July 29 – August 12: Vail Dance Festival Kicks-Off Season on July 29

Festival Announces Michelle Dorrance As Artist-in Residence and Season Program

(VAIL, CO) – On July 29, the Vail Dance Festival kicks off its 29th year (July 29- August 12) with a season of new collaborations, artist debuts, and world premieres. Directed by former New York City Ballet star Damian Woetzel, the 2017 season will feature as Artist-In-Residence the tap dance innovator and MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant recipient Michelle Dorrance, who will perform and collaborate with other Festival artists throughout the season. As part of her residency, Dorrance will anchor the Festival’s annual night of world premieres, which this year will celebrate new work by women choreographers.

The season also focuses on choreographer Jerome Robbins (1918-1998) and composer Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) in anticipation of their joint 2018 centennial anniversary. In honor of these two towering American artists, the Festival will feature their groundbreaking works on various performances; Robbins will be celebrated in the UpClose performance; a new work choreographed by Matthew Neenan and set to Mr. Bernstein’s music will premiere on the International Evenings of Dance; and the Leonard Bernstein Composer-in-Residence program will launch with Pulitzer Prize winning composer Caroline Shaw in this new role.

“Collaborations by Jerome Robbins and Leonard Bernstein were a key part of my onstage career at NYCB, and these artistic giants remain a powerful inspiration for me,” said festival director Damian Woetzel. “I am honored to be celebrating them and building on their work this summer.”

Among new artists at the Festival will be Royal Ballet rising stars Francesca Hayward and Marcelino Sambé, who join such Festival regulars as Lil Buck, Misty Copeland, Robert Fairchild, Tiler Peck, and Melissa Toogood. The L.A. Dance Project makes its Festival debut, and companies returning to Vail include the Martha Graham Dance Company, BalletX, and Denver’s Colorado Ballet. Musicians appearing include the string quartet Brooklyn Rider, singer and multi-instrumentalist Kate Davis, pianist Cameron Grant, the Breckenridge Music Festival Orchestra, and in a new Festival role of Conductor and Musical Director, Kurt Crowley, who is currently conducting Hamilton on Broadway.

Festival Highlights:

New Works by Women Choreographers:
Under Woetzel’s direction for the past decade, the Festival has presented over 50 world premieres. For 2017, the NOW: Premieres performance will celebrate the work of female choreographers, with new commissions from New York City Ballet principal Lauren Lovette, neoclassical and contemporary ballet choreographer Claudia Schreier, acclaimed modern dance choreographer Pam Tanowitz, and tap dance revolutionary Michelle Dorrance.

Festival Artists and Companies:
New performers on Vail’s International Evenings of Dance will include the rising Royal Ballet stars Francesca Hayward and Marcelino Sambé, Miami City Ballet’s Patricia Delgado, and American Ballet Theatre’s Marcelo Gomes, who join frequent Festival performers including Isabella Boylston, Misty Copeland, Carla Körbes, Misa Kuranaga, Lauren Lovette, Tiler Peck, Unity Phelan, Devon Teuscher, Melissa Toogood, Lil Buck, Jeffrey Cirio, Robert Fairchild, Calvin Royal III, Daniel Ulbricht, Jared Angle, James Whiteside, Ron Myles, and Joseph Gordon.

The Festival welcomes for the first-time Benjamin Millipied’s L.A. Dance Project, who join other companies appearing at the Festival including Dorrance Dance, Philadelphia’s BalletX, the Martha Graham Dance Company, and Denver’s Colorado Ballet and Wonderbound companies.

Bernstein and Robbins:
Venerating the history of the arts in America has been a Festival mainstay, and in anticipation of the centennial years of both Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins in 2018 the Festival will honor their legacy and impact through performances, residencies, and a commitment to new music for performances in Vail. Among the efforts under this mantle:

The 2017 Festival will focus its UpClose rehearsal-style performance on the work of Robbins, the ballet and Broadway choreographic genius.

The American Dance Classics performance, will present the Bernstein/Robbins breakthrough ballet Fancy Free, along with George Balanchine’s first ballet made in America, Serenade.

Inspired by Maestro Bernstein’s tremendous creative influence the Festival will launch the Leonard Bernstein Composer-in-Residence program, a new role to be inaugurated by Pulitzer Prize winning composer Caroline Shaw for 2017-2018. Shaw will attend the 2017 Festival where one of her existing works will be performed, in anticipation of a new composition for the 2018 Festival season. See below full description of this new role. *

Conductor and pianist Kurt Crowley, currently conductor of Broadway’s Hamilton, will lead musical collaboration at the Festival as its new Conductor and Musical Director. Crowley debuted with the Festival in fall 2016 as conductor of Stravinsky’s Apollo for the Vail Dance Festival ReMix season at NY City Center.

For the International Evenings of Dance, a new work will be choreographed by Matthew Neenan set to the music of Leonard Bernstein in anticipation of his centennial.

Live music plays an important part of many Festival performances. This year, the acclaimed Brooklyn Rider string quartet will return to Vail as Quartet-In-Residence, joining solo musicians including singer/multi-instrumentalist Kate Davis, pianist Cameron Grant, to perform alongside the dance on several evenings including the gala performances, International Evenings of Dance I & II and NOW: Premieres. The Breckinridge Music Festival Orchestra will appear at the Festival for the first time as part of the American Dance Classics performance.

*About the ‪Leonard Bernstein Composer-in-Residence at the Vail Dance Festival

Recognizing the extraordinary impact of Leonard Bernstein, and in honor of the upcoming centennial year of his birth, the Festival has created a new position to integrate the composition of music into the structure of programming. The Composer-in-Residence will create a new piece of music to be choreographed and premiered at the festival, and will participate in programming that highlights the crucial partnership of music and dance. Existing work of the Composer-in-Residence will be featured in various programs throughout the festival. The inaugural composer-in-residence is the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw.

Vail Dance Festival Fan Club pre-sale ticketing begins Feb. 21 and the public on-sale date is Feb. 28.

The Vail Dance Festival performances take place at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail and the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek. Vail Dance Festival Fan Club pre-sale tickets go on sale Feb. 21 and public on-sale begins Feb. 28. For more information on becoming a Fan Club member, call 970.777.2015. Visit www.vaildance.org for more information and follow the Festival on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

About Vail Dance Festival: The outdoor splendor of the Colorado Rocky Mountains is the backdrop each summer as the unique mountain town of Vail plays host to a collection of the world’s finest dancers. Under the artistic direction of Damian Woetzel, the Vail Dance Festival has become renowned for its artistic excellence, unique programming, new works, and one-of-a-kind partnerships. Nearly 20-thousand people from around the world descend each summer on Vail, a vibrant cultural destination, for the Festival’s two-week residence. The Festival’s spirited atmosphere transforms the village into a culturally-rich environment that is inviting to dance aficionados and newcomers alike. In addition to regular performances, the Festival features robust community programming and education events, drawing on its roster of visiting artists, in addition to year-round personnel who focus on arts education in the Vail Valley. In the fall of 2016, the Vail Dance Festival presented for the first time a season outside of its Colorado-base, with a series of acclaimed performances at New York City Center entitled Vail Dance Festival: ReMix NYC. The Vail Dance Festival is a project of the Vail Valley Foundation, which since 1981 has fulfilled its mission to enhance and sustain the quality of life in the Vail Valley by providing leadership in arts, education and athletics. For more information, visit www.vaildance.org


Principal of Philanthropy Lifestyles (formerly SocialWhirl.com), the award-winning eBuzzNewsletter and Adams Communications Public Relations, a boutique PR firm specializing in media and community relations for small businesses and nonprofit organizations. Sharon is also a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in Dallas Business Journal, Katy Trail Weekly, People Newspapers (Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People/North Dallas People), Preston Hollow Life magazine, The Park Cities News, White Rock Lake Weekly, numerous blogs and websites and more.