Grand Rapids Ballet Company’s performance of Movemedia was breathtaking and beautiful


Usually, when I share my experiences with ballet, I talk about my personal love and joy for performing. I talk about the feeling that I get when the lights blaze down on the stage and how I love the feeling of being a part of a group of dancers that jump, turn, and leap for long periods of time. There aren’t many moments that I spend on the other side of the stage, being a part of the applauding audience and watching in awe. For the first time in awhile, I got to experience what that was like. This past Saturday, I went to see Grand Rapids Ballet Company’s production of Movemedia. It was anything and everything, from captivating to breathtaking, and completely spellbinding.

My evening began with me walking into the Peter Martin Wedge Theater, which was filled with pristine decorations and glamorous families, eager and excited to see the show. The sound of clicking heels against a glass-like floor was heard throughout the vacuous lobby. The artistic director, Patricia Barker, stood in the corner, speaking of high regards for the evening’s show. I found my seat inside the theater, and could immediately feel the excited and anxious energy emitted from the other audience members. The lights dimmed and a hush came over the crowd as the premiere of Movemedia began.

The show itself was different than any other performance by the company. It featured three new and upcoming choreographers who hoped to share their ideas and works with the community.

The first piece was directed and created by Robert Dekkers and Vanessa Thiessen. It brought about twenty-one dancers together into a futuristic, contemporary, and dark piece. The music selection was noteworthy and unforgettable. It was odd and out of the norm, but completely and utterly beautiful.

The next piece was choreographed by Robyn Mineko Williams. Watching this dance was like watching a scene from The Great Gatsby’s personal diary. It was intimate and creative. It spoke of the circle of life and loving someone until they pass. It featured three couples, representing the different stages of a relationship. The audience felt pain and it was beyond brilliant, on both the choreographers and dancers behalf.

The last and final piece was by Penny Saunders. Using a remixed version of Vivaldi’s four seasons, she expertly and beautifully told a story of hardship and triumph, while overcoming difficult challenges. Overall, I personally liked this piece the best and I can guiltily admit that it left me with a range of emotions and tears rolling down my face.

Not only was the dancing and choreography exquisite, the costuming brought all the pieces together as a whole. In Robert Dekkers’ piece, the costumes were covered in reptilian scales with poofy shoulders. Each dancer had different hair, with a multitude of braids and frizz. It was unusual, yet surprisingly pleasing to the eye.

As per usual, the show ended with a standing ovation. It was intricate and beautiful, but also creepy and differently crafted. Although I may be biased, I have to admit; if you are looking for an artistic show to see, take a stop at Grand Rapids Ballet and be prepared to be amazed.