VAIL — The Vail International Dance Festival announced its 2014 schedule, to be held July 27 through Aug. 9, marking its 26th season with world premieres, debuts and collaborations.
Under the direction of former New York City Ballet standout Damian Woetzel, the festival has established itself as one of the premiere dance events in the world. This year, the festival announces Argentina’s Herman Cornejo as artist in residence and Pennsylvania Ballet and BalletX as companies in residence. The festival also welcomes back ballerina Wendy Whelan in the Vail debut of her new project, “Restless Creature,” along with New York City Ballet’s Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild, Carla Korbes from Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Martha Graham Dance Company, tango artists Gabriel Misse and Analia Centurion, and the Memphis dancer Lil’ Buck.
“The Vail International Dance Festival is more and more about collaboration — combining contrasting styles of dance or dancers who have never worked together before,” Woetzel said. “These explorations are what make the festival a unique experience for the dancers and the audience. Pushing the limits and experimenting with what is possible has really become the goal.”
Repertory highlights will include Pennsylvania Ballet in George Balanchine’s “Rubies,” with guests Peck and Cornejo making their debuts in the principal roles. The International Evenings of Dance will once again create unique pairings of the world’s dancers including — in addition to many of the dancers above — modern dancer Fang-Yi Sheu, Boston Ballet’s Misa Kuranaga and Jeffrey Cirio, Indian dancer Shantala Shivalingappa and the Royal Ballet’s newest leading dancer, Matthew Golding.
The Martha Graham Dance Company’s performance will include the premiere of a new arrangement of the 1940 masterwork “Letter to the World” — inspired by the poetry of Emily Dickinson and not seen in its entirety since 1988. “The Letter Suite” (working title), will feature guest artists Tiler Peck, Herman Cornejo and Robert Fairchild alongside stars of the Graham Company. Also presented in a special format, Balanchine’s “Jewels” will be the focus of an evening featuring rehearsal-style excerpts, coaching and discussion led by Woetzel, with performances by the Pennsylvania Ballet and special guests from New York City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet and American Ballet Theatre.
The creation of new works will continue to be a focus with the “NOW: Premieres” evening, hosting world premieres by Brian Brooks, Matthew Neenan, Lil’ Buck and a collaboration between Fang-Yi Sheu and Shantala Shivalingappa. Artists from dance-inspired TV shows such as “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Dancing With the Stars” will again be incorporated into the season’s line up in “Dance TV.” Ballroom stars will take the stage for “Ballroom Spectacular” and throughout the festival, there will be off-stage components including master classes by visiting artists, free education for local children through the Celebrate the Beat program and public engagement through Dancing in the Streets, which brings the festival performers into the community for shows and dance classes.
Performances take place at Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail and the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek. Fan Club presale tickets are available March 19-21; public sale begins March 25 and “Dance for $20.14” tickets goes on sale in June. A full schedule of performances and other festival events are available at www.vaildance.org.