VAIL — Friends of the Dance, a Vail nonprofit that has supported and inspired dancers for more than 30 years, announced Nicole Hattler as the new Vail Youth Ballet Company artistic director earlier this month. Anne Powell, the former artistic director, steps down after 25 years.
Hattler, a ballet teacher in her own studio, Vail Valley Academy of Dance, brings her professional expertise to the company with the new holiday production “Wizard of Oz: The Ballet.” The show is Hattler’s original choreography and musical score, and it tells the story of Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Lion and the Scarecrow following the Yellow Brick Road to Oz with the Wicked Witch of the West at their heels. “Wizard of Oz: The Ballet” will be performed at the Vilar Performing Arts Center the weekend of Dec. 12–14.
“Traditionally, the Vail Youth Ballet Company has performed the classic holiday ballet, ‘Nutcracker,’ biannually,” Hattler said. “As artistic director of the company, I feel it is important to continue to bring family-friendly, holiday performances every year to the Vail Valley. ‘Wizard of Oz: The Ballet’ is a wonderful story that will engage and excite audiences of all ages, and I look forward to unveiling its inspiring beauty to our community.”
As with the “Nutcracker,” the Vail Youth Ballet Company will offer opportunities for the community to participate in the “Wizard of Oz: The Ballet.” The company welcomes volunteers including seamstresses, set designers and younger dancers not yet in the company. For more information on ways to support Friends of the Dance and the Vail Youth Ballet Company, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It has given me the greatest joy to see the Vail Youth Ballet Company develop and grow from nine dancers to over 25 during the past 20 years that I was the company director,” said Powell. “Alongside Friends of the Dance, we have been able to offer rich and varied performing opportunities for our young, local dancers. I am excited for Nicole Hattler and expect that she will continue the tradition of excellence as she begins the next chapter of the company.”
About Nicole Hattler
Hattler is a dancer, director and choreographer from North Carolina. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and also trained at the San Francisco Ballet School, Pacific North West Ballet and Charleston Ballet Theatre.
In 1996, she became a founding director of the Asheville Center of Performing Arts in Asheville, North Carolina, and became the artistic director of the Asheville City Ballet.
For 11 years, Hattler created original choreographic works for the company that received invitations to perform at the “NC Dance Gala” and the adjudicated “Festival of NC Dance” in Winston-Salem. Her full-length original ballet credits include “Wizard of Oz,” “Peter Pan” and “Alice in Wonderland,” all of which were performed at the Diana Wortham Theatre in Asheville, North Carolina. Many of Hattler’s students have earned positions in professional ballet companies.