Vail Today: Women choreographers featured at Vail Dance Festival’s NOW: Premieres (video)
By Tricia Swenson | Vail Today
George Balanchine told Life magazine in 1965, “The ballet is a purely female thing; it is a woman, a garden of beautiful flowers, and man is the gardener.” In an industry comprised of more women than men, you’d think there would be more female choreographers, but that is not the case in the dance world. This year’s NOW: Premieres decided to give women dance-makers center stage.As Damian Woetzel, artistic director for the Vail Dance Festival, addressed the audience on Monday night, he talked about how the Vail Dance Festival pushes the boundaries of dance and how NOW: Premieres embraces a collaborative effort that brings together many styles of dance. He also said that it was time to state a clear message and celebrate the unique and powerful voices of women in dance in our country and around the world.Four female choreographers were commissioned to create new works for a varied pool of talented dancers from across all dance genres.Claudia Schreier first came to the Vail Dance Festival in 2007 as an intern and returned in 2016 as a choreographer at last year’s NOW: Premieres. Schreier celebrated the music of Leonard Bernstein and enlisted the skills of dancers from the New York City Ballet, Los Angeles Ballet and Dance Theatre of Harlem.Pam Tanowitz has been designing movement to music for over 15 years and lets the expressions of movement and music tell the story. In addition to Tanowitz’s Entr’acte, she also asked if she could do a solo piece called Solo for Patricia for Patricia Delgado after meeting Delgado during a car ride up to Vail.Lauren Lovette was excited to showcase her talents beyond being a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet. Instead of music, Lovette choreographed her steps to spoken-word poetry and added a solo violin to accompany a cast of four females on stage.Artist-in-residence, Michelle Dorrance brought together over a dozen dancers from various companies for a tap performance that lasted the entire second half of the show and garnered a standing ovation from the audience.By the end of the show, there was no doubt that not only is ballet, in Balanchine’s words, is a female thing, but choreography is also a female thing.