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Vail Dance Festival Celebrates 30th Anniversary with New Commissioned Dance and Music


From July 28 - August 11, the Vail Dance Festival will celebrate its 30th year with a season of newly commissioned choreography and music, highlighting Festival debuts by acclaimed companies and dancers, who join an ever-expanding team of returning artists. In the spirit of pioneering collaborations at Vail, the season is designed to give dancers and musicians the opportunity to experiment in new forms and with new partners. This year, the Festival will feature 7 new commissions including a work by New York City Ballet Resident Choreographer Justin Peck, set to a new composition by the Festival's Leonard Bernstein Composer-In-Residence, the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw.

Renowned companies appearing for the first time at the Festival this season are American Ballet Theatre, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, and Ballet Hispánico. They are joined by returning companies Dorrance Dance, which will perform alongside Toshi Reagon and BIGLovely in The Blues Project, and Philadelphia's BalletX, which will close the Festival with a performance featuring a world premiere choreographed by Lil Buck.

The individual artists appearing in Vail this year hail from a wide range of dance and music styles and forms. Featured artists include Jared Angle, Isabella Boylston, Lil Buck, Preston Chamblee, Harrison Coll, Misty Copeland, Herman Cornejo, Patricia Delgado, Michelle Dorrance, Joseph Gordon, Francesca Hayward, Elena Heiss, Carla Körbes, Misa Kuranaga, Alban Lendorf, Lauren Lovette, Ashly Isaacs, Alicia Graf Mack, Roman Mejia, Miriam Miller, Rashaun Mitchell, Ron "Prime Tyme" Myles, Dario Natarelli, Tiler Peck, Unity Phelan, Silas Riener, Calvin Royal III, Marcelino Sambé, Cory Stearns, Melissa Toogood, and Devon Teuscher. This season's Scholar-In-Residence will be Memphis jooker Phyouture. Musicians appearing at the Festival include the resident string quartet Brooklyn Rider, Caroline Shaw, Cameron Grant, Kate Davis, Gabe Schnider, Savannah Harris, and Festival Music Director Kurt Crowley (Musical Director, Hamilton on Broadway). Additionally, the Festival will once again partner with the Breckenridge Music Festival.

New works have been a growing part of the Festival over the past decade, and 2018 brings new choreography and music forward on the NOW: Premieres program as well as on other nights throughout the Festival. This year will see new choreography debuted by Lil Buck, Michelle Dorrance, Lauren Lovette, Justin Peck, Tiler Peck, Silas Riener and Rashaun Mitchell, and Claudia Schreier. The Festival will also feature newly commissioned music for two of the dances by composers Caroline Shaw and Gabriela Lena Frank.

Vail Dance Festival opens exclusive Fan Club Pre-Sale Ticketing to its Fan Club members on February 13, and general ticket sales open to the public on February 20.

Vail Dance Festival 2018

Opening Night
Saturday, July 28, at 7:30pm Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail
Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the Vail Dance Festival presents a mixed-bill evening previewing the 2018 season, featuring Festival artists along with appearances by Alonzo King LINES Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre performing the Vail premiere of Souvenir d'un lieu cher choreographed by Alexei Ratmansky, "One of the 21st century's greatest choreographers..." - The New York Times
American Ballet Theatre
Sunday, July 29, at 7:30pm Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail
Since 1940, American Ballet Theatre has created a tradition of passion, innovation, and athleticism that transcends cultural boundaries and touches the soul of ballet lovers old and new. In its Festival debut, the company will present an evening of mixed repertory, including the Vail premiere of Alexei Ratmansky's Serenade after Plato's Symposium, hailed as the choreographer's "...most authoritatively original creation" (The New York Times). Set to a score by Leonard Bernstein, live musical accompaniment will be provided by the Breckenridge Music Festival Orchestra. The program will also feature Jerome Robbins' Other Dances with guest artist New York City Ballet principal dancer Tiler Peck.

Alonzo King LINES Ballet
Tuesday, July 31, at 7:30pm Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail
Alonzo King LINES Ballet is a contemporary ballet company led by Alonzo King, " of the few bona fide visionaries in the ballet world today..." - San Francisco Chronicle. Known for collaboration and creation of works that draw on diverse cultural traditions, LINES imbues classical ballet with new expressive potential. For its Festival debut, LINES will perform two acclaimed Alonzo King ballets: Biophony and SAND.
UpClose: Vail Premieres
Wednesday, August 1, at 6:30pm Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek
Festival Artistic Director Damian Woetzel presents an all-star cast in a rehearsal-style performance, featuring new works at the 2018 Festival, specifically focusing on the relationship of dance and music. This UpClose will highlight the Festival's Leonard Bernstein Composer-In-Residence, the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw, and the world premiere to her work, choreographed by Justin Peck in his first Festival commission.

International Evenings of Dance I & II
Friday, August 3 & Saturday, August 4, at 7:30pm Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail
A brilliant cast of dancers from around the world takes the stage in these signature Festival performances. These two unique gala evenings of innovation and artistic collaboration include debuts and new partnerships by a selection of today's foremost dancers. "Where Dancers Shine Beyond Their Usual Specialties" -The New York Times

NOW: Premieres
Monday, August 6, at 7:30pm Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail
NOW: Premieres presents a collection of new works commissioned by the Festival from some of today's most renowned and emerging choreographers and performed by artists from ballet, modern, and contemporary dance. The 2018 choreographers will include: New York City Ballet Resident Choreographer Justin Peck in collaboration with the Festival's Pulitzer Prize-winning Leonard Bernstein Composer-In-Residence Caroline Shaw; New York City Ballet principal Lauren Lovette; MacArthur 'genius' grant recipient and founder of pioneering tap company Dorrance Dance, Michelle Dorrance; emerging ballet choreographer Claudia Schreier, who will be working with dancers from Ballet Hispánico; modern dancers and choreographers Silas Riener and Rashaun Mitchell; and New York City Ballet principal Tiler Peck, who will be making her choreographic debut. Live music for NOW: Premieres will be performed by musicians including Kate Davis, Cameron Grant, Kurt Crowley, and string quartet Brooklyn Rider, who will premiere a new Festival commission by acclaimed composer Gabriela Lena Frank as the score for one of the new dance works.

Dance for $20.18
Tuesday, August 7, at 7:30pm Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail
A mixed-bill evening for everyone with guest artists from the 2018 Vail Dance Festival. Specially priced $20.18 reserved seating and $10.18 lawn tickets go on sale Monday, June 18. Join the Festival Fan Club for early access to all Festival tickets including Dance for $20.18!

Ballet Hispánico
Thursday, August 9, at 6:30pm Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek
Ballet Hispánico, the premiere Latino dance organization in the United States, is breaking through stereotypes by inspiring audiences with repertory that explores the diversity of Latino cultures. Founded by National Medal of Arts recipient Tina Ramirez, the company is led by acclaimed choreographer Eduardo Vilaro. The evening's program includes Línea Recta, and CARMEN.maquia, which was recently featured on PBS's Lincoln Center at the Movies as an exhilarating contemporary take on Bizet's beloved composition.

The Blues Project
Friday, August 10 at 7:30pm Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail
Created by Michelle Dorrance, Derick K. Grant, Toshi Reagon and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards. Featuring Dorrance Dance with Toshi Reagon and BIGLovely.
Dorrance Dance returns to the Festival with their collaborative work, The Blues Project. Bringing together Dorrance's tap company with blues composer Toshi Reagon and her band BIGLovely, The Blues Project is a spectacular evening of original live music and explosive tap that The New Yorker calls, " and exciting."

Closing Night Celebration with BalletX
Saturday, August 11, at 7:30pm Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail
Festival 2018 closes with Vail favorite BalletX, in a program of works never before seen in Vail. The evening features a world premiere by Memphis Jookin' star Lil Buck, and the performance will be followed by an onstage dance party, bringing the Festival to a rousing conclusion celebrating dance for all.

About the 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, now in its 30th year, has become renowned for its artistic excellence, unique programming, commissioned works, and one-of-a-kind artistic collaborations. More than twenty thousand people from around the world descend each summer on Vail, a vibrant cultural destination, for the Festival's two-week residency. 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. The Vail Valley Foundation's work is made possible by generous individuals and support from Cornerstone Partners GMC, EverBank, and Vail Resorts. For more information, visit

About the Vail Valley Foundation
The Vail Valley Foundation is a nonprofit with the mission to enhance and sustain the quality of life in the Vail Valley by providing leadership in arts, education and athletics. The organization is known for its work in education with YouthPower365, which provides programming to more than 4,200 local children with early childhood, K-12, and scholarship programs. The Vail Valley Foundation also provides the Vail Valley with several of its most treasured annual events, such as the GoPro Mountain Games, the EverBank America's Winter Opening, the Birds of Prey FIS World Cup races, the Colorado Classic cycling race, the Vail Dance Festival and the Whistle Pig Vail concert series. The Vail Valley Foundation was the organizing body for the Alpine World Ski Championships in Vail and Beaver Creek in 1989, 1999, and 2015. It also manages and operates the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek Village and the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail, providing more than 100 concert, Broadway, dance, and family events per year.

Vail Valley Foundation activities and events are made possible by cornerstone sponsors GMC, EverBank, and Vail Resorts. Visit to learn more.

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