Back to Vail

Hi everyone,

I should re-introduce myself. My name is Erica Sheftman, and I’m a former dancer/current student at Harvard, back to Vail this summer for a long weekend. Last summer I was lucky enough to chronicle the events of the festival for its entire duration, and I’m thrilled to be here again for several days punctuated by International Evenings of Dance, as well as some amazing ballroom dance, milongas in the Betty Ford gardens, and rehearsals of world premieres in every style of dance.

I feel like each year the festival just grows to new heights. In some ways, there is a comforting sense of constancy: returning to the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater yesterday afternoon I was attacked by an intense wave of the best kind of deja vu. There was Misa [Kuranaga, of Boston Ballet] with Herman [Cornejo, of American Ballet Theatre], happy to be back together onstage after a too-long hiatus following their first appearance as a partnership here in Vail last summer. I saw flashes of Carla Korbes’s [Pacific Northwest Ballet] peerless blonde hair every so often through the wings; strains of Piazzolla wafting from backstage with the arrival of Natalia Hills, the tango star from Buenos Aires who brought the festival down last year; the familiar chatter backstage in an unparalleled goulash of French, Russian, Spanish and English as all the internationals descended upon the theater; and best of all the aroma of the trees that I could place anywhere as belonging to Ford Park, and the backdrop of the Rockies extending upwards to the sky past the stage ceiling.

Carla's hair. In rehearsal for Damian Woetzel's The Orchard with Tyler Angle of New York City Ballet. Photo by Caitlin Kakigi.

Carla's hair. In rehearsal for Damian Woetzel's The Orchard with Tyler Angle of New York City Ballet. Photo by Caitlin Kakigi.

So that was very nice, but I was also struck by the way nothing ever really repeats here. New partnerships are constantly being formed: yesterday, Carla and Cory Stearns of American Ballet Theatre danced together for the first time (watch for video of their White Swan pas de deux soon), and Misa danced with Renan Cerdeiro of Miami City Ballet (Don Quixote Grand pas de deux). The excitement of bringing together dancers in Vail who hail from different companies is the knowledge that this is something you’ll see only here, in this moment. It’s really thrilling to be present for the initial encounter, as the dancers figure out timing, sensibility…and stamina- it’s hard up on this mountain.

More firsts: Helene Bouchet and Thiago Bordin from Hamburg Ballet are here, dancing the white pas de deux from Lady of the Camellias. Trey McIntyre Project makes its return to Vail after six years. An evening of world premieres by Christopher Wheeldon, Trey McIntyre, Emery LeCrone, Charles ‘Lil’ Buck’ Riley, and Richard Siegal.

And of course, the worldwide debut of New York City Ballet Moves, the new touring company of the New York City Ballet. It will be so interesting to watch this mini-company evolve over the years, but how exciting that their first performance ever took place in Vail. NYCB Artistic Director Peter Martins came to town with his dancers, and looking through pictures that Festival photographers Erin Baiano and Caitlin Kakigi took, I thought, how cool to see Festival Director Damian Woetzel and Peter onstage as co-directors (Damian retired from New York City Ballet in 2008). Here they are, in matching VIDF 2011 t-shirts made possible by the Keith Haring Foundation.

Peter Martins and Damian Woetzel onstage at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, during a rehearsal of New York City Ballet Moves. Photo by Caitlin Kakigi.

Peter Martins and Damian Woetzel onstage at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, during a rehearsal of New York City Ballet Moves. Photo by Caitlin Kakigi.

New York City Ballet Moves performed two programs. Opening night featured Jerome Robbins’s Dances at a Gathering, George Balanchine’s Duo Concertant, and Martins’s A Fool for You. Three choreographers, three composers: Chopin, Stravinsky and Ray Charles, respectively. Moves is made up largely of young up-and comers, several of whom are still in the corps de ballet at NYCB. There were, unexpectedly, lots of New York folk in the audience to see their debut.
Tiler Peck and Tyler Angle perform in Jerome Robbins's Dances at a Gathering, as part of the worldwide debut of New York City Ballet Moves. Photo by Erin Baiano.

Tiler Peck and Tyler Angle perform in Jerome Robbins's Dances at a Gathering, as part of the worldwide debut of New York City Ballet Moves. Photo by Erin Baiano.

Chase Finlay, Rebecca Krohn, Tiler Peck, Brittany Pollack and Taylor Stanley perform in Peter Martins's A Fool for You as part of the worldwide debut of New York City Ballet Moves. Photo by Erin Baiano.

Chase Finlay, Rebecca Krohn, Tiler Peck, Brittany Pollack and Taylor Stanley perform in Peter Martins's A Fool for You as part of the worldwide debut of New York City Ballet Moves. Photo by Erin Baiano.

Here is a wonderful photo of Lauren Lovette, a very beautiful and truly special dancer, and a former classmate of mine at the School of American Ballet. Her partner is Chase Finlay, who was just recently promoted to Soloist:
Lauren Lovette and Chase Finlay perform in Christopher Wheeldon's Polyphonia, as part of New York City Ballet Moves's second program: 21st Century Moves. Photo by Erin Baiano.

Lauren Lovette and Chase Finlay perform in Christopher Wheeldon's Polyphonia, as part of New York City Ballet Moves's second program: 21st Century Moves. Photo by Erin Baiano.

 The company’s second program featured only works choreographed in the 21st century: Christopher Wheeldon’s Polyphonia (pictured above), Wheeldon’s haunting After the Rain pas de deux (performed by Wendy Whelan and Craig Hall….by the way Wendy could do this every day and it would still never get old; its one of the more beautiful sights I’ve ever seen, particularly when set amidst the Rockies at sunset), and Peter Martins’s Hallelujah Junction. Some more photos:

Wendy Whelan and Craig Hall perform Christopher Wheeldon's After the Rain Pas de Deux, as part of New York City Ballet Moves' 21st Century Moves program. Photo by Erin Baiano.

Wendy Whelan and Craig Hall perform Christopher Wheeldon's After the Rain Pas de Deux, as part of New York City Ballet Moves' 21st Century Moves program. Photo by Erin Baiano.

Another special feature of the New York City Ballet Moves visit was an evening hosted by Damian and Peter called “UpClose: The Male Dancer,” which celebrated the roles that George Balanchine created for men. The first thing people probably learn about Balanchine is his too-oft-quoted saying, ”Ballet is woman.” Its easy to then create this image of Balanchine’s man as anonymous porteur, there exclusively to showcase his ballerina. This is to deny the many illustrious vehicles he created for some of the most legendary male dancers of the last century. Ballets like his 1928 Apollo, originally created for Serge Lifar and later famously interpreted by dancers like Jacques d’Amboise, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Martins. Apollo, Square Dance, Agon, Harlequinade….All of these were dissected at the event, by both Woetzel and Martins, with the help of New York City Ballet dancers, as part of the Festival’s emphasis on removing the fourth wall and bringing audiences intimately onto the stage. See the Vail Daily’s preview of the event, with insights from Joaquin de Luz and Robbie Fairchild.
Adrian Danchig-Waring performs the Melancholic solo from Balanchine's The Four Temperaments, with a backdrop of Balanchine rehearsing Arthur Mitchell in the same role, as part of UpClose: The Male Dancer. Photo by Erin Baiano.

Adrian Danchig-Waring performs the Melancholic solo from Balanchine's The Four Temperaments, with a backdrop of Balanchine rehearsing Arthur Mitchell in the same ballet, as part of UpClose: The Male Dancer. Photo by Erin Baiano.

Please stay tuned for more updates, live from backstage at International Evenings of Dance! Misa and Renan have just finished running Don Quixote and a full run-through is scheduled to begin any minute. In the meantime, be sure to check out the 2011 Vail International Dance Festival Flickr, updated multiple times daily with photos from rehearsal and performance, the VIDF Youtube Channel, and the VIDF Facebook Page, where new photos and videos, as well as performance updates, are posted. There’s tons of footage, from Mark Morris Dance Group’s appearance last week to Resident Artist Charles Lil’ Buck Riley dancing in the streets of Vail Village.
Until later,
Erica

Comments


  1. David

    Thank you very much for this post. Great photos and well written.

    Aug 18, 2011 @ 13:44

Reply

Next
Previous


Vail International's Latest Posts

Time Machine



Advertisement