Vail Dance Festival presents UpClose: Jerome Robbins at Vilar Center |

Vail Dance Festival presents UpClose: Jerome Robbins at Vilar Center

Jennifer Geisman
Special to the Daily
Former New York City Ballet dancers Damian Woetzel, Robert La Fosse, Peter Boal and Jerome Robbins rehearse "Quiet City," choreographed by Robbins. The Vail Dance Festival's UpClose event shares an intimate look at the work of Robbins.
Martha Swope | Daily file photo | SWOPE

If you go ...

What: UpClose: Jerome Robbins.

Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek.

When: Wednesday, Aug. 2, 6:30 p.m.

Cost: $50-$150.

More information: Visit

On Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., the Vail Dance Festival will continue to delight dance enthusiasts as it brings an all-star cast to celebrate legendary choreographer Jerome Robbins’ centennial birthday year during UpClose: Jerome Robbins.

The rehearsal-style performance at the Vilar Performing Arts Center will be hosted by Vail Dance Festival’s artistic director Damian Woetzel, who worked closely with Robbins during his career at New York City Ballet.

“The idea behind the UpClose series is to share an intimate look at the work that goes into what is seen on the stage,” Woetzel said. “This year’s UpClose is looking at the influence of the legendary choreographer, Jerome Robbins, who had impact on the stages of ballet and Broadway with works including ‘Fancy Free,’ Robbins’ first collaboration with Leonard Bernstein, all the way to “West Side Story,’ another collaboration with Bernstein, and so many other ballets and Broadway musicals.”

‘UpClose’ format

The evening will focus on excerpts from Robbins’ seminal works including ‘Dances at a Gathering,’ ‘The Cage,’ ‘Afternoon of a Faun,’ ‘West Side Story’ and ‘Fancy Fre’e and will feature Vail Dance Festival stars Lauren Lovett, principal dancer of New York City Ballet; Tiler Peck, principal of New York City Ballet; Devon Teuscher, principal of American Ballet Theatre; 2017 artist-in-residence Michelle Dorrance; Jared Angle, principal of New York City Ballet; Herman Cornejo, principal of American Ballet Theatre; and more.

“In the UpClose format, we will do a slight survey of some of these works, but, really, what is going to happen, is that we will work on the stage with the dancers who perform these works today. We will take them apart a little bit and we’ll show the audience the elements that make them what they are,” Woetzel said. “In the process, we will talk about Robbins’ life, but essentially, it’s a chance to see the work really up close, as it were, and to experience the genius of dance that is Jerome Robbins.”

Among the works that will be featured, UpClose will take a look at “Afternoon of a Faun,” Robbins’ landmark work, building off Nijinsky’s original “Faun” from the Serge Diaghilev Ballets Russes era. In addition, the evening will highlight “Dances at a Gathering,” Robbins’ 1969 work for the New York City Ballet that revolutionized the way the stage was used by a community of dancers.

UpClose has become a signature Vail Dance Festival performance created by Woetzel during his first season as director over a decade ago and is inspired by the legendary conductor Leonard Bernstein. In the late 1950s, Bernstein staged preview concerts, where the audience could watch the New York Philharmonic rehearse and listen to Bernstein coach and share insights into the music and the process of preparing the for the next night’s concert.

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