Local dancer Amelia Sturt-Dilley returns to the Vail Dance Festival, Aug. 3 | VailDaily.com

Local dancer Amelia Sturt-Dilley returns to the Vail Dance Festival, Aug. 3

Jennifer Geisman
Special to the Daily

Todd Rosenberg | Vail Dance Festival Vail Valley native Amelia Sturt-Dilley will perform in International Evenings of Dance I on Friday, Aug. 3, part of the Vail Dance Festival.

VAIL — The Vail Dance Festival welcomes back Vail Valley native and Juilliard School graduate Amelia Sturt-Dilley to the Vail stage. On Friday, Aug. 3, Sturt-Dilley will join the festival for International Evenings of Dance I in an excerpt from "Scenario," by Merce Cunningham, as a pre-centennial year salute to Cunningham, a choreographer and leader of American avant-garde dance.

Melissa Toogood, a festival favorite, member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and a Merce Cunningham Fellow, will stage "Scenario." The piece will feature all original Cunningham choreography and a bold, electronic musical score by Takehisa Kosugi, "Wave Code A-Z." "Scenario" was first performed on Oct. 14, 1997, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Brooklyn, New York.

Juilliard trained

Sturt-Dilley received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from The Juilliard School, where she danced in other works by Cunningham, as well as choreographers Monica Bill Barnes, Emery Le Crone, Darrell Grand Moultrie, William Forsythe, Twyla Tharp, Larry Keigwin and Jessica Lange. Her first appearance at the Vail Dance Festival was in 2015, when she performed Larry Keigwin's "Stormy Weather."

"Returning to the Vail stage will always be meaningful to me. As a student, I would take all the (Vail Dance Festival) master classes and volunteer to hand out programs so I could come to all the performances," Sturt-Dilley said.

"Seeing such diverse international talent was exceptionally inspiring. Having the 2015 Festival as the launch to my career as a professional dancer was a dream come true. Getting to come back a few years into my career is even more special."

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During Cunningham's 70-year career, he was considered one of the most significant choreographers and one of the greatest American dancers in history. Cunningham's creative intuition and pioneering collaborations with avant-gardists from a wide range of artistic disciplines generated a cultural phenomenon that embodied American dance, music and visual art.

"The last ballet I performed at Juilliard was Cunningham's 'BiPed.' I remember loving both the mental and physical challenge of his work. I look forward to delving into his language once again," Sturt-Dilley said.

Sturt-Dilley was raised in the Vail Valley, where she trained under Karen and David Samuelson. She received her high school education at the Walnut Hill School for the Arts under the direction of Michael Owen and Samuel Kurkjian.

Upon graduating from The Juilliard School, Sturt-Dilley became a company member of Charlotte Ballet, where she has been featured and originated roles in works by Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, Sasha Janes, Mark Diamond, David Ingram, Dwight Rhoden, Jiri Kylian, Ohad Naharin, George Balanchine, Javier de Frutos, Myles Thatcher, Robyn Mineko Williams, Bryan Arias and Felipe Portugal.

"I'm thrilled to be coming back to the Vail Valley. Having spent my high school years in Massachusetts, college in New York City and now living in Charlotte, I jump at the chance to escape to the mountains," Sturt-Dilley said. "One of my first stops in Vail will be Yeti's Grind for a lavender latte."

If you go …

What: International Evenings of Dance I and II, part of the Vail Dance Festival.

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 3, and Saturday, Aug. 4.

Where: Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, 530 South Frontage Road E., Vail.

Cost: Reserved seating is $60 to $125, based on availability; lawn seating is $25 for adults, $10 for children ages 13 to 17, and children 12 and younger are free.

More information: Visit http://www.vaildance.org to purchase tickets and view the full season schedule. Follow the Festival on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.