Balanchine Celebration explores ballet masterpieces |

Balanchine Celebration explores ballet masterpieces

Isabella Boylston and Joseph Gordon rehearse Balanchine's "Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux," which will be performed at Sunday's Balanchine Celebration.
Erin Baiano | Special to the Daily |

VAIL – On Sunday at 7:30 p.m., the Vail International Dance Festival presents an evening honoring New York City Ballet’s founding genius choreographer, George Balanchine. Taking place at Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail, Balanchine Celebration brings one the 20th century’s greatest artists to life on the Vail dance stage and will feature Concerto Barocco “Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux,” as well as the debut of American Ballet Theatre superstar Herman Cornejo in Balanchine’s seminal masterpiece, “Apollo.” Other dancers appearing in the Balanchine Celebration include Tiler Peck, Misty Copeland, Isabella Boylston, Sara Mearns, Misa Kuranaga, Jared Angle, Zachary Catazaro, Russell Janzen and Joseph Gordon.

Balanchine’s ballets place him in the most exclusive artistic pantheon of 20th century genius, alongside his frequent collaborator composer Igor Stravinsky, and painter and sculptor Pablo Picasso. He built his own voice over the course of his lifetime, growing from his roots in Imperial Russia, to initial success at Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes where he most notably created “Apollo” and “The Prodigal Son,” to his arrival in America in 1933 where he immediately co-founded with Lincoln Kirstein the School of American Ballet, whose influence on American ballet has been defining.

After 15 years of struggle in his new homeland, during which Balanchine created several companies that proved unable to survive permanently, the New York City Ballet was officially born in 1948 as the home company of New York’s City Center Theatre. From then on until his death in 1983, Balanchine continued to create masterpiece after masterpiece, leaving a legacy now performed by dancers all around the world. The Vail International Dance Festival’s Balanchine Celebration will look at a range of works created between 1928 and 1982 — virtually the entire span of the choreographer’s creative lifespan.

Lawn seating at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater is $20. Children 12 and under are free on the lawn when accompanied by an adult. Students 13-18 years of age may purchase lawn tickets for $10. Reserved Pavilion seating ticket pricing is based on availability and is subject to change. Visit for more information and follow the Festival on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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