An insider look at the Vail International Dance Festival |

An insider look at the Vail International Dance Festival

Damian WoetzelVail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily

Today we shift the focus of Directors Corner to concentrate on the upcoming Vail International Dance Festival. For the next two weeks, the festival provides an amazing opportunity to explore and enjoy the world’s best dance from Ballet to Modern, and Tap to Ballroom. New to the festival this year is Artistic Director Damian Woetzel, principal dancer with New York City Ballet. Damian has graciously agreed to share his insight into the world of dance and this year’s festival enjoy! Kris Sabel.

Hello Vail Valley! The Vail International Dance Festival is back, and this time around I am here for an offstage role, as well as my usual onstage one. After dancing at this great festival for over a decade, this is my first season as artistic director.

We are kicking things off this year with three terrific programs by one of America’s greatest ballet companies, the Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) out of Seattle. These dancers are fantastic, and the dances they are bringing to Vail are the best of the best. Opening night is Sunday, an American Dance Spectacular presented in tribute to the late President Ford. The evening features masterpieces of ballet made in America with bonus accompaniment by outstanding musicians from the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival.Monday night at the Vilar Center PNB salutes the man I believe to have been the 20th century’s greatest choreographer, George Balanchine. He’s the man who made the Nutcracker an American tradition, and the man whose revolutionary dances still seem like they were made yesterday – or actually, as a friend of mine recently said, “it looks like it was made tomorrow!”

PNB’s final show on Wednesday is a blockbuster! A not-to-be-missed evening of dances by today’s brilliant dancemakers, the evening is titled Modern Masters for a reason. It’s Twyla Tharp showing us Sinatra; you’ve never seen ballroom dance like this – pure magic to songs like “That’s Life” and “My Way”; it’s Billy Forsythe showing unparalleled cutting edge dance – a mix of electronic music and extreme dancing that always brings me to my feet cheering; it’s work by Spain’s Nacho Duato, whose dances have thrilled Vail’s audiences in years past; and it’s the young Marco Goecke whose “tour de force” solo tears down the house every time. Come out to the Ford Amphitheater Wednesday for Modern Masters, it will be a night to remember.Don’t forget, there’s much more to come next week. Great dancers from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Royal Ballet, Hamburg Ballet, New York City Ballet, the great Savion Glover and more! Check out our new website at for a full schedule. It’s going to be a great festival, don’t miss a thing.

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