Dance Fever

Superlatives are handed out way too often in the arts, but you can’t avoid them when describing the Vail International Dance Festival, which every year stages two weeks of dance ranging from classical ballet to contemporary to performances by artists from such shows as Dancing With the Stars.

Director Damian Woetzel — a retired New York City Ballet principal — has recruited some of the starriest names in the dance world, and he also has an eclectic view of dance. In 2011, he booked Lil Buck as a resident artist after bringing him together with violinist Yo-Yo Ma for a performance of “The Dying Swan” that went viral. This year, Wendy Whelan, who also recently retired from NYCB and is exploring different forms of dance, will perform Restless Creature, a series of duets created for her by four contemporary choreographers. The Pennsylvania Ballet will stage an all-Balanchine program; the Martha Graham Dance Company will perform; and there will be a ballroom spectacular that includes waltz, tango and merengue. In addition, the festival’s two International Evenings of Dance will showcase amazing national and international talents; nowhere else could you see an assembly like this in a single evening.

“There are, inevitably, times when I feel I see too much dance,” wrote New York Times critic Alastair Macaulay of the festival in 2012. “These two evenings made me feel I can’t see enough of it.”

The Vail International Dance Festival runs today through August 9 at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail. For more information, call 888-920-2787 or go to
July 27-Aug. 9, 7:30 p.m., 2014

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Juliet Wittman is an investigative reporter and critic with a passion for theater, literature, social justice and food. She has reviewed theater for Westword for over a decade; for many years, she also reviewed memoirs for the Washington Post. She has won several journalism awards and published essays and short stories in literary magazines. Her novel, Stocker's Kitchen, can be obtained at select local bookstores and on Amazon.
Contact: Juliet Wittman