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Damian Woetzel says farewell to New York City Ballet

Daily Staff Report
Vail, CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily/Paul Kolnik
ALL |

VAIL ” In a career spanning 23 years of dancing, Vail International Dance Festival Artistic Director Damian Woetzel has entertained ballet fans across the world. He bid farewell to his role as Principal Dancer at New York City Ballet last month, in a performance which has garnered acclaim.

Heralded as “simply magnificent,” Woetzel “… combined explosive pizazz with impeccable style and notable authority,” wrote New York Post reviewer Clive Barnes.

“He takes his leave at the peak of his form,” Barnes continued. “That perfect crossover mark between physical possibility and artistic maturity.”

The only news bigger than Woetzel’s retirement from New York City Ballet was the buzz about what the future holds for dance’s star. And that, of course, includes the Vail International Dance Festival, over which Woetzel has served as artistic director for the last two years.

Woetzel returns to the Valley in a few weeks to resume his role locally, though he has been working from New York and the road to ensure that the 2008 lineup will be even better than 2007.

“My aim is that the 2008 Festival build on the successes from last year,” Woetzel said. “At this landmark season, we are going to celebrate what we have achieved while reemphasizing our commitment to making Vail a place where the arts flourish.”

In addition to a lineup featuring the finest dance companies in the world, Woetzel cites a laundry list of new Festival initiatives as evidence of progression toward an ultimate goal of growing appreciation and availability of dance in our community.

“Among our efforts, the new Dance for $20.08 evening makes world-class dance accessible to the community,” Woetzel said. “With reserved seats offered at $20.08 and lawn seats offered at $8 ” less than a movie ticket ” we hope to remove certain barriers which have often made dance seem unattainable to some audiences, and spread the joy of this art to new fans.”

Additionally, this year’s expanded Celebrate the Beat dance outreach program widened the Festival’s educational reach in the community.

“This year we added a spring residency to the program, with a two-week workshop in the Avon Elementary School,” Woetzel said. “We return this summer with a week-long workshop and public performance; we’re thrilled to reach as many children as we can with this program, which teaches such valuable lessons about the joys of dance and music.”

With his dancing days behind him, for now at least, Woetzel has focused his singular attention on the two weeks of performances July 27 through Aug. 10.

And the real clincher: Woetzel will return to the stage, albeit briefly, to perform in the International Evenings of Dance. He’s announced that he’ll perform on at least one of the showcase evenings (scheduled for Aug. 1 and 2), appearing in a pas de deux titled “Sinatra Suite,” choreographed by Twyla Tharp for Mikhail Baryshnikov.

For more information and a full schedule of the 2008 Vail International Dance Festival, please visit vaildance.org or call 888-920-ARTS(2787).


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