VAIL — It’s that time of year again. Dancers, choreographers and aficionados from all over the world are making their way to the valley for the 26th annual Vail International Dance Festival, which begins Sunday. Whether it’s your first or 26th time attending, here are a few tips to make this year your best dance festival experience yet:
1: Have keys to the kingdom
Tickets are considered the catalyst to any festival experience. Want to get the best seats for you and your family without breaking the bank? There are lots of options.
• Performance Plus Pass; adults: $165, students/faculty: $65 (with valid ID). This pass includes one lawn ticket to all nine performances at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, with the opportunity to upgrade to seats (based on availability). Also included is a complimentary beverage at every performance.
• Best available seats; adults: $50-$118. Get one seat within the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater pavilion at the performance of your choosing. There are still premiere selections available.
• General admission; adults: $20, kids younger than 12: free. One lawn ticket to the performances of your choosing at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater. Seat backs are available to rent at the amphitheater.
2. Know the rules of the road
So you have the tickets, now what? Now it’s time for the rest of the evening to run as smoothly as a Balanchine Ballet. Here’s the 411 to parking at the Vail International Dance Festival.
• Paid parking: Ford Park parking lot is $10 and is the closest parking option to the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, easily accessed from the South Frontage Road. Attendants will accept cash or credit card payment.
Golden Peak Children’s Ski School and soccer field parking lots are $10. Located on the south side of Vail Valley Drive. Lots open at 3 p.m. and attendants will accept cash or credit card payment.
• Free parking: Vail and Lionshead village parking structures are both free. Vail special event buses will run from these structures to the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater throughout the evening. Alternatively, the amphitheater is a 10-minute walk from the Vail parking structure.
• Vilar Performing Arts Center parking: Limited free parking is available at the Villa Montane or Village Hall parking structures in Beaver Creek Resort. Additional free parking is located at the east and west lots at Beaver Creek’s entrance, with free shuttle service to the covered bridge.
3: Polish up the dancing shoes
Inspired by the performances and ready to get out and get moving? Make the most of your festival experience at fringe events that strive to connect the Vail community with the festival.
Today: National Dance Day Celebration, 4:30 p.m. at Solaris Plaza in Vail. Take part in this line dancing event for all ages featuring instruction by Chad Schiro in how to do the 2015 Vail Valley Shuffle, the official dance of the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.
Tuesday: Dancing in the Streets with BalletX at 4:30 p.m. in Solaris Plaza in Vail. Tear up the streets of Vail with this Philadelphia contemporary ballet company.
Thursday: Dancing in the Streets: Barre to Barre at 4:30 p.m. at Solaris Plaza in Vail. Work up a sweat with 45 minutes of classical ballet barre class taught by Vail Valley Dance Intensive followed by 45 minutes of power barre taught by Missy Lacy from Spa Anjali.
Aug. 3: Village Vignette with Gabriel Misse and Analia Centurion at 11 a.m. at the Vail Farmers’ Market. Tango with international ballroom sensations.
Aug. 6: FLASHMOB by Martha Graham Dance Company at noon at the intersection of Bridge Street and Gore Creek Drive in Vail Village. Dancers will perform Larry Keigwin’s “Lamentation Variation” with special guests from the community.
4: Get schooled
Take advantage of having the world’s best dancers and dance companies in your backyard at the Vail International Dance Festival’s Master Class Series. Classes continue throughout the festival.
Today: Daniel Ulbricht of New York City Ballet. Takes place from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at Vail Mountain School.
Wednesday: Roy Kaiser, Pennsylvania Ballet artistic director. Takes place from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at the Vilar Performing Arts Center.
Thursday: Christine Cox, BalletX artistic and executive director. Takes place from 9 to 10:15 a.m. at Vail Mountain School.
Aug. 6: Martha Graham Dance Company. Takes place at 10 a.m. at Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater.
Aug. 10: Sasha Mallory and Fik-Shun, “So You Think You Can Dance” stars. Takes place from 10 to 11:30 a.m. (Mallory) and 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Fik-Shun) at Vail Mountain School.
For details on these and additional master classes, visit vaildance.org or call 970-777-2015.
5: Bring down the house
Cap off your festival experience with the pre-show cocktail event catered by Terra Bistro on the final night of performances. The Vail International Dance Festival White Party is $75 and takes place Aug. 9 at 6 p.m. at the Borgen Patron Plaza at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater.
For more tips and information on the Vail International Dance Festival and festival fringe events, visit vaildance.org. To connect to exciting festival news, like Vail International Dance Festival on Facebook and follow @VailDance on Twitter using the hashtag #VailDance.