Patricia Barker in the studio with Grand rapids Ballet dancers. Michael Auer, Courtesy GRB.
Underneath Grand Rapids Ballet artistic director Patricia Barker's million-watt smile lies an unyielding determination to realize her artistic visions. So when friend Maurice Sendak, author of Where the Wild Things Are, unexpectedly died before he could introduce her to fellow author Chris Van Allsburg (The Polar Express and Jumanji), Barker took it upon herself to visit Van Allsburg's Massachusetts home to convince the Grand Rapids native to help design GRB's newNutcracker production. When Van Allsburg was reluctant to venture down that well-traveled road, Barker convinced him otherwise. The resulting 2014 premiere proved a seminal moment in the company's history.
2013 Princess Grace Statue Award winner Tiler Peck with Amar Ramasar in Balanchine's Allegro Brillante. Courtesy NYCB.
A few years ago, Isabella Boylston told Pointe there's an elite club at American Ballet Theatre: "The Princesses." It's corps member Blaine Hoven's nickname for the dancers like David Hallberg and Gillian Murphy who've been awarded a prestigious Princess Grace Award.