From July 26 – Aug. 10, the Vail Dance Festival presents its 31st season, featuring world premieres and commissions, new collaborations and partnerships, and debuts by artists and companies. Under the artistic direction of Damian Woetzel, the 2019 summer season continues in the Festival’s tradition of creating innovative opportunities for artists and audiences, as it brings together more than 150 dancers, musicians, composers, and choreographers for 11 performances, and numerous public events celebrating dance and music.
Highlights for 2019 include New York City Ballet principal dancer Lauren Lovette as Festival Artist-in-Residence, which will see her taking on new roles as a dancer, choreographing a new ballet for the NOW: Premieres performance, and starring in a new work choreographed by Hope Boykin to the music of the Festival’sLeonard Bernstein Composer-in-Residence Caroline Shaw. As Artist-in-Residence, Lovette will also teach master classes, and participate in community activities taking place during the Festival.
As Festival Director since 2007, Woetzel has emphasized the commissioning of new work from a wide range of creative voices in dance and music. This summer’s world premieres will include a new collaboration between legendary choreographer Alonzo King and jazz luminary Jason Moran. The new work will feature dancers from King’s LINES Ballet joined with artists from New York City Ballet, and music performed live by Moran and his band. The joint commission from King and Moran will debut on August 3 as part of the International Evenings of Dance program, with a repeat performance on August 5th as part of the NOW: Premieres program.
NOW: Premieres will also feature new music commissioned from Caroline Shaw for Pam Tanowitz’s world premiere, which will be her third new work created for the Vail. The Festival will present several other world and local premieres, including new works by Lil Buck, Michelle Dorrance, and Tiler Peck, and the Vail premiere of Annabel Lopez-Ochoa’s The Little Prince, performed by BalletX, who will have recently debuted the full-length story ballet as part of their Philadelphia summer season.
In addition to BalletX, companies appearing at the Festival this year include American Ballet Theatre in a mixed bill celebrating its history and future, the Martha Graham Dance Company presenting its own new Tanowitz work (spring 2019) along with Appalachian Spring and other Graham classics, and Ballet Hispánico?in a special program for closing night of the Festival. Alonzo King LINES Ballet and the Colorado Ballet will be also featured in several performances throughout the Festival, and Cuba’s Malpaso Dance Company will make its Vail debut with a program featuring dances made for the young company by Ronald K. Brown and Sonya Tayeh.
The individual artists appearing in Vail this year hail from a wide range of dance and music styles and forms. Featured artists include Aran Bell, Robb Beresford, Hope Boykin, India Bradley, Lil Buck, Preston Chamblee, Adji Cissoko, Harrison Coll, Isabella Boylston, Herman Cornejo, Maddie DeVries, Michelle Dorrance, Joseph Gordon, Christopher Grant, Kennard Hensen, Catherine Hurlin, Ashly Isaacs, Maria Kotchetkova, Roman Mejia, Miriam Miller, Michael Montgomery, Ron “Prime Tyme” Myles, Dario Natarelli, Tiler Peck, Unity Phelan, Calvin Royal III, Ai Shimatsu, Cory Stearns, Melissa Toogood, Devon Teuscher, and James Whiteside. Musicians appearing at the Festival include the resident string quartet Brooklyn Rider, Caroline Shaw, Jason Moran, Cameron Grant, Kate Davis, 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.
Vail performances often feature dancers in new roles, emblematically this year, New York City Ballet dancer Roman Mejia will be dancing the solo Fandangochoreographed by Alexei Ratmansky to the music of Boccherini. Originally created as a Vail Festival commission featuring Wendy Whelan and since then only danced by Sara Mearns, the ballet will now be reimagined and restaged for Mejia by Ratmansky.
A feature of the Vail Dance Festival since Woetzel’s first season in 2007, the UpClose performance each year uses a rehearsal-style format to explore a selected aspect of dance. This year’s UpClose will focus on the social impact of dance. For 2019, UpClose: JUST Dances, will feature new and historic dance work that further awareness and action on issues of equality in society, with a cast of Festival artists including Movement Art Is (M.A.I.) co-founder Lil Buck, and Festival Artist-in-Residence Lauren Lovette who will perform in a world premiere created by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Hope Boykin.
Tickets to the 2019 Festival are available for purchase for Fan Club members starting Feb. 26; public on sale begins March 5. Tickets for Dance for $20.19 will go on sale June 19.
Vail Dance Festival 2019
Opening Night
Friday, July 26 at 7:30pm Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail
The 2019 Vail Dance Festival begins with an extraordinary evening featuring Festival stars including Artist-In-Residence and New York City Ballet ballerina Lauren Lovette, a preview appearance by the Cuban contemporary powerhouse Malpaso Dance Company, and artists from American Ballet Theatre. The evening concludes with a performance of George Balanchine’s Serenade, performed by Colorado Ballet with principal guest artists from the New York City Ballet, and music by the Breckenridge Festival Orchestra.
American Ballet Theatre
Saturday, July 27 at 7:30pm Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail
American Ballet Theatre returns to?Vail after its sold-out Festival debut last year, with a program celebrating?its heritage and future. This evening will feature masterworks from its repertory, danced by ABT’s magnificent artists along with special guests, proudly carrying on the company’s illustrious history while maintaining its distinct modern identity
Malpaso Dance Company
Sunday, July 28 at 7:30pm Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek
Founded in 2012, Malpaso has quickly become one of the most high-profile companies on the international scene. This exhilarating Cuban contemporary dance company makes its Vail Dance Festival debut this season with a performance at the Vilar Performing Arts Center, featuring works created especially for the young troupe by Ronald K. Brown and Sonja Tayeh.
BalletX: The Little Prince
Tuesday, July 30 at 7:30pm Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail
A favorite of Vail Dance Festival audiences, Philadelphia’s powerhouse company BalletX, led by Artistic & Executive Director Christine Cox, returns to present its first full-length story ballet by a female choreographer, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s The Little Prince. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s brilliant novella has inspired millions since its publication in 1943, and now the story is the inspiration for this new ballet, featuring new music composed and performed by Peter Salem.
UpClose: JUST Dances
Wednesday, July 31 at 6:30pm Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek
This season’s UpClose performance explores the powerful relation of dance to the world we live in, focusing on how movement can create social impact. M.A.I. (Movement Art Is) co-founders Lil Buck and Jon Boogz, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dancer and choreographer Hope Boykin, and Artist-In-Residence Lauren Lovette, lead a cast of Festival stars in this UpClose rehearsal-style performance. Elevate your evening by attending a pre-show reception and post-performance dinner with the dancers at Splendido in Beaver Creek. (Tickets sold separately.)
International Evenings of Dance I & II
Friday, August 2 & Saturday, August 3 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 unique gala evenings celebrate artistic collaboration and innovation, and include debuts and new partnerships by a selection of today’s foremost dancers.
Featured New Collaboration: The 2019 Vail Dance Festival presents a world-premiere from legendary choreographer Alonzo King, with an original score by jazz pianist, composer and performance artist Jason Moran. This new work will be performed by a stellar cast of dancers drawn from King’s LINES Ballet and from New York City Ballet. (Two performances only: International Evening II 8/3/2019 and NOW: Premieres 8/5/2019). 
NOW: Premieres
Monday, August 5 at 7:30pm Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail
New works and collaborations by a selection of today’s most adventurous voices in dance and music, featuring world-premieres from Artist-In- Residence Lauren Lovette, Pam Tanowitz, Michelle Dorrance, and Tiler Peck, and new music by Pulitzer-Prize-winning Festival Composer-In-Residence Caroline Shaw. This performance also features an encore performance of Alonzo King’s new work for the Festival with music composed and performed by Jason Moran.
Dance for $20.19
Tuesday, August 6 at 7:30pm Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail
An evening for everyone with guest artists and companies from the Vail Dance Festival. Specially-priced $20.19 reserved seating and $10.19 lawn tickets go on sale Wednesday, June 19. Join the Festival Fan Club for early access to all Festival tickets including Dance for $20.19!
Dancing in the Park: Colorado Ballet & Alonzo King LINES Ballet
Wednesday, August 7 at 5:30pm Avon Performance Pavilion, Nottingham Park
FREE Performance
The Festival welcomes Alonzo King LINES Ballet and the Colorado Ballet to Avon for a free, family- friendly show on the outdoor stage of the Avon Performance Pavilion at Nottingham Park, together with other Festival artists.
Martha Graham Dance Company
Friday, August 9 at 7:30pm Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail
The legendary Martha Graham Dance Company presents a powerful program of classics and new works, featuring the Graham masterpiece Appalachian Spring, set to the iconic Aaron Copland score performed by the Breckenridge Festival Orchestra for this special evening.
Closing Night Celebration Ballet Hispánico
Saturday, August 10 at 7:30pm Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, Vail
Following a thrilling Festival debut in 2018, Ballet Hispánico returns to Vail with a new program for closing night. Post-performance, join the artists for an on-stage fiesta to celebrate the closing of the 2019 Festival!
About the Vail Dance Festival
Established in 1989 and held each July-August, the Vail Dance Festival makes the Vail Valley one of the top summer dance destinations in the world. Hosted by the Vail Valley Foundation, and lead by Artistic Director Damian Woetzel, the Vail Dance Festival brings a wide range of talented dancers to Vail and features new works, collaborations, free community events, and a host of events and programs that welcome one and all to enjoy the world of dance.
About the Vail Valley Foundation
The Vail Valley Foundation is a 501c3 Colorado nonprofit with a mission to enhance the quality of life in the Vail Valley through arts, athletics and education. The organization’s work in education is through YouthPower365, which operates as its own 501c3 with a mission to provide year-round extended learning that empowers and educates the youth and families of Eagle County from cradle-to-career readiness. The Vail Valley Foundation also provides the Vail Valley with several of its most treasured annual events, such as the GoPro Mountain Games, the Xfinity Birds of Prey Audi FIS Ski World Cup races, the Vail Dance Festival, Hot Summer Nights and ShowDown Town free concert series’, and the Whistle Pig Vail concert series. The Vail Valley Foundation 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 Broadway, dance, classical, rock, pop, jazz and family events per year.
Vail Valley Foundation activities and events are made possible by cornerstone partners: the Town of Vail, Vail Resorts, GMC, and TIAA Bank. Visit www.vvf.org to learn more.


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