Vail Dance Festival announces lineup for 2017 season, which begins July 29 |

Vail Dance Festival announces lineup for 2017 season, which begins July 29

Daily staff report
From left, Lil Buck, Michelle Dorrance, Robert Fairchild and Melissa Toogood in the world premiere of "1-2-3-4-5-6" at the 2016 Vail Dance Festival. Dorrance is the 2017 festival's artist-in-residence.
Erin Baiano | Special to the Daily |

Vail Dance Festival schedule

• Opening Night — 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 29, Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail

• L.A. Dance Project — 7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 30, Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail

• Dancing in the Park: Colorado Ballet — 5:30 p.m. Monday, July 31, Avon Performance Pavilion, Nottingham Park, Avon

• American Dance Classics: Jerome Robbins’ “Fancy Free” and George Balanchine’s “Serenade” — 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 1, Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail

• UpClose: Jerome Robbins — 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 2, Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek

• International Evenings of Dance I & II — 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4, and Saturday, Aug. 5, Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail

• Now: Premieres, Celebrating Women Choreographers — 7:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 7, Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail

• Dance for $20.17 — 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 8, Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail

• Dorrance Dance 2017 — 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 10, Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek

• Martha Graham Dance Company — 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 11, Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail

• Closing Night Celebration with BalletX — 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12, Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail

VAIL — The Vail Dance Festival kicks off its 29th year Saturday, July 29, through Saturday, Aug. 12, with a season of new collaborations, artist debuts and world premieres.

Directed by former New York City Ballet star Damian Woetzel, the 2017 season will feature as artist-in-residence tap dance innovator and MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Michelle Dorrance, who will perform and collaborate with other festival artists throughout the season.

Festival highlights

Under Woetzel’s direction for the past decade, the festival has presented more than 50 world premieres. For 2017, the Now: Premieres performance will celebrate the work of female choreographers, with new commissions from Dorrance, New York City Ballet principal Lauren Lovette, neoclassical and contemporary ballet choreographer Claudia Schreier and acclaimed modern dance choreographer Pam Tanowitz.

This year, the acclaimed Brooklyn Rider string quartet will return to Vail as quartet-in-residence, joining solo musicians including singer and multi-instrumentalist Kate Davis and pianist Cameron Grant, to perform alongside the dance on several evenings, including the gala performances, International Evenings of Dance I & II and Now: Premieres. The Breckenridge Music Festival Orchestra will appear at the festival for the first time as part of the American Dance Classics performance.

Kurt Crowley, who is currently conducting “Hamilton” on Broadway, will take on the new festival role of conductor and musical director. Crowley debuted with the festival in fall 2016 as conductor of Igor Stravinsky’s “Apollo” for the Vail Dance Festival ReMix season at New York City Center.

New performers for Vail’s International Evenings of Dance will include rising Royal Ballet stars Francesca Hayward and Marcelino Sambe, Miami City Ballet’s Patricia Delgado and American Ballet Theatre’s Marcelo Gomes, who join frequent festival performers including Isabella Boylston, Misty Copeland, Carla Korbes, Misa Kuranaga, Tiler Peck, Unity Phelan, Devon Teuscher, Melissa Toogood, Lil Buck, Jeffrey Cirio, Robert Fairchild, Calvin Royal III, Daniel Ulbricht, Jared Angle, James Whiteside, Ron Myles and Joseph Gordon.

Honoring legacies

Venerating the history of the arts in America has been a festival mainstay, and in anticipation of the centennial years of both choreographer Jerome Robbins (1918-1998) and composer Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) in 2018, the festival will honor their legacy and impact through performances, residencies and a commitment to new music for performances in Vail.

“Collaborations by Jerome Robbins and Leonard Bernstein were a key part of my onstage career at (New York City Ballet), and these artistic giants remain a powerful inspiration for me,” Damian Woetzel said. “I am honored to be celebrating them and building on their work this summer.”

Among the efforts under this mantle:

• The 2017 festival will focus its UpClose rehearsal-style performance on the work of Robbins, the ballet and Broadway choreographic genius.

• The American Dance Classics performance will present the Bernstein-Robbins breakthrough ballet “Fancy Free,” along with George Balanchine’s first ballet made in America, “Serenade.”

• The festival will launch the Leonard Bernstein Composer-in-Residence program, a new role to be inaugurated by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw for 2017-18. Shaw will attend the 2017 festival, where one of her existing works will be performed, in anticipation of a new composition for the 2018 festival season.

• For the International Evenings of Dance, Matthew Neenan will choreograph a new set to the music of Bernstein.

Vail Dance Festival Fan Club pre-sale ticketing begins Feb. 21, and the public on-sale date is Feb. 28. For more information on becoming a Fan Club member, call 970-777-2015. Visit to learn more, or follow the Vail Dance Festival on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

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