A Dance Lover's Guide to Summer

Once Bravo! Vail exits the Ford Amphitheater, the Vail Dance Festival takes center stage.

By Kirsten Dobroth July 15, 2019 Published in the Summer/Fall 2018 issue of Vail-Beaver Creek Magazine

Trey McIntyre Project

Image: Zach Mahone

Think Bravo! Vail, only replace the resident national and international orchestras with dance companies (including the American Ballet Theatre, Ballet X, Malpaso Dance Company, and the Martha Graham Dance Company), and grand performances staged at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater. And like its classical music counterpart, Vail Dance embellishes its main event by staging a host of ancillary performances and workshops at local parks and village squares up and down the valley. It’s not just about being en pointe, either. Although Misty Copeland no doubt will pack the house when the American Ballet Company stages its festival debut on July 27 at 7:30 p.m., BalletX promises to burn it down one week later. The festival concludes with a performance by Ballet Hispanico (Aug 10, 7:30 p.m., $27–$105) and a celebration you won't want to miss. As one New York Times dance critic put it: “At the Vail festival, it isn’t the high altitude that’s dizzying. It’s the high level of dance.”

"You could have danced a certain piece your whole life, but then you do it on that [Amphitheater] stage and it just feels and looks different—the sun is setting behind you and the air is crisp, and the audience is energized. It’s a wonderful atmosphere that the dancers really pick up on.” – Vail Dance Festival Artistic Director Damian Woetzel


When it is:

July 26–Aug 10

Where it is:

Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater (and other venues)

What it costs:

$27–$125 (Ford Amphitheater performances)

Who goes there:

Fans of dance, and Bravo! season ticket holders who just don’t want the summer to end

More information:

If you want to see it all in one night ...

International Evenings of Dance (Aug 2, 3, 7:30 p.m.; $27–$125), a collaborative performance danced by all of the festival’s resident companies

If you’re on the fence about dance but want a taste ...

Dance for $20.19 features a sampling of festival favorites, at a bargain price (Aug 6, 7:30 p.m., $20.19 for reserved seating, $10.19 for lawn seats). 

If you like dance but don’t want to pay for it ...

Dancing in the Park, a gratis 5:30 p.m. collaborative performance by the Alonzo King LINES Ballet, the Colorado Ballet, and other festival performers staged at Avon’s Nottingham Park Pavilion.  

If your kids would rather be center stage than in the stands ...

Enroll them in Celebrate the Beat: Vail Valley Pop Hop Camp, a free weeklong immersion dance program for kids ages 6–13 ( July 29 – August 2, Mon – Thurs 9:30am – 12:30pm, Fri 12:30pm – 8pm.; at June Creek Elementary School in Edwards taught by festival dancers, which culminates with an Aug 2 performance on the Ford Amphitheater stage during the International Evenings of Dance.

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