Woetzel coaches Misty Copeland and Joseph Gordon. Photo by Erin Baiano, Courtesy M. Craig and Associates.

Damian Woetzel Celebrates 10 Years as the Artistic Director of the Vail Dance Festival

This story originally appeared in the August/September 2016 issue of Pointe.

This summer, former New York City Ballet principal Damian Woetzel celebrates 10 years as the artistic director of the Vail International Dance Festival. “Everything I do is about the cumulative process," he says. “When I look back, it's to see how we got here. Yes, it's been 10 years, but I'm thinking: What are we doing this year?"


Vail has established itself as a premiere dance destination, both for audience members—who can expect to see huge stars, world premieres and diverse dance styles—and for artists drawn to the festival's emphasis on growth and education. “There are many ways to spend your time outside of your main company," Woetzel says. “Vail gives dancers a chance to develop. It's risky for them and requires a certain level of commitment. I think those who come back are ones who want that experience."

Woetzel plans to build on the festival's forward momentum. “We're focusing on premieres and new work," he says. “Building a festival is a layering process, and I'm excited to create a laboratory that ends up onstage." —NLG

Highlights from this year's Vail lineup, July 30–August 13, include American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston as artist in residence, BalletX as the company in residence and other performers spanning styles from tap to tango. Get tickets: vvf.org/arts/vail-international-dance-festival.

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