VAIL — Vail set the stage with style once more for the opening night of the Vail International Dance Festival. Performer Ron Myles, also known as Prime Tyme, said that even this year — his fourth time in Vail for the festival — it’s still somewhat unbelievable.
“Every time I look out at the trees and the mountains, it’s like a backdrop to me,” he said. “The scenery is just unreal.”
A crisp and clear evening fell upon the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail as the show danced its way into darkness, leaving performers to shine on the illuminated stage platform and giving audiences the delicate and vibrant variety for which the festival is known.
“You get to see the best of almost every genre of dance,” said Charles “Lil Buck” Riley, who opened the show with his choreographed improvisation “Super Bad,” with music by James Brown.
Riley’s rendition started with a bang, gearing the crowd up for an evening of all the festival’s flavors.
“It felt good,” Riley said of his performance, “and most of the time if it feels good, it is good. I had a lot of fun, and that’s what really matters, you know.”
Bill and April Milam came up from Denver to see opening night. April said she liked the variety of the show, and she especially enjoyed the “White Swan” pas de deux performance in the first act, performed by Carla Korbes, of the Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Robert Fairchild, of the New York City Ballet.
It was Kelly Phillips’ first time to the Vail International Dance Festival. She is from Grand Junction, and Sunday night closed out her weekend of local entertainment.
“We saw Alison Krauss on Friday, Lyle Lovett last night and this is what we get to do tonight,” she said. “It is my first time ever, and it’s fabulous.”
Phillips said is didn’t matter that she didn’t know who was dancing or what choreographers were featured; she just wanted to experience what this festival is all about.
“I used to do classical ballet, and I have wanted to do this for a while,” she said. “Now it’s happened, and it is really special.”
Acts All Their Own
Ballet X brilliantly led the audience into intermission with its fun and interactive narrative of “Slump,” featuring impressive costume creations by Stephen Smith, and momentum was not lost as Fairchild brought in his strong and refined steps into his performance of “Ballin’ the Jack.”
Each act truly held its own, but every seat of the full house stayed with anticipation of the final act of Igor Stravinky’s “Rubies.” The Pennsylvania Ballet gave a taste of what to look forward to with Monday night’s Balanchine Celebration, and Fairchild was featured with his newlywed counterpart in the New York City Ballet, Tiler Peck, alongside the festival’s artist in residence, Herman Cornejo, of the American Ballet Theatre, colored the stage with ruby red.
Myles, who will perform on Friday night during the first night of International Evenings of Dance, said the festival audience is in for the best of the best, and opening night did not disappoint.
“I love being able to make people smile with dance,” Myles said. ”I love coming here to perform, to work with the kids, to work with (Artistic Director) Damian (Woetzel) and to collaborate with all the different dancers who travel the world as well.
“The people who come here to the shows appreciate it,” he said, “and we appreciate dance so much that we want to give them more than what they expect.”