Vail dance fest spotlight: Daniel Ulbricht, New York City Ballet
Vail, CO Colorado
Learn more about the artists in town for the Vail International Dance Festival in our dancer spotlight profiles. Stay tuned for exclusive interviews and inside information on dancers, choreographers, musicians and more. We talked to Daniel Ulbricht of the New York City Ballet who is dancing at the festival for his third year in a row.
Vail Daily: What are some of your favorite things about coming to Vail?
Daniel Ulbricht: This is my third trip to Vail to dance at the festival. Visiting Vail is so amazing. I feel refreshed and recharged when I am there. Everyone is great. The audience is so warm. From an artistic point, performing here has presented me opportunities to grow as an artist. I get to perform ballets that are new to my own repertory and I feel that the audience truly embraces that.
VD: What’s it like to dance at 8,150 feet?
DU: Dancing at 8,150 …. Ha ha. I find it a challenge. During my first trip to Vail, I got altitude sickness. What a wake up call! Although the air is thinner, it is fresher, too. I think it is a great venue to show that dance can be an ‘extreme sport.’ Our job, of course, is to make it look easy. I rather enjoy that challenge. Some of the lessons I have learned (in Vail) have even helped me in New York.
VD: What is your pre-performance ritual?
DU: I have no particular ritual. I try to stay as relaxed as possible. Panic and nerves do not help. I always take a moment and think (about) how blessed I am to step on a stage and do what I love. It is funny, sometimes I think of the stage as my office. In Vail, I’d say the office has a pretty amazing view. I am excited to see all kinds of performers. You are then inspired and that helps me do my job better.
VD: Have you ever seen Damian Woetzel, the festival director, perform?
DU: I have seen Damian perform many times. Inspired, classy, authoritative, effortless, are all words that define his work. He is one of my role models. Damian and I have performed at City Ballet on many occasions. Whether in ‘Fancy Free’ or ‘Four Seasons’ or ‘Swan Lake,’ his presence on stage has always inspired something new and exciting in my own performances. Those are the kind of performances you leave, get home, and say to yourself ‘this guy (Damian), makes me a better dancer. He is helping me to become an artist.’
VD: When you have time off, what do you like to do?
DU: When I have time off, I like to be outdoors. Tennis, golf, and being with family and friends.
VD: Has anything embarrassing ever happened to you onstage?
DU: Nothing I recall has been embarrassing to me on stage. If so, the show must go on.
VD: What music are you excited about right now?
DU: I love classical and jazz music. I have been listening to Liszet lately. It is for a new project I am working on.
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