Vail Dance Festival begins July 30 |

Vail Dance Festival begins July 30

Opening weekend will feature special performances and public events

The Vail Dance Festival returns to the stage in-person for its 32nd season July 30-Aug. 9, as it brings back to Vail a cast of extraordinary dancers, musicians, composers and choreographers for nine performances and numerous public events.

Here’s a look at highlights for opening weekend Friday, July 30 – Sunday, Aug. 1:

Performances at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater

Friday, July 30 | 7:30 p.m.

The Festival returns with a celebratory opening night featuring appearances by stars including American Ballet Theatre principal dancer and Festival Artist-In-Residence Calvin Royal III, and, in their return to Vail after almost a decade, New York City Ballet MOVES. The incomparable company will open the Festival with Jerome Robbins’ masterpiece Dances at a Gathering, embodying the spirit of reunion and renewal as we begin to gather again as a community of artists and audiences. Tickets start at $27.

Saturday, July 31 | 7:30 p.m.

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In an evening of dance masterworks with live music, New York City Ballet MOVES takes the stage to present George Balanchine’s expressive Sonatine set to music by Maurice Ravel, Jerome Robbins’ timeless In the Night set to nocturnes by Frederick Chopin, and Alexei Ratmansky’s acclaimed Pictures at an Exhibition to Modest Mussorgsky’s extraordinary music of the same title.

Sunday, Aug. 1 | 6 p.m.

This first UpClose rehearsal-style performance for 2021 celebrates American Ballet Theatre principal dancer and Vail Dance Festival Artist-In-Residence Calvin Royal III. Hosted by Artistic Director Damian Woetzel, Royal will be joined by partners including Isabella Boylston, Unity Phelan, and Melissa Toogood, in repertory that will include works by George Balanchine, Merce Cunningham, and Christopher Wheeldon, as well as a first look at the new ballets being created for Royal this season by Tiler Peck and Jamar Roberts.

Vail Dance Festival Fringe Events

Dancing in the Streets

Dance leaps into the heart of Vail Village with one-of-a-kind, free, and participatory performances that create a collective spirit of community and celebration. Audiences, dancers and enthusiasts of all levels and abilities are invited to celebrate the joy of dance with Festival Artists and fans alike. The series kicks off at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 29, in a special preview performance with Festival Artists, and continues Aug. 1 at 12 p.m., Aug. 7 at 12 p.m., and Aug. 8 at 12 p.m., all at Solaris Plaza in Vail Village.

Master Classes with Festival Artists

The stellar Master Class schedule kicks off opening weekend with unique opportunities in pre-professional dance training with Festival Artists. The schedule begins July 29 from 9 – 10:20 a.m. with Calvin Royal III, followed by the second Master Class from 10:30 – 11:50 a.m. with Robbie Fairchild. Opening weekend sessions also include Ballet Technique with Michael Sean Breeden, Jean-Pierre Frohlich, Rebecca King Ferraro, Tiler Peck (Sold Out), Tap with Dario Natarelli, and Jookin with Lil Buck and Ron Myles. These Master Class events will take place at Vail Mountain School. Tickets are $30 for participants and $15 for observers.

Conversations on Dance Festival Forums (live podcast)

Former Miami City Ballet dancers Rebecca King Ferraro and Michael Sean Breeden host their popular podcast series Conversations on Dance recorded live from Vail with lively, in-depth discussions with Festival Artists. Audience members are encouraged to participate. Tickets are $25 and include light snacks and drinks. The podcast recordings take place each morning of the Festival from 9:30 – 10:20 a.m. at the Manor Vail Lodge Piney Ballroom.

Opening weekend interviews include:

July 30 — New York City Ballet MOVES with Jon Stafford

July 31 — Artist-in-Residence: Calvin Royal III

Aug. 1 — BalletX Beyond: Christine Cox

If you go…

– All ticketed Fringe Events and Festival performances are on sale now online at or through the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater Box Office located at 530 S Frontage Road E in Vail.

– The Box Office hours are 11 a.m. through 5 p.m. daily. Tickets may also be purchased by phone at 970.845.TIXS (8497).

– To view the complete Vail Dance Festival schedule visit

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