With most of American Ballet Theatre's classical repertoire under her belt, principal Isabella Boylston is ready for a new challenge, specifically, launching Ballet Sun Valley, a dance festival with educational outreach in her hometown of Sun Valley, Idaho. "I'm in a place in my career where I can expend a little more creative energy on outside projects," she says. This year, her long-held dream will become reality, with performances on August 22 and 24, and free dance classes on August 23. "Sun Valley has a successful symphony, and a lot of people are interested in the arts," Boylston says. "When I was there three years ago, I realized the Sun Valley Pavilion would be the perfect venue for dance." Hilarie Neely, Boylston's first ballet teacher, put her in touch with a team of executive producers who have assisted with fundraising and technical logistics.
Once Boylston knew the festival was happening, she was faced with the task of creating dynamic programming. "All the dancers I'm inviting are close friends who I've danced with before, and choreographers I have relationships with," she says. Audiences can expect classical repertoire, plus ballets by Justin Peck, Alexei Ratmansky and Pontus Lidberg.
Since participating dancers will have little rehearsal time, Boylston chose mostly solos and pas de deux, with the exception of a new 25-minute commission by her friend and ABT colleague Gemma Bond. "Lots of excerpts feel hollow out of context," she says, "so it was very important to me to include new work, too." The festival will feature dancers Lauren Cuthbertson and Eric Underwood from The Royal Ballet, Tyler Angle and Tiler Peck from New York City Ballet, Kimin Kim and Xander Parish of the Mariinsky Ballet, Ida Praetorius and Alban Lendorf from Royal Danish Ballet, and a slew of dancers from ABT including Stella Abrera, Misty Copeland, Marcelo Gomes, James Whiteside, Cassandra Trenary and Calvin Royal III (see a full list here). Boylston herself will dance in several works. "I could never have imagined how much work it would be to put on the festival," she says, "but I'm learning a lot as I go."
Tickets on sale May 10!🎉
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