In 2022, the Vail Dance Festival celebrated over 100 world-premiere dance commissions under Damian Woetzel’s visionary leadership since being named Artistic Director in 2006. From the start of his tenure, Mr. Woetzel prioritized developing new works that foster unique collaborations between artists of various dance genres to push the boundaries of the artform, further cementing Vail as a leading voice for new choreography in the United States. At 10,000ft above sea level, nestled in the heart of the Colorado Rockies, Vail has earned a reputation where “high-profile dancers make their annual trek to the mountains for this collaboration-rich festival” (Dance Magazine)

Beginning with choreographer Christopher Wheeldon as he launched his company Morphoses at the 2007 Festival, dancemakers of various genres have since partnered with Mr. Woetzel in the lab environment that is a signature of the Vail Dance Festival. Creative voices over the years have included Paul Taylor, Michelle Dorrance, Brian Brooks, Pam Tanowitz, Alonzo King, Shantala Shivalingappa, Larry Keigwin, Alexei Ratmansky, Claudia Schreier, Fang-Yi Sheu, Lil Buck, Matthew Neenan, Jodi Melnick, John Heginbotham, Lauren Lovette, Tiler Peck, Jamar Roberts, and Justin Peck. Essential to the collaborative work have been the musical collaborators who have been a part of the Festival, including Philip Glass, Caroline Shaw, Jason Moran, Rhiannon Giddens, Vijay Iyer, Gabriela Lena Frank, and the musicians of Brooklyn Rider among many others. 

“Showing the diversity of dance styles and techniques and juxtaposing dancers from different genres — from ballet to jookin’ to contemporary and Indian dance — has been part of Damian Woetzel’s mission since he became director of the festival.” -The New York Times

Now, fifteen years on, many of the works that have made their world premieres in Vail have been presented in other prestigious venues around the globe including New York City Center, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and the Joyce Theater, and at companies including New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Pam Tanowitz Dance, Dance Heginbotham, Pacific Northwest Ballet, among many others. 


Performance Date Choreography By
Release My Heart 8.4.07 Ron K. Brown
The Orchard 8.4.07 Damian Woetzel
(Preview) Fool’s Paradise 8.11.07 Christopher Wheeldon
Prokofiev Pas de Deux 8.11.07 Christopher Wheeldon
Vicissitudes 8.11.07 Edwaard Liang


Song V 7.27.08 Bulareyaung Pagarlava


Solitude In Numbers 8.4.10 Sang Jijia
Fandango 8.6.10 Alexei Ratmansky
Rock Steady 8.6.10 Larry Keigwin (w/Ashley Browne, Aaron Carr)
Romper El Piso 8.8.10 Natalia Hills


Archetypes 8.8.11 Emery LeCrone
Shoe Wither Revival 8.8.11 Richard Siegal
The Music’s Coming Through Me 8.8.11 New Styles Krew
Gravity Heros 8.8.11 Trey McIntyre


Switch Phase 8.6.12 Matthew Neenan
Solo for Sy 8.6.12 Jill Johnson
Fall Falls 8.6.12 Brian Brooks
Varone Variation – Lamentation Variations Project 8.6.12 Doug Varone
3 Movements and 4 Repeats 8.6.12 Christopher Wheeldon


Tango Trio 8.3.13 Analia Centruion, Herman Cornejo, Gabriel Missé, Damian Woetzel
Sunshine 8.2.13 Larry Keigwin
Entanglement 8.2.13 Brian Brooks
Les Hommes De La Legande 8.2.13 Lil Buck, Ron Myles, Ringmaster Nugget, Keviorr Taylor
Canvas 8.2.13 Larry Keigwin
All Will Be Still 8.3.13 Fang-Yi Sheu
Partita 8.3.13 Lil Buck & Damian Woetzel
Anywhere On the Road 8.5.13 Ron Myles & Fang-Yi Sheu
American Dreamer 8.5.13 Paul Taylor


Street Scenes 8.1.14 Damian Woetzel & Artists
Unrepeatable 8.1.14 Fang-Yi Sheu
Tabla-Ture 8.2.14 Damian Woetzel & Lil Buck
Counterpoint 8.4.14 Brian Brooks
Talk to Her 8.4.14 Fang Yi-Sheu
1X1 8.4.14 Fang-Yi Sheu & Shantala Shivalingappa
Memphis Born 8.4.14 Lil Buck, Ron Myles, Keviorr Taylor
Pheromones 8.4.14 Fang-Yi Sheu
Blooming 8.4.14 Shantala Shivalingappa & Lil Buck
Increasing 8.4.14 Matthew Neenan


Dig the Say 8.4.15 Lil Buck, Ron Myles, Damian Woetzel
Day for Night for Vail 8.4.15 Pam Tanowitz
Desire Liar 8.4.15 Silas Reiner & Rashaun Mitchell
Show Me 8.4.15 Matthew Neenan
Migration 8.4.15 Fang-Yi Sheu
Easy Win 8.4.15 John Heginbotham
L.O.V.E. 8.7.15 Alejandro Cerrudo
Time it was 8.7.15 Bill Irwin, Tiler Peck, Damian Woetzel
Y Dance 8.7.15 Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener


Vail Dance Jam 2016 7.30.16 Lil Buck, Shantala Shivalingappa, Ron Myles,
“Audacious Adi” Malcolm, Damian Woetzel
Universe 8.5.16 Gabriel Missé & Carla Espinoza
Lessons in Tradition 8.5.16 Michelle Dorrance & Bill Irwin
Milongon 8.6.16 Herman Cornejo
Zapateado 8.6.16 Valeriano Paños & Rafael Estévez 8.6.16 Developed by Damian Woetzel & Michelle Dorrance
Romance Study #4 8.8.16 Silas Riener + Rashaun Mitchell
Liquid Velvet 8.8.16 Jodie Gates
Jodi Kate ravel 8.8.16 Jodi Melnick
Solitaire 8.8.16 Claudia Schreier
Blooming II 8.8.16 Lil Buck & Shantala Shivalingappa
Credo 8.8.16 Matthew Neenan
Post Performance 8.13.16 James Whiteside
Wait 8.13.16 Lil Buck & Ron Myles


Farewell 8.5.17 Matthew Neenan
Tranquil Night, Bright and Infinite 8.7.17 Claudia Schreier
Solo for Patricia 8.7.17 Pam Tanowitz
Entr’acte 8.7.17 Pam Tanowitz
Angles of the Get-Through 8.7.17 Lauren Lovette
we seem to be more than one 8.7.17 Michelle Dorrance, Dario Natarelli & Dancers
Lamentation Variation 8.7.17 Lil Buck


Praedicere 7.29.18 Michelle Dorrance & American Ballet Theatre
They Try To Tell Us 8.4.18 Michelle Dorrance & Justin Peck
38109 8.4.18 Lil Buck with original score by Caroline Shaw
Ascending Bird 8.5.18 Lil Buck, Michelle Dorrance, Ron Myles, Naomi Funaki, Dario Natarelli & Phyouture
Papillons 8.6.18 Lauren Lovette
Lincoln Square 8.6.18 Tiler Peck
3body 8.6.18 Silas Riener + Rashaun Mitchell
Contra 8.6.18 Claudia Schreier
Ex Pluribus One 8.6.18 Michelle Dorrance
Express 8.6.18 Lil Buck with BalletX


New American Romance 7.27.19 Choreography: James Whiteside, Music: Claude Debussy
Fandango – restaged for Roman Mejia 8.2.19 Choreography: Alexei Ratmanksy, Music: Luigi Boccherini
The Personal Element 8.3.19 Choreography: Alonzo King, Music Composed by Jason Moran
Once More With Feeling 8.5.19 Choreography: Pam Tanowitz, Music: Caroline Shaw
Thousandth Orange 8.5.19 Choreography: Tiler Peck, Music: Caroline Shaw
If You’re Gonna Build A Body, Start With The Bones 8.5.19 Choreography: Lauren Lovette, Music: Kate Davis, Alexander Foote, Cameron Macintosh, Maurice Ravel
When We Know 8.5.19 Choreography: Lil Buck, Michelle Dorrance, Naomi Funaki, Catherine Hurlin, Ron Myles, Dario Natarelli, Phyouture, Cory Stearns, Devon Teuscher, James Whiteside, Music: Caroline Shaw
Mercy 8.4.20 Choreography: Bobbi Jene Smith, Music: Max Richter
A Summer Place 8.4.20 Choreography: Robbie Fairchild, Music: Max Steiner, George Gershwin, Jim Jacobs, and Warren Casey. Arranged by Kurt Crowley


A Perpendicular Expression 8.9.21 Choreography: James Whiteside, Music: Franz Liszt, arr. by Vladimir Horowitz
Until We Meet Again 8.9.21 Choreography: Lil Buck & Lauren Lovette, Music: Christina Courtin
And So 8.9.21 Choreography: Tiler Peck, Music Composed by Caroline Shaw
New to the Session 8.9.21 Choreography: Michelle Dorrance, Music: Rhiannon Giddens
For Ulysses Dove 8.9.21 Choreography: Jamar Roberts, Music: Tyshawn Sorey
Bloom 8.9.21 Choreography: Justin Peck, Music: Caroline Shaw
Standing on the Shoulders 8.9.21 Choreography: Cleo Parker Robinson, Music: Omar Thomas



In Damian Woetzel’s tenth year as Artistic Director of the Vail Dance Festival, New York’s City Center presented three programs and an UpClose performance channeling the spirit of our acclaimed summer dance event in the Rocky Mountains. The event included Sara Mearns performing Ratmansky’s Fandago, hailed by The New York Times as the dance of 2016: “And in November, the illustrious Sara Mearns danced the New York premiere of Mr. Ratmansky’s ballerina solo “Fandango” (created for Wendy Whelan in 2010 at the Vail International Dance Festival, to Boccherini music). Ms. Mearns blazed; her musicality electrified. If I had to choose one 2016 performance by one dancer, this would be the one.” — Alastair Macaulay, The New York Times. Read the review here

Herman Cornejo, Tiler Peck, Isabella Boylston, and Misa Kuranaga

(Dorrance/Toogood/Lil Buck/Fairchild)
Michelle Dorrance, Melissa Toogood, Lil Buck, and Robert Fairchild

Sara Mearns

This Bitter Earth
Isabella Boylston and Calvin Royal III, with Kate Davis (vocals)

Carla Körbes

Divertimento Brillante
Tiler Peck and Joseph Gordon

Lil Buck @ City Center: A Jookin’ Jam Session
(various composers/Lil Buck and others)
Lil Buck, Yo-Yo Ma, and other artists

Robert Fairchild, Tiler Peck, Isabella Boylston, and Devon Teuscher

Leaves are Fading
Tiler Peck and Cory Stearns

Carla Körbes

Sara Mearns

Lil Buck @ City Center: A Jookin’ Jam Session
(various composers/Lil Buck and others)
Lil Buck and other artists

Keigwin + Company

Ife / My Heart  
(Rucker/R. Brown)
Matthew Rushing

Anywhere on This Road
Fang-Yi Sheu and Ron “Prime Tyme” Myles

Suite from Mazurkas
Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild

First Fall
Wendy Whelan and Brian Brooks

Liquid Velvet
Carla Körbes and Jared Angle

This Bitter Earth
Isabella Boylston and Calvin Royal III, with Kate Davis (vocals)

(Das/Lil Buck/Woetzel)
Lil Buck and Sandeep Das

Divertissement Pas de Deux from A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Tiler Peck and Jared Angle

Switch Phase


UpClose: Footwork
In this performance event, Damian Woetzel coaches dancers and deconstruct their work onstage in front of the audience while providing musical and choreographic context. Joining Woetzel to illustrate the sophistication of footwork in a wide variety of genres are Lil Buck, Carla Espinoza, Robert Fairchild, Carla Körbes, Gabriel Missé, Tiler Peck, Matthew Rushing,Fang-Yi Sheu, and others.

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