The first time Robert Fairchild saw a video of Gene Kelly dancing, he had a revelation.
"That's when I knew this is what I had to do," said the Salt Lake Native who is a principal in the New York City Ballet.
The dark and handsome Fairchild exudes a boyish charm on stage, something which audience after audience has been privy to each summer since 2009 when he first performed in Vail, and especially during this year's Vail International Dance Festival, where he's danced at five of the 11 shows.
"It's been a wonderful festival for him onstage, dancing in such a huge variety of ballets from the Balanchine masterpiece 'Duo Concertant' to Lary Keigwin's 'Rock Steady.' He is such a versatile dancer... Both he and Tiler (Peck) come from a background which included jazz and contemporary dance training and performance, so they can literally do anything!"
Saturday night Fairchild and Peck, another New York City Ballet dancer, will perform the "Black Swan" pas de deux in the first act, "a nod to the popularity of the movie of the same name," Woetzel said, "and in the second, will dance a Larry Keigwin dance called 'Air,' which has a much more popular flair."
"It is so great to have them as part of the Dance TV finale performance, combining the brilliance of their classical ballet performance with their fantastic abilities in contemporary choreography," Woetzel said.
Fairchild took the time to answer a few questions for the Vail Daily.
1. Vail Daily: What do personally enjoy most about performing live?
Robert Fairchild: The silent conversation that goes back and forth between the audience and the dancer. It's such a rich and rewarding experience.
2. VD: What is one of your most memorable experiences as a performer?
RF: The first time I danced "Opus 19/The Dreamer" by Jerome Robbins was at an outdoor amphitheater in Saratoga Springs, New York. It was the most exhausted I'd ever been in a performance and there was steam from our bodies that created an unbelievable atmosphere on stage at the end of the ballet. To top it off I looked up and saw the moon shining through the balcony.
3. VD: If you could meet any choreographer, living or not, who would it be and why?
RF: Without a doubt George Balanchine. He constantly shapes my world and teaches me new things about myself through his choreography. I never met the man, but his history is capable of doing things like that in my life.
4. VD: What is unique about performing at the Vail International Dance Festival?
RF: The venue is stunning, the audience is so wonderful and Damian Woetzel does an incredible job at putting programs together where so many different dancers can get to know one each other and exchange culturally through dance.
5. VD: What is it like to perform at a high altitude?
RF: It definitely takes a few days getting used to ... that's for sure! If I ever need to train for a triathlon, I know where I am coming.
6. VD: What is a new piece that you are working on now?
RF: I am working with Peter Martins on his new ballet set to Paul McCartney's new score that will premier this September. (I'm) very excited!
7. VD: What are you most looking forward to (besides performing) during your time in Vail?
RF: I love to fly fish so catching a nice big trout would be the icing to the cake.