Today we shift the focus of Directors Chair to the upcoming Vail International Dance Festival, which takes the Valleys center stage July 27 Aug. 9. The festival provides an amazing opportunity to explore and enjoy the worlds best dance, featuring brilliant dancers, renowned choreographers and iconic musicians. Now in his second year as Festival Artistic Director, Damian Woetzel has once again assembled a lineup of breathtaking variety and artistry. For the next three weeks hell share his insight into the festival in this column. I hope to see you at the festival! Kris SabelHello Vail Valley! The Vail International Dance Festival is back for 2008 and we have a terrific season lined up. We kick off Sunday with a show of fantastic music and dance, with stars from the great companies to be featured in the festival, as well a one-time-only performance by one of the great musical geniuses of our time: Philip Glass. Philip will be performing Sunday for the first time EVER in Vail. Come hear the man who has composed masterworks such as The Hours and Einstein on the Beach, give a performance you simply dont want to miss. Also on opening night will be the first and only festival appearance by Fang-Yi Sheu, former star of the Martha Graham Company, and a simply magnificent dancer. Fang-Yi will be performing a world premiere dance to one of Mr. Glass compositions, which is an incredible event all on its own! Next week brings a series of brilliant events, and first up is Paul Taylor Dance Company on Monday at the Vilar. This performance will feature Taylors brilliant dancers in his newest work Changes, set to the music of the Mamas & the Papas, as well as the masterworks Esplanade and Diggity, both performed with an orchestra assembled especially for the Taylor engagement.Tuesday brings a spectacular program of genius and fun as one of Americas greatest ballet companies, the Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB), returns to Vail. This show at the Amphitheater has it all ballets will include Jerome Robbins incredible Fancy Free, David Parsons Caught and Broadway great Susan Stromans newest ballet Take Five ... More or Less. Its a night you have to see, and with music from Bernstein to Brubeck, you have to hear it as well! Pacific Northwest moves to the Vilar on Wednesday with a follow up to last years sold-out evening of works by George Balanchine, legendary choreographer and founder of the New York City Ballet. Dont miss this chance to experience the genius of the man who literally made ballet in America.Thursday at the Vilar brings our first UpClose performance of the festival, as we take a fascinating look at the work of Jerome Robbins, choreographer of brilliant ballets like Fancy Free, and Broadway shows including West Side Story. PNB director Peter Boal and I both worked with Robbins for many years at New York City Ballet, and on July 31 we will share our experiences, taking the audience through excerpts and full performances of the great choreographers masterpieces.That brings us to Aug. 1 and 2 when The International Evenings of Dance return. This year we welcome newcomers to Vail like Kirov Ballet, superstar Igor Zelensky, and we cheer again for Vail favorites like Wendy Whelan from New York City Ballet. The evenings will also feature stars from the Royal Ballet and Alvin Ailey among other companies, and their thrilling performances will close the first week of the festival. I hope to see you for all the great dancing and great music, too!
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