The Hope College Great Performance Series is returning for the 2011-12 season with a range of cultural events highlighting the best in dance, music and theatre.

From the alluring movements of the River North Dance Chicago Company to sounds of jazz legend Kenny Barron, the series will feature a range of events suitable for anyone and everyone to experience.

The season will open on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 29 and 30, with 7:30 p.m. performances by River North Chicago Dance Company at the Knickerbocker Theatre. Under the direction of Artistic Director Frank Chaves, River North is a jazz-based contemporary company. The “Chicago Sun-Times” has described River North Dance Chicago as “enthralling, a hugely attractive and technically impressive company.”

On Thursday, Oct. 13, at 7:30 p.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel, the Enso String Quartet will take the stage. With a 2010 Grammy nomination for “Best Chamber Music Performance” this award-winning young ensemble is growing a wide fan base. “The Washington Post” has said that the quartet gives “a thrillingly athletic performance.”

The Kenny Barron Trio features the legendary jazz pianist, who has taken home nine Grammy nominations since 1992. The combo will perform in Dimnent Memorial Chapel on Friday, Nov. 11, at 7:30 p.m. With “The Los Angles Times” describing Barron as “one of the top jazz pianists in the world,” it was no surprise in 2005 when Barron was inducted into the American Jazz Hall of Fame. The trio features Barron on piano, Ray Drummond on bass, and Ben Riley on drums.

On Friday, Jan. 27, at 7:30 p.m., ETHEL with Robert Mirabal will perform in Dimnent Memorial Chapel. ETHEL, the pioneering string quartet, collaborates with three-time Grammy-winning Native American flutist Robert Mirabal to present a program inspired by the sun mythology of Native America. Using the instruments of the string quartet, Native American flutes and drums, as well as the spirited voices of Hope students, ETHEL and Mirabal will unite to create a cross-cultural contemporary music event.

The Calefax Reed Quintet, called “one of the classical arena’s best-kept secrets” by the “New Jersey Star Ledger,” will perform on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 7:30 p.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel. The Amsterdam-based ensemble has won a number of prestigious prizes over its 25-year history. The five musicians arrange, recompose, and interpret music from eight centuries to suit their unique constellation: from early music to classical and jazz to world premieres. The group can be heard throughout Europe, Russia, China, India, Turkey, Japan and the United States.

The recent sold-out performances by the Cashore Marionettes, featuring artist Joseph Cashore and his “friends,” prompted encore performances on Friday, March 30, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 31, at 2 p.m. Characters of depth, integrity and humanity are portrayed in a series of scenes taken from everyday life and set to music. The visit will include characters featured during the Cashore Marionettes’ 2010 appearance along with new creations. As “The Toronto Sun” has said, “the range of movement truly has to be seen to be believed and even that might be pushing it.”

Individual and season tickets are now available. Season subscriptions are $63 for regular admission, $50 for senior citizens, $24 for students and $140 for a family (no matter how many children). The subscriptions are such a savings that they are equivalent to seeing two shows for free. Individual tickets are $18 for regular admission, $13 for senior citizens, and $6 for children 18 and under. Both individual tickets and season subscriptions are available at the Hope College ticket office or by calling (616) 395-7890.

The ticket office is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located in the main lobby of the DeVos Fieldhouse, at 222 Fairbanks Ave., between Ninth and 11th streets.

More information about the season may be obtained online by visiting