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2022 Vail Dance Festival announces exciting lineup

Caili Quan and Robbie Fairchild perform 'Caili and Robbie' at the 2021 Vail Dance Festival. Photo by Christopher Duggan.
Caili Quan and Robbie Fairchild perform 'Caili and Robbie' at the 2021 Vail Dance Festival. Photo by Christopher Duggan.

The Vail Dance Festival, a project of the nonprofit Vail Valley Foundation, has officially announced plans for its 34th season scheduled to take place from July 29-August 9, 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 12 performances and over 55 festival events throughout Vail and the surrounding communities.   

Each summer, the Vail Dance Festival fosters unique collaborations between artists of various dance genres to push the boundaries of the artform, further cementing Vail as a major incubator for new choreography in the United States. This year, the Festival will celebrate its 100th world premiere dance commission under Woetzel’s visionary leadership since becoming artistic director in 2006. Over the past 15 years, many works premiered in Vail have been presented in other venues around the world, and beginning in 2007 with Christopher Wheeldon as he launched his company Morphoses in Vail, the Festival has provided a lab for artistic experimentation for dancemakers including Michelle Dorrance, 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, among many others. The 100th commission will be a new work by Justin Peck collaborating with bluegrass artist Chris Thile (Punch Brothers, National Public Radio) which will have a preview on the NOW: Premieres program on August 8, and its world-premiere on closing night, August 9 at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail. 

Additional commissions for this year’s Festival season will be: Bobbi Jene Smith creating a new work for Sara Mearns; Caili Quan creating a new work for fellow Artist-In-Residence, Roman Mejia, and a second new work to commissioned music by Caroline Shaw; Claudia Schreier choreographing a new work to commissioned music by Conrad Tao; Jodi Melnick making a new work set to commissioned music by Andreia Pinto-Correia; Pam Tanowitz creating a new work to music by Kate Davis; and a new work with details to be announced by Ephrat Asherie. Broadway’s Kurt Crowley (Hamilton, In the Heights) will serve as music director, Brooklyn Rider (violinists Johnny Gandelsman and Colin Jacobsen, violist Nicholas Cords and cellist Michael Nicolas) will return as Quartet-In-Residence, and Pulitzer-Prize winner and Leonard Bernstein Composer-In-Residence Caroline Shaw will return to create new music compositions for the Festival. Also making appearances are vocalist, composer and multi-instrumentalist Kate Davis, and bass-baritone opera star Davóne Tines. The new works will be presented as part of NOW: Premieres on Monday, August 8.

Dancer and choreographer Caili Quan and New York City Ballet (NYCB) Soloist Roman Mejia will be the season’s Artists-In-Residence. As a 2022 Artist-In-Residence, Mejia will dance in multiple works throughout the duration of the Festival, making role debuts including José Limón’s Chaconne solo performing as a guest artist with the Limón Dance Company, Jerome Robbins’ A Suite of Dances, and newly commissioned works specifically tailored to his talent and artistry. As mentioned above, in addition to performing as a dancer, Quan will present new choreography this summer, including a premiere featuring Mejia, and a new work set to a commissioned composition by Caroline Shaw.  

Among the dancers scheduled to appear for the first time as individual artists are one of NYCB’s newest principal dancers Jovani Furlan, ballroom duo Denys Drozdyuk and Antonina Skobina, and KJ Takahashi of NYCB. Artists returning to Vail after an absence include Jeffery Cirio, star of the English National Ballet and Boston Ballet; newly appointed soloist of NYCB Miriam Miller; international ballerina Maria Kochetkova; and former Miami City Ballet ballerina Patricia Delgado. They will join a stellar cast of Festival regulars including Isabella Boylston, India Bradley, Lil Buck, Herman Cornejo, Michelle Dorrance, Robbie Fairchild, Joseph Gordon, Lauren Lovette, Sara Mearns, Mira Nadon, Dario Natarelli, Tiler Peck, Unity Phelan, Calvin Royal III, Cory Stearns, Devon Teuscher, Melissa Toogood and more to be announced. Last year’s Scholar-In-Residence Philip Duclos returns this year as a newly appointed member of the Royal Danish Ballet. Programming throughout the duration of the Festival will feature these artists and many more in role debuts, “only in Vail” cross-company partnerships and new works, fulfilling the Festival’s mission of providing innovative opportunities for artists at all stages of their careers.   

Performance tickets will go on sale to the public on April 19 at vaildance.org or through the box office by phone at 970-845-TIXS (8497). The box office hours are 11:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. daily. For more information, visit vaildance.org.  

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