Celebrity Travel & StyleInterviewsJet Set PetLuxury VoyagesSuite Dreams - The World's Best SuitesTime TravelerLuxury Travel TrendsWeekend Away
Destination WeddingsFamily Vacation PackagesSpa & Wellness PackagesRomantic & Honeymoon PackagesGirls GetawaysFall Travel PackagesWinter Getaway PackagesChristmas Travel & PackagesNew Year's Eve Packages
ArticlesThe Best Hotels, Resorts & Villas Around the World
Beach & Island Resorts5-Star City HotelsAdventure Lodges & Eco EscapesBoutique City HotelsCountry House HotelsRomantic RetreatsLuxury Guest RanchesLuxury Safari Camps & LodgesGolf Resorts & LodgesSpa Resorts & Wellness RetreatsSki Resorts & LodgesWine Country GetawaysLuxury Family Travel & ResortsNew HotelsHot Hotel Openings
Beach, Coastal & Island VillasCountry VillasGolf VillasSki VillasLuxury Villas & Vacation Rentals Around the WorldHotel Branded Residences
Luxury Cruises & YachtingLuxury Car RentalTravel Tips & AdviceAirline NewsUltimate TripsBusiness TravelFamily TravelLuxury SafarisPrivate Jet TravelRail Journeys: The World's Most Scenic Train Rides
RestaurantsBars & NightclubsAfternoon TeaCoffeeCooking ClassesCulinary TravelWine Travel
Spa & Wellness RetreatsYogaGolf GetawaysTennisSki Vacations
Gift GuideBeach and ResortwearBeauty and FragranceBooksFashionHome StyleLuggage and HandbagsLuxury Autos & Driving ExperiencesMen's StyleTravel EssentialsWatches & JewelryWine and SpiritsWorld's Most Expensive
Back to:  Home > Arts/Culture > Events


Vail, Colorado – Where Dance Moves Mountains

April 20, 2017 - By Barbara Barton Sloane

I have always loved the words to John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High,” and longed to know the sensations that these words evoke: quiet solitude, serenity of a clear blue mountain lake, and yes, the chance to see an eagle fly (I did!).

Well, it’s all here, folks, in regal Rocky Mountain splendor – and I had the fortuitous opportunity to experience this when I attended the Vail International Dance Festival. The festival is a celebration of dance, renowned for its artistic excellence and unparalleled programming. I was one of almost 20,000 people from around the world who descend on Vail each year for its two-week culturally-rich festival. Mark your calendars as this year’s dates are July 29-August 12.

Vail, Colorado is a small town at the base of the Vail Mountain, home of the massive Vail Ski Resort. Set within White River National Forest, the town is a gateway for winter sports like skiing and snowboarding. It’s also a summertime destination for golfing, hiking, and, of course, the Dance Festival. Downtown Vail is a vibrant pedestrian village with incredible lodging and dining to suit every budget.

The outdoor splendor of this site was my backdrop to artistic brilliance as Vail once again played host to the world’s finest dancers. In fact, in quality and quantity, the lineup of world-class dancers was as awe-inspiring as this town’s alpine scenery! Now in its 29th year, the festival’s spirited atmosphere transformed the village into a setting that was inviting to dance aficionados and newbies alike.

Vail Colorado

This year marks the 11th anniversary for Artistic Director Damian Woetzel – about whom the New York Times has called “…one of the foremost impresarios of American dance.” He is a former principal dancer with New York City Ballet and, under his direction, has taken the festival to new heights with a roster of both national and international dance stars and his way of balancing the crowd-pleasing with novelty and risk. Woetzel has said, “It’s a real pleasure to realize how these past seasons have brought together so many dancers, choreographers, musicians, and audiences. For me, the spirit of collaboration has been the most vital part of the festival, giving artists the chance to experience and work in new forms with new partners, and for the audiences, the chance to experience this work and be a part of the art itself….” Among the litany of impressive artists that have visited the festival are the Martha Graham Dance Company, the Royal Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Included in last year’s lineup was BalletX, Dorrance Dance in Concert, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance, and Ballroom Spectacular. On the bill the first evening I attended was the Dance Theatre of Harlem, a company formed shortly after the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The ballet star Arthur Mitchell was inspired to start a school that would offer children – especially those in his native Harlem – the chance to learn about dance. The dream grew into DTH that, four decades later, has evolved into a multi-cultural dance institution with an extraordinary legacy of creative expression and artistic excellence. This marked its Vail debut. The program was presented at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in nearby Beaver Creek where they brought new life to ballet through classic and contemporary groundbreaking works: Brahms Variations, When Love (music by Philip Glass), Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven, and Coming Together. My favorite work was Dancing, with swoon-worthy bodies sheathed in shimmering white leotards. Elegant moves and manipulations showed off their suppleness as they moved with regal ease. Kudos to Virginia Johnson, the company’s artistic director who, since 2012, has brought DTH into the world-class stratosphere.

Paul Taylor is considered the greatest living pioneer of American modern dance since 1954 when he established his company. The performance, held at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, marked the festival’s debut of Mr. Taylor’s new venture, Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance. He presented three works: Polaris, Dilly Dally, and Promethean Fire.

One of the highlights of my visit was seeing Ballroom Spectacular directed by Anna Trebunskaya, she of Dancing with the Stars fame. This was a made-for-Vail showcase with ballroom champions from around the world performing a variety of dances – from waltz to rumba, cha-cha, meringue, samba, tango and foxtrot. The performance was at times romantic, other times rollicking – at all times fun!

Upcoming performances for the Vail International Dance Festival 2017 will kick off on Opening Night with a program ranging from tap improvisation and ballet to street dance and groundbreaking contemporary works. Returning Artist-in-Residence and tap dancer extraordinaire Michelle Dorrance returns as well as audience favorite Lil Buck; also a first look at the acclaimed L.A.Dance Project, founded in 2012 by former New York City Ballet principal dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millipied. Of this troupe the New York Times has said: ‘The intelligence and eclectic generosity of the programming are not in doubt. The dancers prove attractive, impressive, versatile.” There’s “UpClose: Jerome Robbins,” with an all-star cast that celebrates the launch of legendary choreographer Jerome Robbins centennial birthday year and the Martha Graham Dance Company returns in a program featuring Graham classics and new works created for the legendary company. And there’s more…much, much more! If you attend only one festival/happening this summer, make it the Vail Dance Festival!

As I departed Vail, my head slightly spinning, I knew for sure it wasn’t because of its 8,000 foot elevation. No, my ‘Rocky Mountain High’ was completely due to this remarkable festival and the mountain-high level and quality of the dance!


Vail International Dance Festival

Visit Vail

Antlers at Vail (hotel)


Featured Luxury Hotels





Private Villa Rentals - Caribbean & Mexico
In the realm of world-class luxury private villa rentals, we know that the exceptional experiences our guests deserve are about much more than just the villa itself.




Carneros Resort and Spa - Napa Valley, California
The resort features 86 charming private guest cottages and suites and nightly private luxury home rentals, each furnished with casual elegance and nestled in a lush garden courtyard with private deck.




Calala Island - Nicaragua
A luxury resort named one of "The 10 Best Private Islands in the World" is nestled in the undiscovered part of the Caribbean, off the coast of Nicaragua. Come experience barefoot luxury in a pristine paradise!




Carrington Italia - Amalfi Coast
Luxury Villa Accommodations and Personalized Service on Italy's celebrated Amalfi Coast. Experts in providing exclusive travel experiences and local knowledge of the Amalfi Coast.




Anse Chastanet - St. Lucia
Set amid a lush 600-acre estate with two soft-sand beaches and breathtaking views of St. Lucia's iconic twin Pitons mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.




Eden Roc at Cap Cana - Punta Cana
Offering exclusive luxury in the Dominican Republic, Eden Roc at Cap Cana, the only Relais & Chateaux hotel on the island, features 34 freestanding suites with private pools and stunning views.




The Luxury Signature - The Finest Luxury Villas in Southeast Asia
The Luxury Signature is Southeast Asia's most exclusive collection of luxury villas rental and vacation homes, located in some of the most beautiful destinations including Phuket and Koh Samui in Thailand, and Bali in Indonesia.




Primland - Meadows of Dan, VA
A pristine Blue Ridge Mountain resort offering 12,000 acres of space, sky and shifting moods. Primland is the ultimate getaway for world-class golf, refined dining, and outdoor activities in an environment of rare natural beauty.




Rawai VIP Villas - Phuket, Thailand
A brand new family community and kids' park that epitomizes modern Thai luxury. Each of the 40 villas boasts a private pool in terraced courtyards.



Argentario Resort Golf & Spa
The Design Golf Resort - named 'Best Luxury Hotel in Italy' by Overseas Living Magazine - offers 73 design rooms, one luxurious villa for rent and a number of sophisticated homes for sale.



Hurtigruten Cruises
Go beyond a traditional cruise line - explore the world in an authentic, unique & natural style. Hurtigruten offers voyages to Antarctica, Norway, Iceland, Greenland & more.



Mountain Shadows
The new resort features timeless modern design, 183 guestrooms, a restaurant with an exhibition kitchen, two pools, a high-tech fitness facility, a fully revamped short golf course, a golf grill and lounge as well as 37,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space.



Jade Mountain - St. Lucia
Jade Mountain is an exclusive luxury 'resort within a resort' with 24 suites at St. Lucia's famed Anse Chastanet Resort, in a truly romantic and magical setting poised high overlooking St. Lucia's Piton World Heritage site and the Caribbean Sea.



Hotel Valley Ho - Scottsdale, AZ
Escape to the sun in Scottsdale! A hideaway for celebrities, this Downtown Scottsdale resort features generously sized guest rooms with all-glass walls opening onto airy patios or balconies, many with views of Camelback Mountain.



Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor - Siem Reap, Cambodia
Set across from the Royal Palace, Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor is one of the landmark historic hotels of the legendary Grand Tour of Indochina. The hotel first opened its doors in 1932 but the legend lives on today after careful restoration.



A.M.A Selections
A.M.A Selections offers a portfolio of hand-picked villas on the French Riviera, Tuscany and Umbria, complemented with an exclusive range of concierge services such as private jet and yacht charter, private chef, car service, and more.



BINA - Luxury Yacht Charter 142'
Offering remarkable quantities of luxury for a yacht of her size category, nothing but unadulterated bliss awaits you on board BINA. Sleeps 10-12 in 5 cabins.