“Where Dancers Shine Beyond Their Usual Specialties” –The New York Times
Damian Woetzel has been the artistic director of the Vail Dance Festival since 2006, annually bringing together a wide range of dancers and musicians. Under Woetzel’s leadership, the Festival has grown dramatically and gained an international reputation as a dynamic hub of new collaborations and commissions. In addition to his work as the director of the Vail Dance Festival, Woetzel has taken on multiple roles in arts leadership since retiring in 2008 from a 20-year career as a principal dancer with New York City Ballet and as a dancer on the international stage. From 2011-2018, During his distinguished dance career, he was lauded for performances in a range of roles created by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, and he had works choreographed for him by Robbins, Eliot Feld, Susan Stroman, Twyla Tharp, and Christopher Wheeldon among others.
As an independent director, choreographer, and producer, Woetzel’s recent projects include DEMO, an interdisciplinary series at the Kennedy Center; Spaces by Wynton Marsalis for Jazz at Lincoln Center; Lil Buck @ Le Poisson Rouge, featuring Lil Buck, Yo-Yo Ma and an array of other stellar musicians; televised Kennedy Center Honors tributes to Natalia Makarova (2012), Patricia McBride (2014), and Carmen de Lavallade (2017); an arts salute to Stephen Hawking for the World Science Festival; two Turnaround Arts performances at the White House; and the first performance of the White House Dance Series, which was hosted by Michelle Obama.
Woetzel has collaborated on numerous initiatives with Yo-Yo Ma, including the Silk Road Connect program in the New York City public schools and Arts Strike, a pioneering format for artists to engage in public service. In 2009, Woetzel became the founding director of the Jerome Robbins Foundation’s New Essential Works (NEW) Program, a five-year program that initiated grants to enable the production of 35 new dance works. In 2009, President Obama appointed Woetzel to the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities; he served until 2017 and worked on creating the Turnaround Arts Program, which brings arts education to challenged school districts across the country. From 2011-2018, Woetzel served as the Director of the Aspen Institute Arts Program, which aims to further the value of the arts in society through programming and collaborative initiatives.
Woetzel holds a Master in Public Administration degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and has been a visiting lecturer at Harvard Law School. He received the Harvard Arts Medal in 2015, and in spring of 2018 was announced as a new member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. On July 1, 2018, Damian Woetzel became the seventh president of The Juilliard School.
Lauren Lovette was born in Thousand Oaks, California and began studying ballet at the age of 11 at the Cary Ballet Conservatory in Cary, North Carolina. She attended summer courses at the School of American Ballet, the official school of New York City Ballet, during the summers of 2004 and 2005 and enrolled at SAB as a full time student in 2006. In October 2009, Ms. Lovette became an apprentice with NYCB and joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in September 2010. She was promoted to soloist in February 2013 and to principal dancer in June 2015. Lovette recently began choreographing dance and has had her works featured on stage with critical acclaim.
Meet the Performers
Jared Angle was born in Altoona, Pennsylvania where he began his early dance training at age six at the Allegheny Ballet Academy. He entered the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet, in the fall of 1996. In 1997, Mr. Angle received the Rudolf Nureyev Scholarship to continue his training at SAB for the 1997-1998 school year. Mr. Angle became an apprentice with New York City Ballet in March 1998 and joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in July 1998. He was promoted to the rank of soloist in February 2001. On November 11, 2005, Mr. Angle was promoted to principal dancer following a performance during a Company visit to Denmark for the reopening of the Tivoli Concert Hall.
Isabella Boylston was trained at the Academy of Colorado Ballet and the Harid Conservatory in Florida. She Joined American Ballet Theatre as an apprentice in 2006 and was promoted to Principal Dancer in 2014. She has also appeared as a guest star with the Mariinsky, The Royal Danish Ballet, and the National Ballet of China. Isabella was featured as the Artist-In-Residence for the 2016 Vail Dance Festival.
Leader of the dance style known as Jookin, which originated in Memphis, TN, Lil Buck gained mass acclaim for his YouTube collaboration with Yo-Yo Ma in The Swan directed by Damian Woetzel. Lil Buck appeared with Madonna in her 2012 Super Bowl XLVI Halftime Show and he now performs with Madonna regularly. He made a guest appearance on The Colbert Report in 2013, and in 2017, Buck was featured in two nationally-televised commercials, one for Lexus (during Super Bowl LI) and the acclaimed Apple AirPods spot, which has since received millions more views on YouTube.
Michelle Dorrance is a New York based tap dancer, performer, choreographer, teacher and director. A 2015 MacArthur Fellow, 2014 Alpert Award winner, 2013 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award winner, 2012 Princess Grace Award Winner, and both a 2015 and 2011 Bessie Award Winner, Michelle is the Founder and Artistic Director of Dorrance Dance. She is “one of the most imaginative tap choreographers working today” (The New Yorker). She was the Festival’s Artist-In-Residence in 2017.
Joseph Gordon has trained at the Phoenix Dance Academy and the School of American Ballet in New York. He has been a member of New York City Ballet corps de ballet since 2012. In February 2017, Mr. Gordon was promoted to soloist.
Carla Körbes was born in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and began her ballet training at age five. In 1996 Korbes moved to New York to study at the School of American Ballet and in 1999, was the Mae. L. Wien Award recipient and became an apprentice with New York City Ballet. She was promoted to Soloist in 2005 and later that year joined Pacific Northwest Ballet as a soloist. Körbes was promoted to Principal Dancer in 2006. She was the Festival’s 2015 Artist-In-Residence. June 7, 2015 marked Korbes’ last performance with PNB. Photo: Patrick Fraser
Roman Julian Mejia was born in Fort Worth, Texas. Studied ballet with his parents, Paul Mejia and Maria Terezia Balogh. At the age of fifteen, he entered the School of American Ballet. Now, at the age of seventeen, Roman starts his apprenticeship with New York City Ballet. Mejia made his Festival debut in the summer of 2017.
Ron “Prime Tyme” Myles
Bessie-Award winner, Ron “Prime Tyme” Myles was born in Memphis, TN and specializes in Jookin, a type of freestyle dance developed on the streets of Memphis. Ron has appeared in the feature films Footloose (2011), Frank and Cindy (2014) and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Road Chip (2015). Ron has also starred in several commercials including Beats by Dre, Diet Pepsi (with Sofia Vergara), Kohl’s and Adidas Originals.
Born in Vail, Dario Natarelli began his dance training at the age of four and he began intensive training in tap at the age of seven with the Colorado Chapter of the St. Louis Hoofers Club. Soon after, he moved to New York. He was awarded a full scholarship to The School at Jacob’s Pillow in 2014 and was named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts Candidate through YoungArts in 2016. Most recently, he made his off-Broadway debut in Tappin’ Thru Life. Dario graduated LaGuardia Arts High School in New York City as a Drama major and now attends Penn State University as a Musical Theater major. Natarelli was the Festival’s 2016 Scholar-In-Residence.
Tiler Peck began her dance training at the age of seven, studying privately with former Bolshoi Ballet principal dancer Alla Khaniashvili. At the age of 12, she entered the School of American Ballet, the official school of New York City Ballet. In February 2005 she joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet. She was promoted to Soloist in December 2006, and principal dancer in October 2009. She is the currently the spokesperson for Body Wrappers and was named to the 2014 Forbes 30 under 30. Peck was the Festival’s 2014 Artist-In-Residence and just celebrated her 10th year in Vail during the summer of 2017.
Unity Phelan began her dance training at the age of five at the Princeton Ballet School. During the summers of 2008 and 2009, Phelan attended the summer sessions at the School of American Ballet, the official school of New York City Ballet, and enrolled as a full-time student in fall of 2009. She became an apprentice with NYCB in December 2012 and joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in November 2013. In February 2017, Ms. Phelan was promoted to soloist.
Calvin Royal III
Calvin Royal III began his formal dance training at the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg, Florida at the age 14. He joined the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre in September 2006. Royal joined ABT II (now the ABT Studio Company) as an apprentice in October 2010 and the corps de ballet in April 2011. In the spring of 2017 Calvin was promoted to a soloist with American Ballet Theatre.
Born in Pennsylvania, Devon Teuscher began her dance training at the Champaign Urbana Ballet Academy and continued her training at the Vermont Ballet Theatre School. From 2002 to 2006 Teuscher attended American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive, and was a National Training Scholar from 2003 to 2006. In 2005, Teuscher relocated to New York to dance at American Ballet Theatre’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School on full scholarship. Teuscher joined the Studio Company in 2006. She joined American Ballet Theatre as an apprentice in December 2007 and the corps de ballet in June 2008. Teuscher became a Soloist in August 2014 and was promoted to Principal in July 2017.
Melissa Toogood was a member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company; has taught Cunningham Technique since 2007 and is a 2013 & 2015 Merce Cunningham Fellow. She began working with Rashaun & Silas in 2010 and Pam Tanowitz in 2006. She has performed with Stephen Petronio Company, Sally Silvers, Rosie Herrera, Kyle Abraham and others. Dance Magazine named her in their 25 to watch in 2014.
James Whiteside was born in Fairfield, Connecticut. He trained at the D’Valda & Sirico Dance and Music Center, as well as the Virginia School for the Arts. He joined Boston Ballet in 2002, and was promoted to Principal Dancer in 2009. Whiteside joined American Ballet Theatre as a Soloist in 2012, and was named Principal Dancer in 2013.
Cameron Grant joined the New York City Ballet in 1984, became a Solo Pianist there 2 years later, and was appointed pianist of the NYCB Orchestra in 1998. He has performed all the major piano ballets of the company such as the Goldberg Variations and Dances at a Gathering of Jerome Robbins, Davidsbundlertanze of George Balanchine, and Waltz Project of Peter Martins as well as virtually all the piano concerti of the repertory including those of Tchaikovsky, Ravel, Hindemith, Beethoven, Stravinsky, Prokofiev and Shostakovich. Mr. Grant has been the soloist in premieres of ballets by Richard Tanner, Robert La Fosse and Christopher Wheeldon, and toured as a featured performer with the company on trips to Paris, Edinburgh, Athens, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Italy, Russia and Denmark. In 2004, he appeared in the Emmy Award-winning _ Live from Lincoln Center_ broadcast of New York City Ballet, as well as being invited (along with 3 other members of NYCB), to perform at the Kennedy Center Honors before the President.
Memphis jooker Phyouture “Lil P” (Altavien Hart) made his Festival debut in 2016 with fellow jookers, Lil Buck, Ron “Prime Tyme” Myles and Keviorr “Tip Toe” Taylor in Dancing in the Streets and on the Dance for $20.16 program in the world premiere of WAIT.
Phyouture “Lil P” (pron. Future) was our 2018 Scholar-In-Residence.
Herman Cornejo was born in Villa Mercedes, San Luis province, Argentina, and began his ballet studies at the age of eight at Teatro Colón’s Instituto Superior de Arte, Buenos Aires. At fourteen he received a scholarship from the School of American Ballet, the dance school of New York City Ballet and on his return to Buenos Aires he joined Julio Bocca’s Ballet Argentino. In 1999 Herman joined American Ballet Theatre, New York, was promoted to Soloist in 2000 and was appointed Principal Dancer in 2003. Herman has participated in numerous galas and has performed as Principal Guest Dancer with Ballet del Teatro Argentino de La Plata, Boston Ballet, Compañía de Danza Contemporánea de Cuba, Corella Ballet Castilla y León, New York City Ballet and Sapporo Ballet.
Cory Stearns was born on Long Island, New York and began his classical training at Seiskaya Ballet with Mme. Valia Seiskaya. At fifteen, he participated in the Youth America Grand Prix and was offered a full scholarship to the Royal Ballet School in London. During his training there, he performed in Madrid, Moscow, Milan and Germany. Upon graduating from the Royal Ballet School with honors, he received, for the second year, the Dame Ruth Railton Award for excellence in dance. Mr. Stearns joined American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company (now ABT II) in September 2004, the main Company as an apprentice in January 2005 and as a member of the corps de ballet in January 2006. He was appointed a Soloist in January 2009 and a Principal Dancer in January 2011. Mr. Stearns won the 2009 Erik Bruhn Prize for best male dancer.
Miriam Miller is a member of New York City Ballet’s corps de ballet. She was born in Iowa City, Iowa, and began her dance training in 2001 at University of Iowa Youth Ballet and School of Dance under the direction of Kathryn Smith. In 2006, she began studying with Sarah Barragan at City Ballet of Iowa. She attended summer courses at the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet, in 2011 and 2012, enrolling as a full-time student during the 2012 winter term. Ms. Miller became an apprentice with NYCB in January 2015. While still an apprentice with NYCB, Miller performed the role of Titania in George Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as featured roles in Balanchine’s Harlequinade (Le Bonne Fée) and Peter Martins’ Swan Lake (Princess). She joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in January 2016.
Preston Chamblee is a member of New York City Ballet’s corps de ballet. He was born in Wendell, North Carolina and began his dance training at the age of 14 at the Raleigh School of Ballet under Mary Legere and Pablo Perez. He continued his training at the International Ballet Academy in Apex, North Carolina from 2010 to 2013. Mr. Chamblee studied at the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet, during the 2012 and 2013 summer courses, and enrolled as a full-time student in 2013. He was named an apprentice with NYCB in August 2014 and joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in February 2015.
Adji Cissoko grew up in Munich, Germany where she trained at Ballet Academy Munich. Cissoko attended the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre in New York City on full scholarship, before joining the National Ballet of Canada in 2010. In 2012 she was awarded the Patron Award of Merit by the Patrons’ Council Committee of The National Ballet of Canada. Cissoko joined LINES Ballet in 2014.
Madeline DeVries grew up in Southern California studying at the Santa Clarita Ballet Academy. She continued her training at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School and PNBS Professional Division program on full scholarship, spending summers with the Houston Ballet, The Rock School, PNB, and National Ballet of Canada. DeVries apprenticed with the Semperoper Ballet in Dresden, Germany in 2012, and in 2013 she danced with the Seattle based contemporary companies Whim W’Him and Coriolis. DeVries joined LINES Ballet in 2014.
Shuaib Elshassan from Manhattan’s Lower East Side, began his formal dance training at The Ailey School under the co-direction of Tracy Inman and Melanie Person on a full scholarship. Elhassan has also trained at intensives such as Earl Mosley’s Institute of the Arts, Jacob’s Pillow, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Elhassan was a member of Complexions Contemporary Ballet during their 2012- 2013 season. Additionally, Elhassan has performed with Life Dance Company, Zest Collective, Dance Iquail, and the Von Howard Project. Elhassan joined LINES Ballet in 2014.
Michael Montgomery of Long Beach, CA, trained at the Orange County High School of the Arts and studied at the Alvin Ailey School in the Certificate program. In 2011 he graduated from the Alonzo King LINES Ballet BFA Program at Dominican University of California. Montgomery was awarded the American College Dance Festival Association’s best student performer award for the Southwest Region in 2008. In 2010, he joined LINES Ballet and was named a Shenson Performing Arts Fellow that same year. Montgomery was named to the list of “25 to Watch” by Dance Magazine in 2013.
India Bradley, a native of Detroit, Michigan, began her dance training at the Link School of the Arts in Troy, MI learning ballet through the Cecchetti technique and other methods of dance, with teachers like Lauren Anderson, Caleb Mitchell & Steve Rooks. She continued training in the Vaganova method at The Academy of Russian Classical Ballet under Sergey Rayevskiy. India discovered her passion for the Balanchine aesthetic at Dance Theatre of Harlem where she trained under former New York City Ballet dancer Andrea Long-Naidu. India has recently completed training at the School of American Ballet under the direction of Kay Mazzo and was invited to begin her Apprenticeship with New York City Ballet August 2017.
Jon Boogz is a movement artist, choreographer, and director whose edgy contemporary work seeks to push the evolution of what dance can be. Sharing with audiences of all backgrounds an appreciation of the melding of movement genres while inspiring and bringing awareness to social issues.
Hope Boykin (Durham, NC) is a three-time recipient of the American Dance Festival’s Young Tuition Scholarship. She attended Howard University and, while in Washington, D.C. she performed with Lloyd Whitmore’s New World Dance Company. Ms. Boykin was a student and intern at The Ailey School. She was assistant to the late Talley Beatty and an original member of Complexions. Ms. Boykin was a member of Philadanco and received a New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) Award.
Jacqueline Green began her dance training at the age of 13 at the prestigious Baltimore School for the Arts. After being accepted into the Ailey/Fordham BFA Program by Denise Jefferson, she graduated Cum Laude in 2011. In her career, she has performed works by a wide range of choreographers, including Wayne McGregor, Jirí Kylián, Elisa Monte, Ronald K. Brown, and Kyle Abraham. Ms. Green is the recipient of a 2014 Dance Fellowship from the Princess Grace Foundation-USA and a 2015 Clive Barnes Award nominee. She is also the recipient of the 2009 Martha Hill Fund’s Young Professional Award and the 2010 Dizzy Feet Foundation Scholarship. She was a member of Ailey II and joined the Company in 2011.
Kennard Henson was born in Baltimore, Maryland and began his ballet training at the T.W.I.G.S. after-school program at the Baltimore School of the Arts at age 11 with Samantha Ordaz, Paula LeVere, and Norma Pera. He attended the summer course at the School of American Ballet, NYCB’s official school, in 2013 and enrolled full-time for the 2013 winter term. In August 2016, he became an apprentice with NYCB. As an apprentice, Mr. Henson originated a corps role in Lauren Lovette’s For Clara. He joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in August 2017.
Born in New York City, Catherine Hurlin began her dance training at Scarsdale Ballet Studio and Westchester Dance Academy. At the 2007 Youth American Grand Prix New York City Finals she was awarded the Hope Award. The following year she received a full scholarship to the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre under the direction of Franco De Vita. She was awarded the first Angelina Ballerina Stars of Tomorrow Scholarship in 2010 and was a Northern Trust Scholar in 2011. She attended ABT’s Summer Intensive as a National Training Scholar in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Hurlin joined ABT as an apprentice in December 2013 and the corps de ballet in June 2014. She was promoted to Soloist in September 2018. Hurlin was the recipient of a 2018 Princess Grace Award.
Born in Moscow, Maria Kochetkova trained at the Bolshoi Ballet School for eight years before dancing with The Royal Ballet and English National Ballet in London. She joined the San Francisco Ballet as a Principal Dancer in 2007 and has performed as a guest artist with the Bolshoi and Stanislavsky Theaters in Moscow, the Mariinsky and Mikhailovsky Theaters in St. Petersburg, ABT in New York, Rome Opera and the Tokyo Ballet. Kochetkova’s prizes and awards include the Isadora Duncan Award for the role of Giselle and medals at the International Ballet Competitions in Seoul (Gold, 2005), Rome (Gold, 2005), Riety (Gold, 2005), Luxembourg (Gold, 2003), Varna (Silver and the Press Jury Prize, 2002), Moscow (Bronze, 2001). She is also a winner of the Prix de Lausanne (2002) and was nominated for the best dancer award in the Benois de la Dance (2013) and National Dance Awards (2014).
Born in Montana, USA, Julian MacKay trained at the Moscow State Ballet Academy for 6 years. In 2015, he graduated top of his class earning a full Russian diploma. In his graduating year, he performed Siegfried in the full-length Swan Lake with Russian State Ballet on tour in Germany. He won the Prix de Lausanne’2015 and became a Royal Ballet apprentice (2015–2016). In 2016, he joined the Mikhailovsky Ballet Company.
Born in Bucharest, Alina Cojocaru trained in Kiev for seven years before joining the Royal Ballet School in 1997. Upon completion of her training, six month later, she returned to Kiev, to join the company as a principal dancer. A year later she joined the Royal Ballet Company (November 1999) and at the end of the season she was promoted to Soloist. On April 17th, 2001, Sir Anthony Dowell promoted Alina to the rank of principal dancer after her performance of Giselle. Alina joined the English National Ballet in September 2013, as a Leading Principal Dancer. While a member of ENB she continues to perform as a guest artist with companies worldwide, and is a regular guest with the Hamburg Ballet and American Ballet Theatre.
Christopher Grant was born in Jamaica, Queens. He began his dance training at the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet, in 2002. Additional training includes summer courses at Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) and the New York State Summer School of the Arts. In August 2015, he became an apprentice with NYCB. As an apprentice with the Company, Mr. Grant originated a featured role in Nicolas Blanc’s Mothership. He joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in August 2016.
Naomi Funaki is a tap dancer from Tokyo Japan, currently living in New York as an IISP student of Steps on Broadway. She has performed with Caleb Teicher & Company as well as Dorrance Dance’s second company. She has danced at the first “Tap Family Reunion”, Vail Dance Festival , Fall For Dance (New York City Center), Works & Process (Guggenheim), Tokyo International Tap Dance Festival, and is an alumna of The School at Jacob’s Pillow’s tap dance program.