Summer Dance Festival

 Damian Woetzel is a retired Principal Dancer, formerly with the New York City Ballet where he performed from 1985 until 2008. In addition to his work at NYCB, he frequently performed internationally as a guest star and visiting artist with numerous internationally recognized companies including the Kirov Ballet and American Ballet Theatre, until his retirement from the stage in 2008.

Woetzel currently serves as the Director of Arts Programs for the Aspen Institute, the Artistic Director of the Vail International Dance Festival, and as the Founding Director of the Jerome Robbins New Essential Works Program. Woetzel is also active as a director and producer outside these roles. Among his recent projects, Woetzel produced and directed an arts salute to Stephen Hawking at Lincoln Center for the World Science Festival, directed the first performance of the White House Dance Series, which took place in the East Room of the White House and was hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama, and co-produced the tribute to legendary ballerina Natalia Makarova as part of the 35th annual Kennedy Center Honors in December 2012. In April 2013, Woetzel directed and produced Lil Buck @ Le Poisson Rouge, featuring the dancer Lil Buck and musicians including Yo-Yo Ma in a specially created program. Woetzel also works with Yo-Yo Ma on his Silk Road Connect program in the New York City Public Schools, and has twice directed culminating year-end performances; at the Museum of Natural History in 2010, and for the Central Park SummerStage series in 2011. Woetzel was appointed to the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities by President Obama in 2009. As part of his PCAH work, Woetzel participates in the Turnaround Arts Program, serving as a mentor to Lame Deer Jr. High School in Lame Deer, MT, and as co-mentor with Yo-Yo Ma to Orchard Gardens K-8 in Roxbury, MA. In July 2012, Woetzel was honored with the inaugural Gene Kelly Legacy Award - an award jointly created by the Dizzy Feet Foundation and the Estate of Gene Kelly in honor of the 100th anniversary of Kelly's birth - for his contributions to the arts as a ballet star and director of dance and music performances.

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