In the decade following World War II, the only grand opera to be enjoyed in West Michigan was when a touring company passed through or a local Viking was carried away by valkyries. That's why, in the mid-1950s, a group of opera enthusiasts started the St. Cecilia Music Society, focused on modest productions with high-culture aspirations. Meanwhile, a group known as Opera Association Committee began laying the foundations of something larger by seeking partnerships with Grand Rapids Civic Theater and the Grand Rapids Symphony. By 1966, these organizations joined their formidable forces, and Opera Grand Rapids was born. Today, under the direction of Artistic Director Robert Lyall, who's held that position since 1989, the opera specializes in full-scale productions of classic masterpieces such as Madame Butterfly and newer works such as A Streetcar Named Desire.
Since 1993, Cirque Dreams' family-friendly variety extravaganzas have called upon a cast of acrobats, strongmen, and daredevils to wring the oohs and aahs out of audiences with tremendous feats of derring-do. During each themed production, more than 100 performers garbed in dazzling outfits twirl high in the air, contort their bodies into impossible shapes, and solve long division problems to earn uproarious applause from the crowd. At Dream Studios in Pompano Beach, Florida, hundreds of contracted artists from around the world develop their skills and prep for Cirque Dreams performances under the direction of Neil Goldberg and his team of choreographers, contortionists, and designers.
The friendly, experienced teachers at Allegro School of Music delight ears and bolster brains with a variety of music and movement activities for learners of all ages. The summer music pass offers tune-thusiasts two private lessons, with choices ranging from classical violin to blues kazoo (a $40 value). Children ages 5 and younger can enjoy sing-along songs, puppet theater, and tent-fort jam sessions at four open-play sessions (a $20 value), and those 7 and younger may attend four craft- and story-filled classes with their parents and other families, exploring exciting themes such as farm life, dinosaur kingdoms, and cat ennui (a $60 value). Hit up the Family Music Festival on July 26 at 10 a.m. and use the included $5 for food toward concession delights. Festival admission is free.
Legally Blonde The Musical, adapted from the 2001 hit film, is a rosy-hued tale about a sorority sister turned Harvard Law student. Filled with lively songs, breathtaking choreography, and copious amounts of pink, the sidesplitting saga of Elle Woods leaves audiences joyous and up to 24% blonder. Seating (subject to availability) will be in the orchestra section or first-level mezzanine rows A-F ($63.25 each), or in the mid- and back-level mezzanine ($53.25 each). Join Broadway Grand Rapids for its 23rd music-making season as the company celebrates its new partnership with MSU's Wharton Center for the Performing Arts.
For more than 85 years, the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre has entertained audiences with its highly professional cast and award-winning community theater performances. Winner of 10 Tony awards and the Grammy's Hall of Fame award in 2002, Hello Dolly! recalls the timeless tale of meddling matchmaker Dolly Levi and her current bachelor undertaking, Horace Vandegelder.
An avid dancer since his teens, Casey Reed trained and coached alongside top dancers and choreographers—14-time U.S. ballroom champion Mark Brock among them—before earning his certification as an American and International Style Ballroom Instructor. Today, with his team of expert instructors, Casey draws on more than 10 years as a salsa and Latin specialist to teach ample forms of social and competitive dance to beginning and advanced students alike during group and private lessons. When each week of instruction comes to an end, Salsalogy Dance Academy hosts a Friday-night dance social, where guests can try out the latest salsa, waltz, or swing skills they've mastered to the backbeat of Latin dance music. In the meantime, instructors exercise along with clients at dance-based fitness sessions, teach kids and teens salsa and Latin fundamentals, and help couples choreograph wedding dances that distract attention from their joyfully sobbing parents' rendition of the Macarena.