Dance festival honors President Ford Sunday |

Dance festival honors President Ford Sunday

Daily Staff ReportVail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily

VAIL – Pacific Northwest Ballet will supply the dancers and the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival will provide the musicians Sunday as the Vail International Dance Festival opens with an American Dance Spectacular in honor of former President Gerald R. Ford.

“President and Mrs. Ford have been tremendous supporters of this festival since day one,” Vail International Dance Festival Artistic Director Damian Woetzel said. “So it is only fitting that we dedicate opening night to his memory. Without the Fords, there might not be a Vail International Dance Festival.”

The evening will feature a celebration of some of the finest in American dance, including George Balanchine’s western-flavored “Square Dance,” Jerome Robbins’ poetic “In The Night” and Twyla Tharp’s smoldering “Nine Sinatra Songs.”Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Balanchine’s “Square Dance” weaves together the threads of classical ballet, 17th century court dance and American country dancing for a masterwork, rich with intricacies and subtleties, notable for its celebrated male solo.In honor of the anniversary, the dance festival will replicate the original 1957 production with the Bravo! musicians on stage and a live caller, performed by Tony-award winner Scott Wise, to call the steps.Set to a selection of Chopin nocturnes, Robbins’ “In the Night” explores three stages of the love relationship: tender young love, a mature and balanced love and fiery passion in three extended pas de deux.

Tharp created her “Nine Sinatra Songs” in 1982, based on the social dancing of the 1950s, with Oscar de la Renta’s dresses and tuxedoes flashing with a similar double edge of past and present. Each of the songs chosen has its own character, while the choreography reinforces traditional ballroom dancing.Considered one of the finest ballet companies in the country, Pacific Northwest Ballet, led by Artistic Director Peter Boal, will bring its 44 members to the Vail Valley for a trio of performances, all with distinctly different themes. In addition to the opening night, Pacific Northwest Ballet will also showcase their versatility on Monday, July 30, at the Vilar Center for the Arts, along with a second amphitheater show, featuring modern masterpieces by Tharp and William Forsythe among others, on Wednesday, Aug. 1.Tickets for the opening night American Dance Spectacular are priced at $85 and $65 for reserved pavilion seating, while general admission lawn seating is priced at $17.In addition to opening night, individual tickets for the 2007 Vail International Dance Festival are priced from $17 to $85, with special pricing for the August 8 Christopher Wheeldon evening at the Vilar Center.An array of ticket packages are also available, including the Center Stage Pass ($475), providing premium reserved seats for all festival performances, with the exception of Aug. 8, and the popular Performance Plus Pass ($75), which features discounted general admission lawn seating for all seven Dance Festival performances at the Ford Amphitheater and a $10 discount on a bottle of wine at all Amphitheater shows. New for 2007 is the addition of a Student Performance Plus Pass ($50), available to all students, 18 years of age and under, which also provides general admission seating for all Amphitheater shows.ickets for the 2007 Vail International Dance Festival are available online at or by calling 845-TIXS (8497) or 1-888-920-ARTS (2787).The Vail International Dance Festival, Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater and Vilar Center for the Arts are all programs and facilities of the Vail Valley Foundation. For additional information, please contact 949-1999 or visit

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