Grand Rapids Ballet hires artistic director


James Sofranko. Courtesy Grand Rapids Ballet

Grand Rapids’ ballet company has named its new artistic director.

The Grand Rapids Ballet said this week it hired James Sofranko for the role.

He will begin his tenure on July 1.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity to lead Grand Rapids Ballet into their next chapter,” Sofranko said.

Sofranko will be tasked with hiring dancers, choreographers, production staff and will lead touring and outreach programs.

“We are excited to welcome James Sofranko to Grand Rapids,” Grand Rapids Ballet Artistic Director Search Committee co-chairs Dana Baldwin and Leah Voigt said. “He is a true star and brings a passion for dance, along with the sophistication, grace and knowledge required for this leadership position.”

Sofrankos background

The Cincinnati native has been dancing with San Francisco Ballet for the past 18 years. He has worked with numerous choreographers, such as Helgi Tomasson, Val Caniparoli, William Forsythe, Liam Scarlett, Justin Peck and many more.

He has also created original choreographic works for the San Francisco Ballet School Trainee program, SFDanceworks, Long Beach Ballet and Marin Dance Theater.

Sofranko will continue developing SFDanceworks.

“With his vision, I have no doubt that he will bring Grand Rapids Ballet to new heights, and I wish him all the best on this exciting new chapter,” said Helgi Tomasson, artistic director and principal choreographer, San Francisco Ballet. “We will miss him.”

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