grand rapids ballet

Allan / Flickr

Like ballet companies across the nation, the Grand Rapids Ballet is gearing up for that beloved holiday ballet, The Nutcracker. But this year's production it will have a new look, thanks largely to Chris Van Allsburg.

Van Allsburg is the renowned writer and illustrator of children's books. He's won two Caldecott Medals for his illustrations for The Polar Express and Jumanji. Both books were turned into successful films.

http://www.michigan.org/property/grand-rapids-ballet-company-peter-martin-wege-theatre/
Michigan.org

Yes, there is a professional ballet company in Grand Rapids.

In fact, they're the only one in the state. 

And they are really fed up with people not knowing that.

“We used to have letterhead that said ‘Michigan’s best kept secret’ or something, and I was like, let’s get rid of that,” laughs the company’s executive director, Glenn Del Vecchio.

But the city’s ballet has long had support from one of West Michigan’s biggest philanthropists, Peter Wege.

Clark Art Photography / Grand Rapids Ballet Facebook

Chris Van Allsburg, known for his book "The Polar Express" will design the new production for the Grand Rapids Ballet, and the set will be built by designer Eugene Lee, known for his work on SNL.

More from the Grand Rapids Press:

A $2.5 million fundraising campaign, in part, is providing for the 42-year-old company's first entirely new production of "The Nutcracker" in three decades…

Photo courtesy of the Michigan Opera Theatre

Michigan’s ballet companies, theatres and opera houses are kicking off their 2011-12 season this fall, and it appears box office sales might be trending up.