2022 Vail Dance Festival announces lineup, schedule
The season will also commemorate the milestone 100th Vail Dance Festival world premiere dance commission under Artistic Director Damian Woetzel’s leadership.
The Vail Dance Festival, a project of the nonprofit Vail Valley Foundation, officially announced plans for its 34th season scheduled to take place from July 29—Aug. 9, 2022, in the heart of the Colorado Rockies. Under the artistic direction of Damian Woetzel, the 2022 summer season brings together world-renowned dancers, musicians, composers and choreographers for twelve performances and over 55 Festival Events throughout Vail and the surrounding communities.
Each summer, the Vail Dance Festival fosters unique collaborations between artists of various dance genres to push the boundaries of the art form, further cementing Vail as a major incubator for new choreography in the United States. This year the Festival will celebrate its 100th world-premiere dance commission under Damian Woetzel’s visionary leadership since becoming Artistic Director in 2006.
Over the past fifteen years, many works premiered in Vail have been presented in other venues around the world, and beginning in 2007 with Christopher Wheeldon as he launched his company Morphoses in Vail, the Festival has provided a lab for artistic experimentation for dancemakers including Michelle Dorrance, Pam Tanowitz, Alonzo King, Shantala Shivalingappa, Larry Keigwin, Alexei Ratmansky, Claudia Schreier, Fang-Yi Sheu, Lil Buck, Matthew Neenan, Jodi Melnick, John Heginbotham, Lauren Lovette, Tiler Peck, Jamar Roberts, and Justin Peck, among many others. The 100th commission will be a new work by Justin Peck collaborating with bluegrass artist Chris Thile (Punch Brothers, National Public Radio) which will have a preview on the NOW: Premieres program on Aug. 8, and its world-premiere on closing night, Aug. 9 at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail.
Additional commissions for this year’s Festival season will be: Bobbi Jene Smith creating a new work for Sara Mearns, Caili Quan creating a new work for fellow Artist-In-Residence, Roman Mejia, and a second new work to commissioned music by Caroline Shaw, Claudia Schreier choreographing a new work to commissioned music by Conrad Tao, Jodi Melnick making a new work set to commissioned music by Andreia Pinto-Correia, Pam Tanowitz creating a new work to music by Kate Davis, and a new work with details to be announced by Ephrat Asherie. Broadway’s Kurt Crowley (Hamilton, In the Heights) will serve as music director, Brooklyn Rider (violinists Johnny Gandelsman and Colin Jacobsen, violist Nicholas Cords and cellist Michael Nicolas) will return as Quartet-In-Residence, and Pulitzer-Prize winner and Leonard Bernstein Composer-In-Residence Caroline Shaw will return to create new music compositions for the Festival. Also making appearances are vocalist, composer and multi-instrumentalist Kate Davis, and bass-baritone opera star Davóne Tines. The new works will be presented as part of NOW: Premieres on Monday, Aug. 8. (7:30 p.m. Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail)
Dancer and choreographer Caili Quan and New York City Ballet soloist Roman Mejia will be the season’s Artists-In-Residence. As a 2022 Artist-In-Residence, Mejia will dance in multiple works throughout the duration of the Festival, making role debuts including José Limón’s Chaconne solo performing as a guest artist with the Limón Dance Company, Jerome Robbins’ A Suite of Dances, and newly commissioned works specifically tailored to his talent and artistry. As mentioned above, in addition to performing as a dancer, Quan will present new choreography this summer, including a premiere featuring Mejia, and a new work set to a commissioned composition by Caroline Shaw.
Among the dancers scheduled to appear for the first time as individual artists are one of New York City Ballet’s newest principal dancers Jovani Furlan, ballroom duo Denys Drozdyuk and Antonina Skobina, and KJ Takahashi of NYCB. Artists returning to Vail after an absence include Jeffery Cirio, star of the English National Ballet and Boston Ballet, newly appointed soloist of NYCB Miriam Miller, international ballerina Maria Kochetkova, and former Miami City Ballet ballerina Patricia Delgado. They will join a stellar cast of Festival regulars including Isabella Boylston, India Bradley, Lil Buck, Herman Cornejo, Michelle Dorrance, Robbie Fairchild, Joseph Gordon, Lauren Lovette, Sara Mearns, Mira Nadon, Dario Natarelli, Tiler Peck, Unity Phelan, Calvin Royal III, Cory Stearns, Devon Teuscher, Melissa Toogood, and more to be announced. Last year’s Scholar-In-Residence Philip Duclos returns this year as a newly appointed member of the Royal Danish Ballet. Programming throughout the duration of the Festival will feature these artists and many more in role debuts, “only in Vail” cross-company partnerships and new works, fulfilling the Festival’s mission of providing innovative opportunities for artists at all stages of their careers.
The Vail Dance Festival kicks off on Opening Night, Friday, July 29, with a spectacular evening featuring New York City Ballet MOVES in Red Angels by Ulysses Dove and Other Dances by Jerome Robbins, appearances by the legendary Limón Dance Company and the dynamic Ephrat Asherie Dance in advance of their official Festival debuts, and performances by Festival Artists-In-Residence and dance luminaries from around the world. (7:30 p.m. Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail)
On Saturday, July 30, New York City Ballet MOVES will take the stage in a program that includes Justin Peck’s recent premiere Partita set to Caroline Shaw’s Pulitzer-Prize winning composition Partita for 8 Voices, and Artist-In-Residence Roman Mejia’s debut in Jerome Robbins’ A Suite of Dances, originally created for Mikhail Baryshnikov. (7:30 p.m. Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail)
New York City’s Ephrat Asherie Dance, a dance company rooted in African American and Latine street and social styles, makes their Vail Dance Festival debut with ODEON at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek on Sunday, July 31. Set to a richly layered score by Ernesto Nazareth combining samba and other popular Afro-Brazilian rhythms, ODEON delves into what happens when you bring together parts of the extended family of street and club dances — including breaking, hip hop, house and vogue — and remix them in a world that blurs time, tempo and genre. (6 p.m. Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek)
Celebrating their landmark 75th anniversary season, the Limón Dance Company will make their Vail debut in an evening program of mixed repertory on Monday, Aug. 1. A pillar of American modern dance since its founding in 1946, the company is widely acclaimed for its dramatic expression, technical mastery and expansive, yet nuanced movement. Repertory will include Limón’s Psalm, Doris Humphrey’s Air for the G String, and Limón’s iconic solo Chaconne which will be danced by New York City Ballet soloist, and 2022 Vail Artist-In-Residence, Roman Mejia. (7:30 p.m. Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail)
Also making their Festival debut is DanceAspen, Colorado’s newest dance company forming last year as a new collective of professional dancers from the former Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. On Sunday, Aug. 7, this impressive new group of artists will present an evening of cutting-edge contemporary works from their burgeoning repertoire. (6 p.m. Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek)
Returning signature programs
On Wednesday, Aug. 3, Artistic Director Damian Woetzel peels back the curtain and invites audiences to get UpClose to the inner workings and collaboration that goes into creating new choreography and debut performances in Vail each summer. Artists-In-Residence, Roman Mejia of New York City Ballet, and choreographer Caili Quan, join a range of Festival artists in sharing their process, and their creative sensibilities, in a special evening that combines rehearsal-style performances with interviews and commentary. (6 p.m. Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail)
On Thursday, Aug. 4, Dancing in the Park returns to the neighboring township of Avon in Nottingham Park for a one-of-a-kind and participatory performance for dance fans of all ages. Free and open to all, the program includes the break-dance stylings of Ephrat Asherie and dancers, ballroom stars Denys Drozdyuk and Antonina Skobina, along with appearances by DanceAspen, and the Vail Valley Foundation’s YouthPower365 Celebrate the Beat. (5:30 p.m., Nottingham Park Pavilion, Avon)
International Evenings of Dance is legendary for featuring a brilliant cast of dancers and musicians in signature gala-style performances. Celebrating artistic collaboration and innovation, these evenings are full of unique “only in Vail” partnerships and role debuts by a selection of today’s dance stars from around the world. This year’s schedule will include International Evenings I on Friday, Aug. 5 at 7:30 p.m. and a different program of International Evenings II with two performances on Saturday, Aug. 6 at 5 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. (Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail)
Offering accessible pricing for all, Dance for $20.22 closes out the season on Tuesday, Aug. 9 with special appearances by featured Festival dancers, DanceAspen, and Ephrat Asherie Dance in a rousing grand finale performance. The evening will also celebrate Artistic Director Damian Woetzel’s 100th dance commission for the Festival. Reserved pavilion seating is available for $20.22 and general admission lawn seating will be offered for $10.22. (7:30 p.m., Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail)
Details on additional Festival events including the popular Conversations on Dance podcast series, Master Classes, free Dancing in the Streets performances, the Tiny Dancer Tea Party, and educational events will be announced in June.
Performance tickets will go on sale to the public on April 19 at VailDance.org or through the Box Office by phone at 970-845-TIXS (8497). The Box Office hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For more information, visit VailDance.org.