Company/Facilities Manager John Ferraro Artistic Coordinator/Ballet Master Dawnell Dryja Black Asst. Ballet Master Steven Houser Guest Services Manager Errol Shewman Pianists Ryan Blok, Justin Gray, Margi Peterson
Pianists Ryan Blok, Idalmira Lopez, Mark Moran Receptionists Mary-Ann Carpenter, Audrey Walker, Arianna Wisniewski PRODUCTION CREW Production Carpenter Jesse Phipps Asst. Production Carpenter Megan Claypool Production Flyman Andrew Steers Production Electrician Matt Taylor Asst. Production Electrician/L2 Glenn Gould Watchout Programmer/L3 Mark Neumann Production Properties Ben Knudstrup Assistant Stage Manager Molly Bea Goodman
SCHOOL Director & Junior Company Artistic Director Attila Mosolygo Curriculum Coordinator Mindy Mosolygo Administrator SarahJean Bos Faculty Melanie Anderson Brossiet, James Cunningham, Steven Houser, Jillian Gasper, Nicholas Gray, Katherine Koning, Sarah Marley, Kate Matlack, Yuka Oba-Muschiana, Gretchen Steimle, Taryn OrtegaFurgeson, Nigel Tau, Jessica Winter-Troutwine
Grand Rapids Ballet’s Virtual Season, in partnership with SALT Creative Production Studio, offers a unique perspective to our performances, streaming digitally from anywhere. You are invited to tune in and enjoy Grand Rapids Ballet’s Virtual Season when it fits your schedule. Explore the other benefits below: - Stream our virtual programs multiple times while available. - Enjoy the Virtual Season Subscription for only $50. - Subscribers will receive access to performances for two weeks. - Individual virtual programs will be available for $18. - The Nutcracker is available for $25 through January 2, 2022.
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THE NUTCRACKER Nutcracker season, it’s the most wonderful time of the year at Grand Rapids Ballet. From swirling snowflakes to a full cast of beloved characters, our dancers share a glimpse behind the curtain expressing exactly what goes into preparing for the annual holiday favorite, The Nutcracker. Rehearsals began in August, so as the rays shined brightly outside, Grand Rapids Ballet dancers got into the holiday spirit earlier than most for the production. To prepare to portray the iconic role of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Company dancer Alexandra Meister-Upleger shared what she does to get ready. “I listen to a lot of holiday music. I get really excited to spread holiday cheer and magic of the holidays with everyone,” she said with a laugh. Company dancer Steven Houser, who also serves as Assistant Ballet Master, works with his fellow dancers and artistic staff to stage the production. This experience adds a unique perspective, encompassing many layers beyond the movements that are practiced in the studio. “The Nutcracker is one of the few opportunities where so many art forms collide,” explained Houser. “This production is a gorgeous, visual-art work that Chris Van Allsburg and Val Caniparoli created with our beautiful dancing and the incredible Grand Rapids Symphony. The coalescing of all of the different forms of art together in a unified way creates a huge impact on the audience. Even the sets transition and move, so there’s a performance element to the scenery. All of these layered elements create this sense of magic that heightens one another and it’s really magical.” Bringing that magic to life, Meister-Upleger shared that portraying the Sugar Plum Fairy is a dream role that allows her to enact the epitome of femininity. “Val Caniparoli’s version of The Nutcracker, with the beautiful pas de deux, is very exciting,” she remarked. “There are lots of intricate steps and lifts and fouette turns, all with a big finish before Clara has to go home and back to sleep.” 26
BEHIND THE CURTAIN For some, stepping into their role provides an opportunity to incorporate pieces of their personality into the character. Company dancer Nathan Young shares how he transforms into the Nutcracker Prince. “It’s me embodying the role, so it’s my identity that I insert into the character. It’s a part that I can bring some of myself into,” Young explained. “The Nutcracker Prince is the archetypal prince. He’s nice to everybody and similar to princes from history, he’s good in combat, he’s well known in the Land of the Sweets, he’s regal and kind, and well respected. It’s fun to step into that energy.” Yuka Oba-Muschiana, who has been with Grand Rapids Ballet for over a decade is portraying three roles in this year’s Nutcracker, including The Sugar Plum Fairy, Dream Clara, and Dew Drop. “I’m grateful to focus on these three iconic roles,” she said. “In some ways, it’s like being the face of The Nutcracker. I feel like I have to make it really special, I want to make people feel something when they see me dance.” Oba-Muschiana goes on to explain how this annual holiday favorite continues to captivate audiences year after year. “The storyline is such a great family-based story. You start with the party scene with all the little kids dancing on stage, getting presents with all the excitement for Christmas,” she described. “The mice are doing funny things at night when Clara is sleeping, then the magic happens and the dolls come to life. It’s a perfect ballet for families to come see. It’s a reminder of the magic you felt as a kid. Live performance, there’s no way to describe it. You have to experience it to feel it.” From everyone at Grand Rapids Ballet, thank you for stepping behind the curtain with us. We wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season. By: Jessica Meldrum Photos: Alexandra Meister-Upleger by Ray Nard Imagemaker (1) Emily Reed and Steven Houser by Damion Van Slyke (2) Julia Turner and Nathan Young by Ray Nard Imagemaker (3) Yuka-Oba-Muschiana and Josué Justiz by Ray Nard Imagemaker (4)
IN 2022, GRAND RAPIDS BALLET IS CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF LIFTING THE HUMAN SPIRIT THROUGH THE ART OF DANCE.
Photo by Jingzi-Zhao, courtesy of Oregon Ballet Theater
Yuka Oba-Muschiana, photo by Ray Nard Imagemaker.
FEBRUARY 25-27, 2022
AT DEVOS PERFORMANCE HALL
Cinderella Photo by Jingzi-Zhao, courtesy of Oregon Ballet Theater
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WE LOVE OUR EN POINTE VOLUNTEERS! Mary Ackert Lisa Allen Betsy Bakeman Mary Nell & Dana Baldwin Phyllis Ball Richard & Kathy Benoit Cheryl Bentley Tanya Bernes Donna & Roger Betten Adrianne Braun Thomas & Barbara Brege Mary Carol Brouwer Roy Brown Julie Bukrey Timothy Bunchman & Norma Maxvold Robyn Carlson Pam Clark Anna & Brandon Conner Family Bonnie Conway Nicki Costello Kay Courtney Gary Crispin Bill & Heidi Dani Daniels Family Robert Diamond & Sheila Kinney Veronica Dubois Joan Dykstra Rosalind Ebrom Julie Eilenberg
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Aidan Van Doren Joyce Walker Jim & Connie WinterTroutwine Wolbert Family Cheryl & Steve Wonch Noel Young Join En Pointe, a group of volunteers commit ted to lif ting the human spirit through the ar t of dance. To learn more about the benefit s of membership or to join, contac t Errol Shewman, Gues t Ser vices Manager, at 616.45 4.4771 or gues t ser vices@ grballet.com. LE ARN MORE AT GRBALLET.COM/ VOLUNTEER
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March 25-27, 2022
at Peter Martin Wege Theatre
Photo: Scott Rasmussen
April 22-May 1, 2022
at Peter Martin Wege Theatre
A Midsummer Night’s Dream Yuka Oba-Muschiana and Josue Justiz, photo: Damion Van Slyke
March 11-13 & 19-20, 2022
at Peter Martin Wege Theatre
Attila Mosolygo, Director
SUMMER 2022 BALLET INTENSIVES
GRBS students, photo: Jessica Meldrum
PROGRAM DATES: June 27-July 29, 2022 Throughout the 5-week summer program, students enjoy studying with guest and Grand Rapids Ballet School faculty, refining their skills in technique and artistry. Students receive training in ballet, contemporary, pointe, repertoire, and variations. Students also gain valuable tools through specialized classes in Progressing Ballet Technique ® , jazz, cardio training, and more. Students will have the opportunity to perform in a showcase at the end of the summer! AUDITION AND PROGRAM DETAILS: GRBALLET.COM/SCHOOL
ADAPTIVE DANCE GRAND RAPIDS BALLET SCHOOL OFFERS AN EXPANDED EXPLORER DANCE PROGRAM FOR CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES Explorer Dance Program Adds Availability to Children Living in GR and Holland Grand Rapids Ballet School, the educational branch of Grand Rapids Ballet, this fall announced an expansion of its Explorer Dance Program, a 45-minute beginning-level ballet class that emphasizes balance, coordination, and creative expression for children with disabilities. GRBS is continuing its Explorer Dance Program at the Meijer Royce Center for Dance in downtown Grand Rapids and announced a return to the Holland community with classes being held at Hope College’s DeVos Fieldhouse after a 16-month hiatus due to the pandemic. Explorer Dance is part of Grand Rapids Ballet School’s Adaptive Dance Program, which boasts the therapeutic power of dance for participants of all abilities to experience the joy of dance. “I feel fortunate that we can once again offer the Explorer Dance classes,” said Junior Company Artistic Director and School Director Attila Mosolygo. “There’s a need for this type of class and we take great pride in being able to fill that need because these kids benefit from it.” Among the many benefits of participation in Explorer Dance, students enjoy interacting with the other children in their class and building a sense of community and belonging. Mosolygo explained that in addition to the camaraderie students feel, ballet also offers many therapeutic qualities. “It’s great for people to recognize that dance can be part of everyday life. It’s very calming,” he said. “Our students feel great coming out of the class.” Explorer Dance students in Grand Rapids have enjoyed returning to in-person classes during the fall semester after a year of virtual learning the previous school year. The Holland Explorer Dance classes re-launched after a more than one-year break, now offering the opportunity to more children who can reap its benefits. “There has always been overwhelming positivity in the Explorer Dance class,” said Taryn OrtegaFurgeson, GRBS faculty member. “All they wanted was to be back in person and see each other again.” The Explorer Dance classes at both locations offer students the chance to interact one-on-one with the teacher in a hands-on environment that provides an opportunity to focus on learning. Students are able to discover their abilities and strengths while working to improve balance and hand-eye coordination. “The students love being able to move and dance together,” said Ortega-Furgeson. “They build each other up and they help each other by encouraging one another.” Enrollment is available online with classes taking place Monday evenings in Grand Rapids and Tuesday evenings in Holland. By: Jessica Meldrum
Learn more at grballet.com/grand-rapids-ballet-school/adaptive-dance
THEATRE AT GRAND VALLEY GVSU.EDU/THEATRE GVSU Opera Theatre presents
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OCTOBER 8, 9, 15, 16 AT 7:30 PM OCTOBER 10 & 17 AT 2 PM LOUIS ARMSTRONG THEATRE, HAAS CENTER FOR PERFORMING ARTS
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NOVEMBER 5, 6, 11, 12, 13 AT 7:30 PM NOVEMBER 14 AT 2 PM
Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival presents
ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD JANUARY 21, 22, 27, 28, 29 AT 7:30 PM JANUARY 23, 30 AT 2 PM LINN MAXWELL KELLER BLACK BOX THEATRE, HAAS CENTER FOR PERFORMING ARTS
Theatre at Grand Valley presents
MR. BURNS: A POST-ELECTRIC PLAY APRIL 1, 2, 7, 8, 9 AT 7:30 PM APRIL 3 AND 10 AT 2 PM LINN MAXWELL KELLER BLACK BOX THEATRE, HAAS CENTER FOR PERFORMING ARTS
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LINN MAXWELL KELLER BLACK BOX THEATRE, HAAS CENTER FOR PERFORMING ARTS
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