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Grand Rapids Ballet's Rubies performance shines bright

The Grand Rapids Ballet heats things up on a cold winter night with their Rubies for Valentine's Day production. Rubies for Valentine's Day features George Balanchine's Rubies, Jose Limon's The Moor's Pavane and Mario Radacovsky's Bolero. Opening on Valentine's Day, the opening weekend performances were romantic, heart-felt and filled with top notch dancing. Looking for a great date night activity? The Grand Rapids Ballet will perform three more shows this weekend.

Grand Rapids Ballet presents three romantic ballets in Rubies for Valentine's Day.The Moor's Pavane by Jose Limon is a Renaissance pavane dance, loosely based on Shakespeare's Othello, featuring four dancers.
Photo by Grand Rapids Ballet
Rubies for Valentine's Day will captivate you.
Photo by Grand Rapids Ballet

The Rubies Experience

Rubies for Valentine's Day is an experience of the senses in three separate ballets that are connected by the romance of dance. This is a production all about the beauty of dance and what it communicates to the audience. Rubies made the audience feel a part of the show in a tangible way. The moment the show starts with Bolero, the audience is invited to participate in a chess game by Master of Ceremonies Attila Mosolygo as they watch the dance unfold. Then, the audience was drawn into the emotional performance of The Moor's Pavane. When the show closed with Rubies, the audience felt the joy of dance expressed in the sassy and energetic performance.

Bolero's Chess Game Is Sensual

Mario Radacovsky's Bolero is a game of chess where dancers play the white side led by white queen Monica Pelfrey and white king Steven Houser. The dancers flip, contort and deeply plié. The moves are slow, sensual and strong. The audience feels the connection between the white queen and white king.

Grand Rapids audiences saw a unique Bolero performance because it was the first time Radacovsky used an equal number of men and women in the cast. In previous performances, Radacovsky cast either an all-male cast with one woman, or an all-female cast with one man. Grand Rapids Ballet Artistic Director Patricia Barker also has a cameo part as the Black Queen.

The Moor's Pavane Is Passionate

The Moor's Pavane, which is a Renaissance pavane dance loosely based on Shakespeare's Othello, was hauntingly beautiful. Well-staged by Jose Limon expert Sarah Stackhouse, the show featured flawless technique complemented by lush costumes. The dancers danced with such expression and feeling. Stephen Sanford conveyed the moor's pain and jealousy as he was convinced of Desdemona's unfaithfulness by a clever Kyohei Giovanni Yoshida as Iago. Cassidy Issacsson's Desdemona was sweet and loyal capturing the character's innocence. Yuka Oba played a good Emilia, who was Iago's unwitting accomplice. It was quite a moment when she realizes her role in the tragedy.

Rubies Is Fun

Rubies, one of the three acts of the ballet Jewels, is George Balanchine's comment on Americans during the jazz era. Balanchine depicts Americans in Rubies as constantly on the move, full of energy, working hard, but not afraid to have fun. The dancing to Igor Stravinksy's Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra does capture the jazz era.

The performance is energetic, includes many turns, impressive partnering, and a lot of masterful complicated technique. Los Angeles Ballet Artistic Director Colleen Neary staged the production with precision. Featured dancers Monica Pelfrey, Kyohei Giovanni Yoshida and Dawnell Dryja give impressive performances, executing difficult moves flawlessly with boundless energy. Dancers looked like they were having fun and the audience felt it.

This Weekend's Performance Times and Ticket Information

The Grand Rapids Ballet will perform Rubies in three shows this weekend, Friday, February 21 - Sunday, February 23.


Peter Martin Wege Theatre

341 Ellsworth SW

Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Performance times:

  • Friday, February 21 - 7:30 pm
  • Saturday, February 22 - 7:30 pm
  • Sunday, February 23 - 2:00 pm

30 minutes before each show, Grand Rapids Artistic Director Patricia Barker will give a pre-show talk about the production.

Tickets price information:

  • $40 for adults
  • $35 for seniors
  • $30 for children
  • $20 for college students
  • College students with ID can also purchase available tickets at the door for $12.

Tickets are available at the Grand Rapids Ballet Box Office or online at Ticketmaster. Call the Grand Rapids Ballet Box Office at 616-454-4771 for details. The Grand Rapids Ballet Box Office is open today from 9 am - 5 pm, and one hour before each show this weekend.

Take a loved one to this ballet and experience the romance of dance.

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