Vail Dance festival journal
Vail CO, Colorado
This is a page where Vail Daily Staffers talk about their impressions of the dance festival.
Along with informal reviews, we’ll post news tidbits. Read on for information you won’t find in the newspaper’s print edition.
BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” Lisa Viola took her final curtain call with the Paul Taylor Dance Company Monday night in Beaver Creek.
A dancer with the company for 16 years, Viola served as the lead in Paul Taylor’s signature piece, “Esplanade.” The dance company performed “Esplanade” during the Vail International Dance Festival’s opening night Sunday in Vail and Monday at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek.
Following the performance, Viola referred a request for an interview to the dance company’s manager, John Tomlinson. He declined the interview, citing the company’s rigorous schedule and planned early morning flight.
Tomlinson said the news that Viola planned to perform her last dance in Vail was announced to New York audiences in March.
Viola, 44, grew up in Hololulu, where she received her early training, Tomlinson said. She continued her ballet studies in New York with David Howard, The Joffrey School and the School of American Ballet, according to her biography. In addition to the Paul Taylor Dance Company, Viola has performed with DanceExpress, Sounddance, East/West Repertory Dance Ensemble and the Rod Rodgers Dance Company. She was a scholarship student at The Taylor School from 1990 until fall 1992, when she made her debut with the Paul Taylor Dance Company, the bio states.
Julie Tice, a fellow dancer in the Paul Taylor Dance Company, described Viola as a respected colleague who is a pleasure to work with.
“She’s so fierce,” Tice said of her dance style. “She’s so incredibly strong and her presence is so demanding. She’s really one of a kind.”
At the same time, Viola has a lighter side, Tice added.
“She’s actually a very, very funny lady,” she said. “She has quite a comedic side to her that not everyone knows about.”
Viola spent about twice as much time with the Paul Taylor Dance Company as the average dancer. Most dancers retire after about 8 to 10 years, Tomlinson said.
Viola’s retirement leaves a gap in the 16-member company. Viola’s roles will be dispersed among the other female dancers in the company, Tomlinson said. To bring the troupe back to full capacity, Jamie Rae Walker joins the company Aug. 18, he said.
Following “Esplanade” on Monday night, Viola accepted flowers from dance festival director Damian Woetzel.
Tomlinson reflected on Viola’s ability to combine passion with humor on the stage.
“She’s got this incredible tool of range,” he said.
-By Sarah Mausolf
High LIfe Writer