Vail Dance Festival announces 2024 season

Vail, Colo., Feb. 21, 2024 — The Vail Dance Festival, a project of the nonprofit Vail Valley Foundation, officially announced plans for its 36th season scheduled to take place from July 26 – Aug. 5, 2024. Under the artistic direction of Damian Woetzel, the 2024 summer season will bring together renowned and emerging dancers, musicians, composers, and choreographers for 13 performances and numerous events throughout Vail and the surrounding communities.

This year’s Festival includes…


2024: Sara Mearns and Jamar Roberts to Be Resident Artists at Vail

Fans of the intrepid New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns and of the distinguished choreographer Jamar Roberts might want to mark their calendars. This year, they will be artists in residence at the Vail Dance Festival. Both will teach master classes and participate in community events, and Mearns will perform in a range of works, including debuts in George Balanchine’s “Elegie” and a new piece by Roberts.

The festival, July 26 to Aug. 5 in Vail, Colo., …


2023 Vail Dance Festival’s Season to Feature New Work by 10 Choreographers

New work has always been an important element of the Vail Dance Festival: Since becoming artistic director in 2007, Damian Woetzel has commissioned over 100 pieces. This year, 10 choreographers and four composers will create new works for an eclectic assortment of performers. They include the American Ballet Theater principals Calvin Royal III, Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside; the jookin star Lil Buck; the New York City Ballet principals Sara Mearns, Tiler Peck and Roman Mejia; the contemporary dancer Melissa Toogood; and the former City Ballet principals Lauren Lovette and Robbie Fairchild.


Announcing: Adji Cissoko will be 2023 Artist-In-Residence. Martha Graham Dance Company, L.A. Dance Project and many more set to perform

Vail, Colo., Mar. 15, 2023 — The 35th annual Vail Dance Festival, a project of the nonprofit Vail Valley Foundation, officially announced plans for it’s upcoming summer season scheduled to take place from July 28 – Aug. 7, 2023, in the heart of the Colorado Rockies. Ten world-premiere dance works will be commissioned along with four new music compositions.  Acclaimed dancer of Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, Adji Cissoko, will be this year’s Artist-In-Residence.



2022 Vail Dance Festival welcomes Limón Dance Company, New York City Ballet MOVES, Ephrat Asherie Dance, and DanceAspen

Vail, Colo., Mar. 24, 2022 — The Vail Dance Festival, a project of the nonprofit Vail Valley Foundation, officially announced plans for its 34th season scheduled to take place from July 29 – Aug. 9, 2022, in the heart of the Colorado Rockies. Under the artistic direction of Damian Woetzel, the 2022 summer season brings together world-renowned dancers, musicians, composers, and choreographers for twelve performances and over 55 Festival Events throughout Vail and the surrounding communities. The season will also commemorate the milestone 100th Vail Dance Festival world premiere dance commission under Artistic Director Damian Woetzel’s leadership.



Announcing Caili Quan and Roman Mejia as 2022 Artists-in-Residence

Vail, Colo., March 2, 2022 — The 33rd annual Vail Dance Festival, scheduled to take place July 29 through August 9, 2022, will welcome dancer and choreographer Caili Quan and dancer Roman Mejia as the season’s Artists-in-Residence. Mejia, a face familiar to Vail audiences since making his debut at the Festival in 2017, was recently promoted to soloist at the New York City Ballet in October 2021. Joining Mejia in this recognition will be New York based dancer and choreographer Caili Quan, a former leading dancer of BalletX. Among other new work each artist will undertake, Quan will create a new dance for Mejia, which will make its world premiere as a featured part of the Festival’s 2022 programming.



Vail Dance Festival artists reunite in New York at Fall for Dance Festival

Avon, Colo., Oct. 19, 2021Lil Buck, Tiler Peck, Roman Mejia, Herman Cornejo and more familiar faces from summers in Vail take the stage of New York City Center at the acclaimed Fall for Dance Festival in three Vail Dance Festival commissioned works. The New York dance festival, which began last week and continues through Oct. 24, launched the post-lockdown re-opening of City Center for live performances in five unique programs—each featuring three different groups of artists and companies.


Vail Dance Festival Retakes The Stage Among The Mountains

“As we get ready to launch into season 2021, we’re going to have a big backlog of information and excitement to actually get back on stage, to do some things that are really about reunion, about that idea that we are back together and taking full advantage of that,” – Damian Woetzel, Artistic Director

2021 Festival Fringe Events on Sale Now

Avon, Colo., Jun. 16, 2021 — The Vail Dance Festival’s public Fringe Events tickets are on sale now, rounding out the full schedule of dynamic and interactive programming for the 32nd season July 30 – Aug. 9, 2021In addition to world-class dance performances returning to the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, the 2021 Festival is set to feature a Master Class SeriesConversations on Dance Festival Forumsfree Dancing in the Street performances, and much more. Under the artistic direction of Damian Woetzel, the 2021 Festival returns to continue the tradition of creating innovative opportunities for artists and audiences across nine performances and numerous Fringe Events. 


Vail Dance Festival Returns In-Person for the 2021 Season July 30 – Aug. 9

Avon, Colo., Mar. 31, 2021 — The Vail Dance Festival today officially announced plans to return in-person for its 32nd season July 30 – Aug. 9, 2021. Under the artistic direction of Damian Woetzel, the 2021 summer season continues the Festival tradition of creating innovative opportunities for artists and audiences as it brings together dancers, musicians, composers, and choreographers for nine performances and numerous public events.


Vail Dance Festival cancels in-person performances for 2020, plans to go digital during Festival window

Vail, Colo., May 14, 2020 — The Vail Valley Foundation today announced that the Vail Dance Festival will cancel all in-person performances for the 2020 season, a decision made in the interest of the safety and well-being of artists, staff and audiences due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Festival plans to present a digital festival of unique performances from past seasons during the intended time of the 2020 Festival, and preparations are under way for the return of live performances starting with opening night on July 30, 2021.


Announcing Vail Dance Festival: Digital Edition

VAIL, Colo., July 7, 2020 –The Vail Valley Foundation’s Vail Dance Festival will present an all-digital edition of the Festival July 31 – August 7. This special online series of events will feature unique performances from the past 10 years including debuts and revivals that have only been seen in Vail, a world premiere choreographed by Bobbi Jene Smith made in, and for, the virtual space, plus a range of educational programming including Passing Balanchine On  with Heather Watts and Damian Woetzel, and Conversations On Dance with Rebecca King Ferraro and Michael Sean Breeden. The Festival will be available for a limited time on the Vail Dance Festival’s YouTube and Facebook channels. Visit for more information.


At Vail Dance Festival, a Season of Premieres and Ballet Stars

Calvin Royal III, the American Ballet Theater soloist who has had star turns in classics like Balanchine’s “Apollo,” will be the artist in residence at this year’s Vail Dance Festival, which was announced on Tuesday.

“It’s a leadership role of a sort,” Damian Woetzel, the festival’s artistic director, said in an interview. “Being an artist in residence is more than simply what you see on the stage. It’s got elements that I’m excited about for Calvin as an artist and as a leader.”

For Dancers, the Not-So-Lazy Days of Summer

For the last few years, the American Ballet Theater soloist Calvin Royal III, 30, has been on the cusp of stardom. Some of his most interesting challenges have actually come during the summers, in three stints at the Vail Dance Festival. This summer, he got his first stab at one of the most desirable roles of all: the lead in George Balanchine’s “Apollo,” a ballet about a young god in training, testing his powers. At Vail, he danced with Unity Phelan, a New York City Ballet soloist.

Alonzo King and Jason Moran Create a Dialogue of Movement and Music

When the Vail International Dance Festival proposed to Alonzo King that he choreograph a new work featuring four members of his San Francisco company, Lines Ballet, and four from New York City Ballet, he knew just what he needed: a partner. For Mr. King, that had to be the jazz pianist Jason Moran. This summer, as part of the Vail festival, which opens on July 26, the pair will present the premiere of their latest collaboration. So far, it doesn’t have a title.

Review: At Vail, Female Choreographers Feed the Mighty River of Dance

“Is the sociology of the dance world changing? The last two years have brought many more commissions for female choreographers.

English National Ballet made a splash in 2016 with an entire program of new choreography by women. And this year’s “NOW: Premieres” program at the Vail Dance Festival here was subtitled ‘Celebrating Women Choreographers.’ Does this sound like mere tokenism? It’s worth pointing out that all four of these female dance-makers — Michelle Dorrance (this year’s artist in residence), Lauren Lovette, Claudia Schreier and Pam Tanowitz — have worked at the festival before.”…

Where Dancers Shine Beyond Their Usual Specialties

“Since the two galalike signature events of the annual Vail Dance Festival were star-studded, it’s tempting to survey them just by dropping names. After all, on Friday here, Misty Copeland (never more mettlesome) and Marcelo Gomes (richly smoldering) danced Twyla Tharp’s “Sinatra Suite,” followed by Misa Kuranaga (lightly brilliant) and Herman Cornejo (panache itself) in the war horse “Don Quixote” pas de deux.

Saturday’s program ended with Tiler Peck dancing George Balanchine’s “Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux” with Jeffrey Cirio. Dazzling and charming artists both, they reached fresh peaks here; Ms. Peck (of New York City Ballet), in particular, has reached new zones of subtle artistry and breathtaking speed.”…

An All-Star Dance Gala Takes Risks and Soars

“The lineup was certainly dazzling: stars from City Ballet and American Ballet Theater but also some of the world’s greatest exponents of other forms, from modern (Matthew Rushing) to tango (Gabriel Missé) to kuchipudi (Shantala Shivalingappa) to Memphis jookin (Lil Buck). Yet what made the programs special was Mr. Woetzel’s way of balancing the surefire and crowd-pleasing with novelty and risk.”

Review: Hot Feet and Cool Bodies at Vail

“The path to the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater here in this Rocky Mountain resort town primes the ear with sounds of nature. But on Tuesday, it was the sound of shoes on wooden platforms that kept the audience rapt for nearly three-quarters of an hour.”

Vail Dance ReMix NYC – Review: From Balanchine to Jookin, a Sampler of Summer Souvenirs

“Damian Woetzel, impressively ambitious, has been making dance history for 10 years in Vail, Colo. As artistic director of the two-week Vail International Dance Festival, he assembles each August a top-class gathering of performers in multiple genres. No single program is performed twice. World premieres by front-rank choreographers (notably Alexei Ratmansky and Christopher Wheeldon) occur. So do unexpected partnerships between dancers from different companies and far-apart disciplines.”

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