New York City Ballet principal Lauren Lovette is no stranger to Colorado's Vail Dance Festival—she's performed there each summer since 2011. This year, she returns not only as a dancer but as a choreographer. Lovette gained recognition for her September 2016 choreographic debut at NYCB, For Clara. On August 7, Vail audiences will see her latest major commission.

Lovette as Giselle at the 2016 Vail Dance FestivalPhoto by Erin Baiano


Vail artistic director Damian Woetzel reached out to Lovette about choreographing for the festival, which runs July 29–August 12. "He wanted me to do something at Vail that I couldn't do anywhere else," she says, "and I remembered an old idea I had pushed aside, about using spoken word or poetry." Fortuitously, Andrea Gibson, the poet Lovette had in mind, lives in Colorado. The two are working together to combine text, from across Gibson's large body of work, with live music.

Lovette's ballet will feature herself, NYCB corps member Miriam Miller, American Ballet Theatre soloist Devon Teuscher and former Miami City Ballet principal Patricia Delgado. Lovette has worked ahead with the dancers, but she won't fully realize her vision until they arrive at Vail. "I wanted to work with women because I can do a lot on myself, ahead of time," she says, adding that she'll be dancing in five other shows. Despite the heavy workload, Lovette is thrilled for the opportunity to push herself. "I'm dancing some of my dream roles, and I get to choreograph in one of the most inspiring places. Damian is so open to new ideas, and having that kind of freedom as an artist excites me."

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